Babylon Terminal
Greg F. Gifune
JournalStone Publishing (September 28, 2018)
Reviewed by Andrew Byers

Buckle up for a wild ride through the twisted corridors of the mind in Greg F. Gifune’s Babylon Terminal. In this gripping tale, Gifune masterfully constructs a world that is equal parts haunting and exhilarating, where darkness reigns supreme and hope flickers like a distant flame.

I found this to be a very unusual Gifune novel because his work is typically very grounded in the real world—sure, he often includes supernatural elements and cosmic horror, but Gifune’s work is mostly set in our world and his protagonists are people who could live down the street from you. Not so here. Set in a city that seemingly exists in the realm of dreams, Babylon Terminal introduces us to a cast of characters navigating a landscape of nightmares and violence. At the heart of the story is Monk, a brooding and formidable member of the Dreamcatchers, tasked with tracking down those who dare to try to escape their nocturnal society. When Monk’s wife, Julia, becomes a runaway, he is thrust into a perilous journey to try to recover Julia while confronting his own demons and unraveling the mysteries of their world.

That terse description doesn’t cover the hallucinatory nature of this novel. I would describe this one as a blend of Logan’s Run (or perhaps Blade Runner) and Dark City by way of Mad Max. Questions persist throughout the book about the nature of reality and remain even after reading. What is the city? Where is it? Is there really a promised land that the runners are trying to reach? Are they all dead and in Purgatory or Hell? Are they dreams? Sleepers? Figments of a dying man’s imagination? These questions concern elements and themes that Gifune has touched on in his more grounded works set in our world, but he lets himself have free rein to explore these ideas and many more in Babylon Terminal. If you’ve read a lot of Gifune, as I have, you expect his books to unfold a certain way. That doesn’t happen here, though that doesn’t mean that this was an unwelcome departure, simply that Babylon Terminal is a major shift from what you might have encountered in previous Gifune books.

The strength of Gifune’s storytelling lies in his ability to blend elements of horror, mystery, and psychological drama seamlessly. Each page drips with tension, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they race alongside Monk through the twisted streets of the world of Babylon Terminal. But amidst the chaos and despair, there are moments of beauty and introspection, as Monk grapples with the nature of love, loss, and the meaning of existence.

In the end, Babylon Terminal is more than just a tale of darkness and despair—it is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of hope, even in the face of violence and oppression. Gifune has crafted a masterful work of fiction that will linger in the minds of readers long after they have turned the final page. So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey into the heart of darkness, look no further than Babylon Terminal. Definitely recommended.