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Sensation (Spectacular Fiction)by Nick Mamatas
Synopses & Reviews
When Julia Hernandez leaves her husband, shoots a real estate developer, and then vanishes without a trace, she slips out of the world she knew and into the Simulacrum—a place where human history is both guided and thwarted by the conflict between a species of anarchist wasps and a collective of hyperintelligent spiders. When Julia's ex-husband Raymond spots her in a grocery store he doesn't usually patronize, he's soon drawn into an underworld of radical political gestures where Julia is the new media sensation of both this world and the Simulacrum. Told ultimately from the collective point of view of another species, this allegorical novel plays with the elements of the Simulacrum apparent in real life—media reports, business speak, blog entries, text messages, psychological-evaluation forms, and the lies lovers tell one another—and poses a fascinating idea that displaces human beings from the center of the universe and makes them simply the pawns of two warring species.
"Mamatas (Under My Roof) appears to be more interested in reasserting the primacy of Joyce, Pynchon, and Coover than establishing the voice of Mamatas in his self-consciously po-mo third novel. This accumulation of pop-culture babble, layered with thin insight and metatextual archness, is amusing enough in an epigrammatic way, but there's little attempt to communicate beyond the level of the individual sentences. There is Julia, the wife who walks out, unknowingly incubating wasp eggs in her arm. There is Raymond, the distraught husband who formulates a theory of penis panic to explain his wife's departure. And there are spiders, aka 'a man of indeterminate ethnicity,' a Borg-like 'we' who narrate what ensues. The endless catalogue of modern annoyances, from attention-hogging real estate developers to Indian call-center workers, makes this novel not so much timely as instantly obsolete. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Nick Mamatas is the author of the novels Move Under Ground and Under My Roof, as well as the short story collection You Might Sleep. His writing has been translated into German, Italian, and Greek, and he has been nominated for the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Awards and the Kurd Lasswitz Prize. He is the coeditor of the online magazine Clarkesworld and his essays have appeared in the Clamor, In These Times, the New Humanist, the Smart Set, and the Village Voice. He lives in Oakland, California.
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