Terence, Mefisto and Viscera Eyes is a doozy. The latest segment in Kelso’s Slave State universe, this novella is by far his harshest work yet. Where the previous books (Moosejaw Frontier, Black Dog Eats the City and Transmatic) mostly concerned the pointless violence and drudgery of everyday life, this one chooses to tackles themes of slavery and the systematic abuse of a people, painting the Slave State for the hellhole it actually is.
Again, this book will be highly divisive for most readers: the themes inside it are highly controversial, ranging from gang violence to forced ritual mutilation to religious practices at what is pretty much the end of the world. Terence, Mefisto and Viscera Eyes is definitely not for the weak of stomach and perhaps this is what keeps it from being a must-have. I found that occasionally the book lost itself too much into its grimness and the vile regularity of the world it had built for the reader, ultimately numbing me to a lot of the emotional impact that the ending should have had on me.
Jim Apgalza’s cover work ties in with the book’s themes perfectly: dehumanization, suffering with just a touch of grimness thrown in for good measure. If you’re in the mood for something that will make you feel dirty down to the pits of your soul, then this book might just be what you’re looking for.