cover image Black Hole

Black Hole

Bucky Sinister. Counterpoint/Soft Skull, $15.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-59376-607-8

This scabrously funny novel is a character study of a badly aging punk whose prime motivation in life is his voracious appetite for drugs. Chuck, who is 43 and lives in San Francisco’s Mission District, works part-time trafficking cloned “mini-whales” for over-privileged yuppies and techies (“Pets are the new accessories”), while scarfing every pill and powder that he can consume. When he scores some Black Hole, “a synthetic, smokeable speedball” that mysteriously never diminishes in quantity even when consumed, he appears to have found his dream drug—that is, until his grip on the space-time continuum starts to slip. Chuck’s days are an endless succession of waking up in unfamiliar places in various states of undress, and he crosses paths regularly with a zany cast of supporting characters that includes steroidal bodybuilders, fellow heads, and a former NSA agent brain-cleansed by psychedelics. Throughout his adventures he weighs in regularly as a poet-philosopher, serving up observational gems on drug addiction (“Home is where your drugs are”), contemporary culture (“No one wants things because they want them, they want things to show the world what they can afford”), and the way urban gentrification has neutered society’s tolerance for outrageous lifestyles. Reading about his crazy antics is a heady experience in its own right. (Aug.)