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  • Posted August 16, 2012

    Nick Mamatas' brutal and brilliant new novel BULLETTIME should b

    Nick Mamatas' brutal and brilliant new novel BULLETTIME should be
    shelved in every High School library in America. It won't, which is a
    pity. Though not intended or marketed as YA, one can all too easily
    imagine the ruckus this little book would ignite among librarians and
    administrators, as it contains many core elements usually found in YA
    novels, only ramped up to a level of nightmare that is very real and
    painfully familiar to angst-ridden teens: David Holbrook is ignored by
    self-pitying, ill-equipped parents who allow him to be bullied at
    school, and worse. David copes by slugging down buckets of cough syrup,
    enduring his daily beatings and humiliations in a sluggish
    dextromethorphan haze, and it is during one of these trippy, unhappy
    mornings when he meets Erin / Eris, a new girl / old Goddess who both
    dazzles and offers new torment to our luckless (and doomed) teenaged
    protagonist. The reader learns in short order that David truly * is *
    doomed, for via the all-encompassing scope of the Ylem, “the canvas
    places are painted on,” David is able to “live every decision and detail
    of an infinite number of me,” zipping back and forth from first to
    third-person narrative, zooming-in then back out on all the possible
    trajectories and conclusions of his life—all of them bad. While Mamatas
    gleefully delivers scenes of unrelenting teenage hilarity and horror,
    the book is at times a sober meditation on the nature of predestination
    and possibility, and though often cruel, it is a book not entirely
    devoid of hope. Some early reviewers complained that the supporting
    characters were superficial and one-dimensional; I found this not to be
    the case. Mamatas understands too well the engines and forces that have
    shaped David's parents, for example, but he does not confuse that
    comprehension with sentimentality, the easy escape of lesser scribblers.
    Mamatas is concerned with the very serious matter of lives too brief and
    deaths very final, and the author seems willing to risk appearing
    callous rather than offer flimsy reportage of the human condition.
    BULLETTIME is not a happy read, its laughter at times too black even for
    the gallows, but it is an energetic and vital book. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

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