The Critics weigh in...
"Nickle’s debut novel Eutopia – an entrancing amalgam of historical thriller, dark fantasy and weird fiction – is an utterly creepy, bladder-loosening, storytelling tour de force."
"A dark, complicated and frequently harrowing read... Eutopia is a compelling exploration of the horror of good intentions."
"(Eutopia) is immensely readable: a quick-paced mountain stream of a novel, cool and sharp and intense, and terrifically adept at drawing a reader in... Eutopia accomplishes what the best horror fiction strives for: gives us characters we can care about and hope for, and then inflicts on them the kind of realistic, inescapable, logical sufferings that make us close our eyes a little at the unfairness of not the author, but the world — and all the while with something more to say for itself than the world is a very bad place."
Eutopia is a fantastic read, a frighteningly good first novel, and a solid and worthy contender for the Prix Aurora.
"Nickle (Monstrous Affections) blends Little House on the Prairie with distillates of Rosemary's Baby and The X-Files to create a chilling survival-of-the-fittest story. . . . [His] bleak debut novel mixes utopian vision, rustic Americana, and pure creepiness."
"If smart, innovative horror is nice, it still has to strike at the base of the skull,,, Nickle knows that horror needs to strike at nerve endings and not get too cerebral; Eutopia does that by getting out of its own way."
"The plot of Eutopia is elegantly constructed. It’s seamless... The reader is swept along with events, much the same way poor Jason Thistledown is, and before you know it things have gotten much, much bigger than you ever expected. This is just all-around great work, and I look forward to reading more of David Nickle’s work in the future."
With an accurate and beautifully displayed historical setting (early 20th century America) and interesting main characters, David Nickle offers a novel that turns the horror genre upside down, not only featuring evil supernatural creatures, but also madness and insanity, gruesome murders and perhaps the most frightening thing of all: how humanity manages to hide all of that behind the justification of an Utopian world.
novel is seriously creepy. Do not read it on your own, at night, with
the bedroom window open. I ended up jumpy and paranoid and then had to
sleep with the window closed even though it was muggy and
"Eutopia is as frightening in its social message as it is with its religious themes, and features irresistable prose... A top-notch novel all around."
"Eutopia crosses genres in a world where folks from a rustic Faulkner novel might clash with H.P. Lovecraft’s monstrosities. Add a dash of Cronenbergian body horror to atmosphere worthy of Poe, and you get one of the most original horror stories in years."
"David Nickle has reincarnated Lovecraft and spun a new direction for the terror that is to follow. This is certainly not the last we will have heard from this talented new face in horror."
I’m not the best judge of horror, but I’ve read Lovecraft, Poe, King, and good writing is good writing. Good writing carries over to a book regardless of genre. And there’s plenty of good writing in David Nickle’s Eutopia.
The year is 1911.
Near Cracked Wheel, Montana, a terrible illness leaves Jason Thistledown an orphan, stranded in his dead mother’s cabin until the spring thaw shows him the true meaning of devastation—and the barest thread of hope.
At the edge of the utopian mill town of Eliada, Idaho, Doctor Andrew Waggoner faces a Klansman’s noose and glimpses wonder in the twisting face of the patient known only as Mister Juke.
And deep in a mountain lake overlooking that town, something stirs, and thinks, in its way:
Things are looking up.
Eutopia follows Jason and Andrew as together and alone, they delve into the secrets of Eliada—industrialist Garrison Harper's attempt to incubate a perfect community on the edge of the dark woods and mountains of northern Idaho. What they find reveals the true, terrible cost of perfection—the cruelty of the surgeon's knife—the folly of the cull—and a monstrous pact with beings that use perfection as a weapon, and faith as a trap.
-illlustration by Lawrence Nickle, 2010
Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, will be available in May, 2011 through ChiZine Publications, Amazon, Chapters-Indigo, Barnes and Noble and Borders and other booksellers. And part of it's available right now, right here, to read online.
Order an E-Book version of Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism