Atom: A Novel

Overview

Welcome to the comic and bizarre world of Mr. Taffy Atom, private detective extraordinaire, and his voracious sidekick, Jed Helms, who just happens to be a fish. Set in the same nightmarishly noir underworld of Beerlight seen in other works by Steve Aylett, Atom follows the hero as he trails a motley pack of criminals chasing down some missing gray matter - not their own, but the pilfered brain of Time magazine's Man of the Century, the Big E. Atom is a laconic, world-weary private eye in the Bogart tradition in ...

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Overview

Welcome to the comic and bizarre world of Mr. Taffy Atom, private detective extraordinaire, and his voracious sidekick, Jed Helms, who just happens to be a fish. Set in the same nightmarishly noir underworld of Beerlight seen in other works by Steve Aylett, Atom follows the hero as he trails a motley pack of criminals chasing down some missing gray matter - not their own, but the pilfered brain of Time magazine's Man of the Century, the Big E. Atom is a laconic, world-weary private eye in the Bogart tradition in a world where the cops are the villains and the criminals, if not heroes, are no worse than the forces trying to maintain what passes for law and order in Beerlight. "Aylett has a cold, accurate eye, a mocking wit, and a black, playful angle of attack which has learned something from cyberpunk but has the smack of idiosyncrasy." — Michael Moorcock

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Editorial Reviews

Adrienne Martini
If Damon Runyon and Jonathan Lethem had reproduced, the offspring would write a heck of a lot like Steve Aylett. His inventive and constantly surprising use of language puts one in mind of a world like Guys and Dolls, a place with its own linguistic customs where everyone speaks in strange turns of phrase. And Aylett builds worlds -- like Beerlight in Atom -- where fantastic things happen on an hourly basis, where the characters take it all in with aplomb no matter how preposterous it seems to the reader. The titular detective is on the search for Kafka's brain, which has been stolen from storage by some mouthy thugs who later wound Atom's partner, who just happens to be a talking piranha. Clearly, stepping into Aylett's world means believing in his invention -- a place with Updike bombs (which render the subtext in the scene terminally obvious) and Bren Shui (a decorating art in which firearms are strategically placed to focus positive energies) -- otherwise, not one lick of it will be engaging. With all of its wordplay and wacky-noir goings-on, Atom doesn't always make for a traditional narrative but it does make for one in which meaning hovers just outside of your grasp. That, though, is part of the fun of this rollicking SF/detective yarn.
Austin Chronicle
Jabari Asim
Chugging fearlessly through this mayhem, Atom finally gets to the bottom of the [mystery]. His success in that regard is no surprise, but the resolution is well executed and open-ended enough to suggest further adventures. This was my first trip to Beerlight City, a setting Aylett apparently has also used in his previous books, Slaughtermatic and Toxicology. I wouldn't want to live there, but it turns out to be a fun place to visit.
Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568581750
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.01 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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