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Temporary Agency [Paperback]

Rachel Pollack


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Book Description

6 April 1995
A follow-up to "Unquenchable Fire", winner of the 1988 Arthur C. Clarke Award. In New York, Paul has a problem. An ancient, ferocious spirit has fallen in love with him. He looks to his 14-year-old cousin, Ellen, for help. She then turns to the toughest, feistiest lawyer in the city.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New edition edition (6 April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857232674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857232677
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,004,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Remember the Founders 22 April 2007
By Eleanor Skinner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"This is the real thing, a shot straight from the Jungian depths, and the single most gripping book I've read this year," says Michael Swanwick on the back of the book. He's perfectly right. It just comes at you, this right, slightly altered, world of a shamanic America.

This is how the book begins, perfectly mixing modern life and fantasy:

"When I was fourteen, a cousin of mine angered a Malignant One. It was a big case, a genuine scandal. Maybe you remember it. At the time, when it all ended, I just wanted to forget about the whole thing. But a couple of years have passed and I guess maybe it's time to think about it again."

"The Bright Being lived in the office building where my cousin Paul worked analyzing retail sales reports. I don't know how she got there, really. We never did find that out. I don't even know how long she was there. I mean, before Paul met her. Maybe she lived on that same spot long before the building went up. Maybe she even lived there for thousands of years, way before the Indians came. No one really knows how old the Beings are. Some people say -- I read this in a book, actually -- that the Bright Beings, the Malignant Ones and the Benign Ones, go back to the beginning of the universe. According to this Sacred Physics book, the Big Bang Story that broke open the cosmic ylem egg showered out the Beings along with all the quarks and tachyons and all the rest of them. The Beings came from a kind of impurity in the ylem, a sort of aesthetic flaw in the original story. So maybe the Ferocious One lived at that spot for millions of years, embedded in the granite of Manhattan Island, waiting for humans, for victims -- like my poor cousin Paul."

"Or maybe she never lived there at all until the building went up. Maybe the contractor summoned her, maybe her offered her space in her building in exchange for help in getting his contract bid accepted. I thought of this because of what happened later. And because of what happened with the Defense Department."

Each paragraph just keeps leading into the next. If it doesn't grab you, you're dead. It's set in the same world as Unquenchable Fire, but is not a sequel or a prequel, and is a very different book. In Temporary Agency, Ellen the narrator's cousin Paul dates a woman who turns out to be a Malignant One. The second part of the book, Benign Adjustments, is a little slower, and deals with the aftermath of what happened to Paul, and the scandal that followed.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book ! 17 Jan 2001
By Paul - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great read that blurs the line between science fiction and fantasy genres! Others have tried melding the supernatural with science fiction (such as Poul Anderson in "Operation Chaos"), but with nowhere near the success of Rachel Pollack. Unlike some other writers, she obviously understands something about magical beliefs and rituals, and does a great job of imaginatively integrating this into a high tech future and a suspenseful plot. After you read this, you may want to read "Unquenchable Fire" too, since it is set in the same futuristic world.
5.0 out of 5 stars Priesthood of the Believer with a twist (several, actually) 3 April 2012
By Anthony Baus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rachel Pollack's Temporary Agency seamlessly places the reader in a world where Pagan beliefs are real. This sort of reality, however, is a dual-edged sword. To copy a phrase I heard from Baptist theology, there is a radical "priesthood of the believer" in Ms. Pollack's world. Mere people can access supernatural powers without any sort of intermediary figure. Being an active part of creation is wonderful, but with this power comes responsibility.

In this story responsibility takes the form of Lisa Black Dust 7 (coolest naming convention ever, by the way), an evil spirit with designs on Ellen's cousin, Paul. He has already compromised his own ability to resist, and Ellen attempts to save him. The fight is fierce, but Ellen does gain an ally in the process: Allison, a lawyer "specializing in demonic possession." The outcome is a messy draw, and the groundwork for the second part of the book, set roughly a decade later, is set.

By then, Ellen is out as a lesbian. In Temporary Agency sexual orientation is not the crisis some make of it today, but meeting Allison again gives Ellen a different sort of challenge. Sharp barriers remain between the pair as a result of Paul's ultimate fate, but their love overcomes all. The romance is an intoxicating blend of lust and compassion. Then it is off to face a supernatural threat with roots in their shared past.

I have been known to drop books with a two-part structure like Temporary Agency, but not this time. Ms. Pollack has written a masterpiece. I don't give 5 stars lightly, but for this book I do so without hesitation.

Earth Mother's Grace
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, a great read! 1 July 2001
By Annie O - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful book. I especially liked the scene on the NYSE. Remember, low level hacking the NetStream feed is your best entertainment value!
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