Nick Mamatas’ THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING is a literary tour de force, that successfully juggles a multitude of genres, styles, and themes
Though not being genre-focused like other authors’ short story collections, Mamatas’ THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING
is a literary tour de force, juggling a multitude of genres, styles,
themes, and experimentation with form. There’s political discourse
within the pages, but made palpable with Mamatas’ distinctive, engaging
On Margaret Killjoy’s podcast WE WILL REMEMBER FREEDOM, Ben Church reads “The Great Armored Train” by Nick Mamatas.
SO, THIS IS WHAT COMMUNISM MEANS? Gribov
thought. The train was magnificent. It seemed too heavy to move, but it
fairly glided along the tracks. It was the smoothest ride Gribov had
ever been on, and it bustled with activity—warehouse, restaurant,
barracks, even a Politburo office and telegraph station, a two-car
garage, and even a small biplane among its twelve wagons. Never mind the
armored engines with gun turrets. All this, and it doesn’t even have a name! It was just the train of the Predrevoyensoviet, Leon Trotsky. Didn’t the War Commissar have a wife or a girlfriend to name his personal armored war-train after?
But really, it was the workers’ train, and there was much work to be
done. Gribov was a soldier, but no longer just a standard peasant with a
rifle and a children’s book on the Russian alphabet to help him learn
to read. He was one of the Red Sotnia, the hundred soldiers who made up
Trotsky’s bodyguard and rushed out to join pitched battles. Not long
before, he’d been in the cavalry train that followed behind Trotsky’s,
shoveling horse shit. But the train, and the Bolshevik efforts, had
taken some hits lately, and now Gribov was decked out in black leather,
presumably ready to give his life for the world proletariat, and for
comrade Trotsky. Gribov dutifully collected the train’s newspaper, V puti,
but mostly used it to insulate his boots. It was cold tonight on the
Polish border, and he was glad that Trotsky wrote so much. Almost toasty , he thought, as he leapt from the roof of one car to another, watching the forest for Mensheviks, for Cossacks, for Poles.
“Comrade!” one of the sharpshooters stationed on the roof whispered harshly. “Step lightly! You’ll bring them down upon us.”
Michael Thomas Berry for NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS recommends Mamtas’ new novel Sabbath.
Overall, Sabbath is an entertainingly vivid, blood-soaked,
sexually charged page turner that is freshly conceived and surprisingly
poignant in its ultimate revelations. Mamatas does an excellent job of
weaving thought provoking and humorously snappy dialogue into the story.
His excitement in telling this type of tale (a subject he knows very
well) is unmistakable and profound. A highly recommended read for anyone
with a keen interest in violently graphic horror/ fantasy novels.
For more info on THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF EVERYTHING, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story