Finalist for the 2021 William L. Crawford Fantasy Award
"DeLuca debuts with a surreal ride through the supernatural history of the city of Detroit and the strange territory of new parenthood. Aileen is a recent transplant to Detroit and a single mother of a newborn. Her neighbor Virgil is the only person she's grown close to since the move, so when he asks to borrow her bicycle so he can participate in a semimythical monthly bike ride called the Night Roll, a riff on the folkloric Wild Hunt, she feels obligated to say yes. When Virgil doesn't return, Aileen becomes desperate enough to venture out to find him, bringing baby Christian with her-and stumbles into a small but generous community of Detroit locals. In the process of earning their trust, Aileen gets many lessons on local history, learning about the Rebellion (also known as the '67 riots) and the Elf, the ageless trickster who leads the Night Roll. The odd, lyrical story meanders, propelled only by the force of Aileen's determination to take control of her life-a determination that culminates in the reality-bending Halloween Night Roll. The result is a hypnotic near-future novella that will captivate literary and genre readers alike."
"Night Roll brings home a lot of things that are wonderful about [Detroit]: the incredible diversity, the community-mindedness, and the quirky culture that has arisen out of the ashes of the post-industrial city. ... I'd recommend this book for anyone who's ever thought "Detroit? Who would ever want to live in that wasteland?" I also very much appreciate a story that centers a mother who has to deal with all the practicalities of keeping a baby alive and thriving, no matter what circumstances she finds herself in."
"DeLuca's deft, poetic eye keeps hope right where it needs to be, not as magic, but as imperative, creative power."
ZZ Claybourne, author of The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan
"Michael J. DeLuca has written a lyrical, deeply affecting, and ultimately thrilling love letter to Detroit past, present, and future. An alchemical mix of science fiction, urban fantasy, and magical realism, this gripping novella calls out with remarkable compassion and grace. Night Roll sings."
Robert Levy, author of The Glittering World
"Night Roll is one of the most vivid and captivating works of near future fiction I have read in a long time. The story of a woman left alone with her newborn in a collapsing Detroit, it follows her journey of discovery into the new communities that emerge from our slow-burn apocalypse, germinating the seeds of a more hopeful tomorrow firmly rooted in a sober assessment of the now and the deeper colonial and ecological history of North America. DeLuca's gifts for drawing out the pockets of wild nature resurgent within the concrete canyons of the city are enough to hold my attention throughout, but the fresh authenticity of voice and vulnerable but committed charisma of his characters are what keep you turning the pages of this compelling novella."
Christopher Brown, Campbell and World Fantasy Award-nominated author of Tropic of Kansas and Rule of Capture