Ministry of Whimsy Press, 1997 - 251 pages
Beneath the glare of three purple suns, three travelers - an old Mexican woman, an automated jeep, and a brontosaurus - have trudged across a desert for hundreds of years. They do not know if the desert has an end, and if it does, what they might find there. Sometimes they come across perfectly-preserved cities, but without a single inhabitant, and never a drop of rain. Worse still, they have no memory of their lives before the desert. Only at night, in dreams, do they recall fragments of their past identities.
But night also brings the madness of the sandstorms, which jolt them out of one body and into another in a game of metaphysical musical chairs. In their disorientation and dysfunction, they have killed each other dozens of times, but they cannot die. Where are they? How can they escape?
From this quest form, Stepan Chapman has fashioned a poignant and powerful story of redemption in which pathos is leavened by humor and pain is softened by comfort. It is the story of deranged angels, deadly music boxes, and cellular transformation. It is also the tale of Alex who wanted to be a machine, Naomi, who spent 20 years as a corpsicle, and Eva, who escaped the whale emperor of her native land. The novel alternates between the three characters' attempts to discover where they are with their search for identity through the dream stories which reveal their fragmented pasts. The Troika's satisfying conclusion brings closure to one of the most harrowing journeys ever into the heart of surrealism and the human soul.
The Troika has been praised as visionary and completely original by such writers as John Shirley, Kathe Koja, Brian Stableford, Alan Brennert, Lance Olsen, Kathleen AnnGoonan, Brian Evenson, Paul Riddell, and Don Webb. The author's work has frequently been compared to that of Philip K. Dick, Terry Southern, Kurt Vonnegut, Mervyn Peake, Angela Carter, and other fabulists of the first rank. The Troika confirms that status and is destined to become a cult classic of fabulist fiction.
The Troika is being backed by extensive promotion and advertising in applicable national magazine markets such as SF Age, with distribution in both the United States and in the United Kingdom.
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Review: The TroikaUser Review - Timothy Jarvis - Goodreads
The writing is incredibly vivid, ferocious, surreal. The picaresque narratives of the main characters' lives are really powerful; I didn't like quite as much the frame narrative that attempts to make it cohere - I'd prefer, if anything, it to make less sense. Read full review
Review: The TroikaUser Review - Phil Gonzales - Goodreads
Stop me if you've heard this one: a jeep, a brontosaurus and a Mexican woman are crossing an endless desert. They might be insane, they might be dreaming, they might not exist or there could be angels ... Read full review