The tales in Nick Mamatas’ introspective and clever THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING are entertaining
Nick Mamatas’ recently released collection THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING impresses.
In a starred review for BOOKLIST, Becky Spratford praises the book.
Each tale is entertaining on its surface, but all hold a deeper meaning for readers inclined to ponder it. The inclusion of Mamatas’ author’s notes, offering a peek into his personal evolution, is worth the price of admission. This collection will be an easy sell to readers who enjoy genre-blending authors of thought-provoking and topical tales, such as Jeffrey Ford, China Miéville, and Jeff VanderMeer.
Spratford expounds on the review at RA FOR ALL.
This collection is a genre blend as a whole, but even within stories, the genres can blend. I loved that. Not a single story takes you where you think you will go because no one writes like Mamatas. He is brilliant and original but he also knows how to tell a good compelling story filled with dark humor regardless of genre. He respects the genre tropes but also, refuses to let them define him or his work. It is refreshing.
I know I mentioned the first story in the review. Not only did I love it, I think it sets the stage perfectly for the unsettling, thought provoking stories that will follow. Seriously, after reading the entire collection, it was the perfect choice to kick things off.
Frank Michaels Errington on his eponymous page enjoys the work.
4 of 5 Stars
THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING is made up of fourteen short stories and one novella from genre fiction writer Nick Mamatas and is the most varied assemblage of work I’ve read in some time.
<Errington reviews every story>
I found much of the work in The People’s Republic of Everything to be introspective, clever, and fun.
For ELECTRIC LIT, Jeff VanderMeer interviews Mamatas.
Jeff VanderMeer: Short fiction was dead. Then it wasn’t. Let’s assume it’s alive. Why is it alive, if so?
Nick Mamatas: It’s alive for a couple of reasons. One is that just over a decade or so ago, bookstores finally understood that they could sell anthologies of short fiction by treating them as though they were non-fiction. People really do wander into bookstores and say things such as “I love The Walking Dead. Got any books about zombies?” or “I’ve been hearing a lot about steampunk — got anything that’ll explain it to me?” and a big anthology with reprints by prominent authors and new or at least obscure material by less well-known authors is basically a textbook designed to answer those questions. Phonebook-sized anthologies by you and Ann VanderMeer, or by John Joseph Adams, really grew a generation of readers.
Then there’s the smartphone and commuter culture: a short story is a commute-length read and a smartphone allows for instant access even when people don’t sit down and plan to read short fiction in advance. But short fiction is only ever a few clicks away, and unlike large collections of fiction, which require the reader to enter a narrative world, then exit it only to enter another, reading in an interstitial moment and then reading another story eight hours later doesn’t tax one’s attention span so much.
Finally, the short story is alive because it was dead. Freed from commercial considerations — there’s no reason to sit down and try to write to the men’s magazine market or for the Saturday Evening Post’s specific requirements — writers can do what they will. Good writers win. Thus a book such as Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties can through sales for enthusiasm and sheer quality get a lot of buzz built around it, enter something like its seventh or eighth printing, and even get nominated for a National Book Award. If she had written those stories according to the commercial formulae of the 1950s or ‘60s, they wouldn’t have been as good and thus the book wouldn’t have done as well.
Ashley Holstrom at BOOK RIOT includes THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING among Rockin’ August 2018 Book Covers.
For more info on THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story