This on Goodreads from Keith McCleary. It’s my blog, so I can brag if I want to – here’s the whole damn review. Thanks to Mr McCleary for taking the time. For getting it so completely. Please click the link to check him out.
Matt E. Lewis described this as “Under the Skin meets Mad Max with a sprinkle of The Road,” which is funny not because any of those references really occurred to me, but because when I was reading I also couldn’t help but attempt to process the story by way of combining things I already knew. I think what I came up with was “Species meets Netrunner with a sprinkle of Nicholas Sparks,” and since Matt’s references are much cooler you should listen to him, but the result is actually sort of the same.
So: an alien creature is sent to Earth to save its species by finding the perfect mate, and takes the form of a woman who kicks a lot of ass. The world she travels through is, by turns, either a pre-apocalypse or post-cyberpunk version of San Diego, which has become an urban sprawl called Spill City. She is driven by lust so deep that it’s tearing her body apart. There’s a lot of men in her life, but she’s looking for The One With The Perfect Horn (which is exactly what you think, because yes, it matters). The men she follows have their own stories– some bigger, some smaller. She lives in a trailer park and rescues an orphan and fights with the alien godmind in her head and tries, most of the time, not to be a horrible person despite not being a person at all. Read more
Thanks to my publisher, Cameron Pierce of Lazy Fascist Press for throwing Norma and the gang into the ring. The James Tiptree Jr Award is named after the pen name of the feminist sci-fi writer Alice B. Sheldon, and is “given to a writer who explores and expands our notion of gender.” Norma’s up against some pretty fierce contenders—William Gibson’s Peripheral, for instance, one of my favorite books for 2015—and to be honest, I’m not sure how the process works, but it’s nice to be a part of it. To celebrate, here’s a gender bending excerpt:
“There was a collapsed building between the Bakersfield Greyhound and a windowless tavern called The Trap. A curtain flapped from one of the broken building’s upper floor windows. Norm found a relatively sound room on the top floor with a bunch of jerry-rigged bolts on the door, some of which still worked, and a hole blown out of the ceiling where the rain came in. There was a mattress on the floor that would come in handy to recuperate on, and Norm lugged it away from the hole. Half of the building was rubble, the rest about to be, so the smell and the noise from the protocol would not around suspicion.
Norms were horn hunters, each identical to yet logically discernible from the others. Mommy had many Norms in the Before, all named after the set of algorithms or prohibitions that constrained the hunter from turning against and hunting down its maker. Mommy selected this Norm for its appetites, its sensory acumen—in particular its sense of smell—and its physical stamina. But in the misguided notion that it would take one to know one, Mommy had given the horn hunter a horn of its own. Read more
In other news American Monster is now available in ebook format from 0s&1s Press. $6. Thanks to Cameron Pierce and the smart people at Lazy Fascist Press.
Reading at Left Bank Books in Seattle to a packed house. More pics and debriefs in ensuing posts. An incredible end to a memorable and exhausting week.
Deeply appreciated words from Christopher O’Riley on American Monster.
Just finished reading American Monster by J.S. Breukelaar, a sci-fi novel of sentient stars, a cyborg samurai post-apocalyptic quest with a rich and multi-layered cosmology and a lot of fine and romantically visceral writing all along the way.
One Horn to Rule Them All
Thanks to the coterie of FB sci-fi writers and artists from whom i gained the heads-up on this, J.S.’s first novel—a really splendid effort; she’s been largely known through her short stories to the community for some time—Kris Saknussemm and fabulous cover artist Matthew Revert among them.
Pass It On
I should say that I became aware of this review on my last day in Seattle, sitting in Seattle Coffee Works with the rain belting down outside. I raised my Americano to you, Mr O’Riley. Salut. Thanks for a memorable send-off.