Book Reviewed by Daniel Ryan Johnson
While Artefactum begins with a hilariously bizarre form of travel through the multiverse involving a sculpture of an Aboriginal fertility goddess, the story grows darker and more serious the deeper you dive. Although the book maintains an offbeat and darkly comedic element throughout, author J.E. Tobal does not let this interfere with the more profound themes the story explores. Purchase Here.
All the characters in Artefactum are deeply flawed people who often end up hurting those they love and getting in the way of their own happiness. However, while these flaws can, at times, make you angry at the poor choices that are made, they are also the reason that they are all so relatable.
J.E. Tobal combines humor, sci-fi, vulgarity, and philosophy in a perfect cocktail served up for the reader by bartending protagonist Sam Cattan. As Sam hops through time and space, he makes a thorough exploration of all the lows and highs of the great experiment known as humanity. From the first page to the last, it is a challenge to put the book down, as each new twist makes you eager for the next.
With worlds to match everything we desire, along with everything we dread, you will be pulled along as Sam continues to try and build his own little perfect world. Although the tools he has to accomplish this task may be far beyond what any of us have to work within the real world, he struggles with creating his ideal life just as much as anyone in our corner of the multiverse.
In Artefactum, Tobal achieves the rare accomplishment of creating a story that is equal parts absurd and poignant. The twists and turns of the novel make it a compelling read that will keep you guessing about the true nature of both the universes created by the author and that in which we live. With the powers available to Sam through the artefactum that are scattered throughout the multiverse, he is able to continually answer the question, “What if…?” with the response of, “Let’s find out.”