cover image Rock Manning Goes for Broke

Rock Manning Goes for Broke

Charlie Jane Anders. Subterranean, $40 (128p) ISBN 978-1-59606-878-0

Hugo and Nebula winner Anders (All the Birds in the Sky) glances sideways at current political and social issues in this jittery, vigorous science fiction novella set in a near-future United States. Rock Manning’s mix of ADHD and PTSD renders him not so much an unreliable narrator as too reliable, at least when the topic is himself. He tells the reader exactly what he’s thinking about, but his narration zips past the grim science-fictional elements of his environment, such as soldiers in robotic suits and militarized gangs. Rock’s personal world is all about watching and making slapstick movies. His attention span is short, but his ability to fall down in the most hilarious way possible is legendary, and his best friend, the brutal but creative Sally Hamster, craves the fame that comes from filming his antics. Meanwhile, the world around them is at war; pratfalls and the quest for notoriety are the only way Sally and Rock have to cope. At times hilarious, at times brutal, this is an extremely personal look at how one person tries to survive constant tragedy. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Oct.)