cover image Bullettime


Nick Mamatas. ChiZine, $15.95 trade paper (228p) ISBN 978-1-92685-171-6

Mamatas (Sensation) explores roads not taken in this complex, ambitious, and sometimes overly convoluted contemporary crime/fantasy novel. Alternating between first- and third-person narration, Mamatas presents the story of bullied Hamilton High School student David Holbrook, who is able to access the Ylem, “the canvas places are painted on,” where he can “live every decision and detail of an infinite number of me.” In each alternate reality, Dave dies before turning 41, never marries, and is childless, but apart from those commonalities, his experiences range from dying in infancy to stocking up on weapons and ammunition before seeking revenge on his tormentors. Mamatas is sometimes overly enamored of his own prose (“The marrow of his bones boils with glee”), and the concept of the Ylem is less developed than it could have been, but readers willing to venture off the beaten path will be intrigued by Dave’s sometimes pathetic and sometimes oddly endearing life stories. (Sept.)