by Eugen Bacon

GENRE: Science Fiction / Fantasy

In this lush interplanetary tale, an immortal priest flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. The act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe: named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive women: Silhouette, Salem and Myra – mother, wife, and daughter. As they struggle to confront their fears and navigate the treacherous paths to love and accept T-Mo/Odysseus and themselves, the darkness in Odysseus urges them to unbearable choices that threaten their very existence.



Claiming T-Mo was one of the most unique books I’ve read in a while. A wonderful blend of fantasy, science fiction, and literary writing. The first thing that drew me in was the prose. The author’s phrasing and poetic, lyrical rhythm is like sitting down to a multi-course meal of one delicacy after another. I found myself rereading phrases like the following for the pure enjoyment of it:

If Salem thought to speak, to ask, “Who are you? How long have you been standing there, watching me, and why?” the mighty keenness of the woman’s good telescopic eye, the one that filtered, turned inward, then came back at her without translation, threw it right out of Salem’s mind.

Next was the character development, my favorites being Salem, a shy, sheltered girl in a fictional small town on earth who meets an other-worldly man named T-Mo who sweeps her off of her feet, and soon marries. And Silhouette, from the planet Grovea: T-Mo’s mother, who tries to make the best of an arranged marriage to an immortal priest who consummates their marriage when she is still a child. Silhouette’s character arc from those early days where she is powerless to change her oppressive marriage, to her character at the end of the book, was one of my favorite parts of the story and brings so much hope to world filled with as much darkness as light.

And finally the story itself, a sweeping saga about three women and their relationship to the man T-Mo, who through no fault of his own, is cursed at birth with a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence due to an act committed by his father, Novic. Certainly, that inciting event is critical to the story, but it is not the focus. Instead, it is the journey taken by  those who love him. Any mother, wife, child who has had a child, husband, or father cursed with demons, inner or otherwise, whether alcoholism, addiction, mental illness, abusive behavior, or some combination of these, will relate to these women’s struggles and feelings of helplessness to love, help, and try as they might to save him without losing themselves in the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed and very highly recommend Claiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon!


T-Mo happened exactly one week after the puzzle-piece woman with fifty-cent eyes.

One night, black as misery, Salem Drew stood, arms wrapped about herself, at the bus depot three streets from the IGA where she worked late shifts. A bunch of commuters had just clambered onto a number 146 for Carnegie, and Salem found herself alone at the depot.

She waited for a night express bus to take her back to a cheerless home that housed equally cheerless parents. An easy wind around her was just as dreary, foggy as lunacy. There, just then, the shadow of a woman’s face jumped into her vision.

Salem blinked. Was the woman real or a figment of thought? Singular parts of her were easy to file, were possibly real: maroon hair, rugged skin the color of coffee beans. And the scar . . . But all put together, cohesion was lost.

The puzzle-piece woman stood head lowered, quiet in the mist. When she raised her face, silver shimmered from one good eye, petite and round as a fifty-cent coin. The other eye was broken, feasibly some bygone injury. Even though it was as smooth and flawlessly round as the right eye, it held no sight. The coin perfection of its shape was embedded in scar tissue, a disfigurement that needed nothing but a single glance to seal the hideousness of it.

If Salem thought to speak, to ask, “Who are you? How long have you been standing there, watching me, and why?” the mighty keenness of the woman’s good telescopic eye, the one that filtered, turned inward, then came back at her without translation, threw it right out of Salem’s mind.

Thunder like the hammering of a thousand hooves did it. Salem ran without a scream, all the way through all that night, never minding the night bus when it whooshed past. All she minded was the gobbling eye, and the unwarned sound of deep belly laughter that chased behind.


Eugen Bacon is a computer scientist mentally re-engineered into creative writing. She has published over one hundred short stories and articles, together with anthologies. Her stories have won, been shortlisted and commended in international awards, including the Bridport Prize, L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, Copyright Agency Prize and Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards. Her creative work has appeared in literary and speculative fiction publications worldwide, including Award Winning Australian Writing, AntipodeanSF, Andromeda, Aurealis, Bards and Sages Quarterly, and New Writing (Routledge). Eugen’s latest books: Writing Speculative Fiction: Creative and Critical Approaches from Macmillan International, May 2019, and her debut novel, Claiming T-Mo, from Meerkat Press, August 2019



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