...a spooky, strange piece of Magical Realism prestidigitation that captures, nearly note-for-note, the turmoil and chaos of a community whose center has shattered but is being held together by a willful, communal rejection of the breakage ... No Gibson, no Sterling, no cyberpunk or spec-fic scribbler of the '80s or '90s ever captured the poisoned zeitgeist of social media better than this: a room full of the violent, disgusting, lonely and broken ramblings of shut-ins and social rejects, all held in the abandoned wing of a former insane asylum ... conceived under fire and born into a world shaking itself to pieces, it captures the chaos and randomness of terrorism and the fear of hidden furies in a way that only something that treads the ragged edge of surrealism can. It was a book written for a different world. And the most disturbing thing about it is how appropriate it is for ours.
...uncanny both in terms of its subject matter and in the way it prefigures the emotional reality of our own period. This is a book written in 1975 and featuring no technology more advanced than high-end analog audio recordings, yet it grasps the implications of social media in ways cyberpunk never did ... De Maria foresaw the way the internet — especially the portion of it defined by the pathologies of isolation — makes its users into consumers and creators simultaneously, fostering a paradoxical community of isolates mirroring their solipsisms at each other ... The Twenty Days of Turin turns the state of tension that neofascist terror attempted to create into a metaphysical condition, a supernatural threat summoning forces no one can control ... unlike any earlier weird-ideology tale I’ve read, The Twenty Days of Turin has a viciousness and caprice to its horror that feels very current ... De Maria’s prescient vision is a welcome and timely addition to the weird fiction of distinctly earthly terrors.
The Twenty Days of Turin is many things: a mystery, a cosmic horror story, and an allegory for domestic terrorism in 1970s Italy. It is also a prescient vision of the interconnected oversharing of the internet age, and, for this reader, perfectly illustrates how being inundated with a constant barrage of well-meaning but impotent opinions can desensitize the masses, allowing for the objects of their activism to run amok, unabated. A neat trick for a book originally published forty years ago. Some of the allegorical meaning might be lost on those unfamiliar with Turin's history, but for anyone with a computer living in the 21st Century, it is rife with eerily accurate commentary on our current situation. And that ending...god damn, the ending is creepy as hell. Hopefully the outlook of our own future is a little brighter and a lot less figuratively bludgeon-y.