The Potemkin Mosaic

by Mark Teppo

Published: May 11th, 2016
trade paperback -
ISBN 978-1-63023-016-6
462 pages

The Potemkin Mosaic is a dream labyrinth. It started as a hypertext adventure, an online dream narrative that threatened to turn into something else the moment you looked away. Now, it has been encapsulated in a print edition, bound in a format that implies linearity, but the question remains: will the text comply, or will it escape again?

As originally described by Old Man Farrago: "The Oneiromantic Mosaic of Harry Potemkin links the collisions of contemporary cognitive theory and the literary weird. Literally. Originally structured in twelve parts, The Oneiromantic Mosaic turns traditional narrative problems (such as linearity, textual fixity, and recursion) on their heads. The Oneiromantic Mosaic charts one of Harry Potemkin's (a black-market oneirologist) investigations into the archetypical syntax of cognitive imagery. He can literally enter others' dreams, which he does regularly to effect cognitive recovery, understanding, or conflict. The investigation is a surreal, self-devouring tour de force into the associative dreamscapes of contemporary consciousness.

There are those who fear the contents of the Mosaic, but even they admit they cannot control it . . .

There are too many shadows on too many nodes that we don't control. While its 3-D hypertext representation is but an echo of its oneiric fluidity, it does still have some potency. I have lost four of my children to it. Three of them speak in tongues now, and their eyes no longer track along the surface of words. We have inwardly bound these survivors (we lost the fourth entirely), and will continue to observe the effects of this memetic contagion; it is my opinion that it cannot transform them, even though its neural cross-linking is extensive. It is almost like a bloodhound that has a scent, but cannot truly finds its way. The Potemkin Mosaic will roam for some time within its infected hosts, but I believe it will eventually succumb to our agencies. Our All-Seeing Expression is All-Devouring, thanks to your benediction, All-Father.

Patient Zero still eludes us. The BZ-22 dosing should have disabled his ability to remain influid, but we have, apparently, miscalculated rather severely as to his resistance to our neural programming. This is an anomaly, as we never witnessed any significant level of psycho-neurological resistance during the trials. We were, I must admit, unprepared for an individual to manifest such a dramatic immunity to our efforts. Statistically—though, such figures should be regarded with some suspicion in light of Patient Zero's immunity—it is possible that the neurological burn-in of BZ-22 is simply degraded and not completely arrested. It will devour him eventually; we just have to be patient. When it does, he will be revealed to us.

Though, my gravest concern is that he's actively fighting the Bleak Zero influence. Before we bound our wayward children, one of them appeared to have been contacted by Potemkin. Every time this child closed his eyes, he would see a message floating in his vitreous humor. "I have gone so far into the wilderness even the birds cannot find me." Ultraviolet analysis revealed foreign material in this child's humor, but when the eye was removed, the patient expired and the matter lost its oneiric integrity. We are still awaiting spectrographic confirmation, but what flakes we could recover appear to be paper. Burned paper.

He's still out there, All-Father. If the Potemkin Mosaic is his encrypted message, then I fear he's building a psycho-cryptograhic key. He wants to unlock everyone.

"Easily one of the most remarkable offerings [in its original incarnation at Farrago's Wainscot]."
—Midori Snyder, The Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts

"Teppo's Oneiromantic Mosaic of Harry Potemkin is a magnificent freakshow, a choose-your-own adventure by and for psychotic mystics. Do. Go. Take the big pill."
—Barth Anderson, author of The Magician and the Fool and The Patron Saint of Plagues

"Potemkin reaches into the ethereal, grasps its strands, and becomes enmeshed in the mists of dream, puncturing the veil, from time to time, in sudden moments of startling lucidity, only to find that beyond that veil is another and another and another. It is an ambitious work, a labyrinthine carnival that leaves the reader clutching at the ever shifting walls of reality and perception—the author's, the reader's, and that of Potemkin himself. Read, wander, lose your self, and try to find your self again. Sleep easy, if you can."
—Forrest Aguirre, World Fantasy Award-winning co-editor of Leviathan 3, author of Heraclix & Pomp and Swans Over the Moon


Mark Teppo has written more than a dozen novels, both by himself and in collaboration with others. His Codex of Souls urban fantasy series preceded the occult noir revival, and his eco-thriller, Earth Thirst, revitalized the vampire mythology, bringing the old bloodsuckers into the 21st century. Recently, he's been out championing the printed book, and he is the founder and publisher of Resurrection House.

[ author photo by Brady Hall ]