I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
Published April 26th 2019
An interplanetary tale of hybrid romance and pure escapism
Eugen Bacon's Claiming T-Mo is her newest work of speculative fiction published by Meerkat Press. It's an epic collection of intersecting memoirs narrated by three female characters Salem, Silhouette and Myra and their quest to unravel the truth about T-Mo.
For those unfamiliar with the genre, speculative fiction is a wonderful and ambitious meshing of literary genres and forms including sci-fi, magic realism and fantasy which creates a heightened and immersive storytelling experience. For the reader this is a decadent multisensory experience where you can taste, touch and enter the elaborate worlds and complex characters as they unfold before you, like a movie in your mind.
Salem Drew is a checkout chick at the local IGA whom has a strange encounter with the puzzle-piece woman with the telescopic eye. Salem meets T-Mo whom is a teleporter and whisks her heart away. On declaring her intention to marry T-Mo, her father Pastor Ike disowns Salem, and they elope to Yellow Trek.
Evolving from a long matriarchal line of witches and enchantresses Silhouette, is mother of T-Mo, betrothed at birth to Novic a Sayneth priest, in a plural marriage. As romantic as that sounds, it is a relationship of domestic violence and abuse, and on birthing T-Mo, Novic creates an evil twin Odysseus, who lives inside T-Mo. By the age of four Odysseus is committing heinous crimes which disrupts T-Mo's otherwise perfect world, and he vanishes after the birth of his daughter Myra, leaving Salem a widow and Myra fatherless.
However, despite her difficult upbringing Myra emerges as the quintessential evolved feminist and heroine of this tale. In her teenage years Myra develops supernatural physical strength which helps her deal with high school bullies.
Eugen Bacon, Author of 'Claiming T-Mo'
Myra meets Vida, and eventually they marry and settle in Middle Creek. Vida graduates as a cosmic scientist and runs the Orbit Institute and raises their daughter Tempest whilst Myra is a diplomat for the Migrant Council, travelling worlds and negotiating settlement for refugees arriving in Camp Zero from the penal colony XHaust.
As Middle Creek adjusts to the establishment of Camp Zero, locals go missing and are found murdered, including Amber's father. Myra and Vida adopt Amber and she becomes a sister to Tempest.
Myra takes Tempest to meet Novic and to demand answers about her father. Where is T-Mo? Is he dead, or hiding in the shadows?
Claiming T-Mo is pure escapism as the supernatural world collides with the human world to create hybrids, demons, both real and imagined, tribes, future species and lands beyond time. Parallel worlds exist and interact, human characters are exaggerated by their simpleness and mundanity, or through their heightened abilities as hybrids; offspring from the consummation of humans with supernatural beings.
With her literary agility and avant-garde imagination, Eugen Bacon creates a wild ride through multiple worlds and characters, both human and supernatural, with a textuality that is complex and diverse using poetry, lyricism, linguistic invention and surreal and vivid description. Her use of multisensory imagery and sound in language creates a virtual reality where you can smell, feel, taste and touch every detail of the terrain and the creatures within them. Everything is turned on its head, especially, time, form and memory.
Imagine lavender sand running through your fingers, a serenade from a singing plant in baritone, eating fruits which taste like meat, or a cricket pizza?
Claiming T-Mo meshes the Aussie larrikin culture of Sheepwash Creek and Koolah birds(perhaps a hybrid of a Galah and a Kookaburra?), with the deep American south of honey pound cake, Ma-Space, Pastor Ike and his evangelical church speaking in tongues.
Nothing is off limits in Claiming T-Mo with a literary eloquence and decadence, which transports the mundane into the magical, suspending time and place into a kaleidoscopic universe.