GOD$ FARE NO BETTER: VOLUME ONE is now available. $15 plus shipping. I’ll be doing a limited run of these in paperback, so if you’re a collector of physical books, first of all god bless you, and second of all I hope you like it. They’ll each have their own unique cover art from a different artist, and they’ll all be designed by Matthew Revert. So, you know. They’ll look nice. I’ll be doing this limited-run thing for each volume of the GOD$ series, which has developed into a sprawling epic that I didn’t want to wait three or so years to show you, which is how long I figure it’ll take between writing Danny Ames books (look for BLACK GUM GODLESS HEATHEN later this year) and standalone novels and putting out a fuckload of books every year on Broken River.
For those of you who read this when it was serialized, I can tell you this paperback version is about twice as big. So, if you know what happens, I’m not gonna pretend there’s some drastic change plotwise. But it’s denser, my first real foray into maximalism, and it has more cool subplots (like the part that deals with the King of the Shopping Carts, for instance). It’s different from anything I’ve ever done. And it’s hands-down the most fun I’ve had writing anything, ever. I spend so much time paring down the Ames novels, cutting them to the bone, it feels really cool to just be able to let whatever weird idea I have onto the page. If the Ames books are boom-bap hip hop, the GOD$ series is free-form jazz. But it’s all weird crime, and it’s all nasty.
Anyhoo, if you’d like a sample, here’s a good bit from the novel. The series revolves around a former supercop, a killer moving backwards in time, and a hitman who can unhinge his jaw like a snake and swallow his victims whole. The whole thing is being played out as a “symphony” that extra-dimensional aliens are watching from outside of time.
Until they reached the dim yellow lights of the McCallan Street Bridge their eyes were wide to the dark and the floating neon green carpets of their heart chakras and the sound of cicadas pressed against their sides and kept them from the tangles of little bluestem already wet with dew. They gripped their stomachs as the san pedro expanded. Drennon had dumped the ugly olive powder into a bowl he’d crafted in pottery class and added filtered water and mixed the shit until it was a paste. A teaspoon of cinnamon didn’t keep them from nearly vomiting but they both liked that this was a drug a man had to commit to. Bassell filled a couple Ziploc bags with food dye and set a dusty overhead projector on the floor and aimed the light at the ceiling. He pushed the dye around the bag and Drennon laid close to the hot machine and watched the colors move. When the spackle on the wall began to shift like grains of sand in the tide they both decided to head to the bridge and maybe smoke to take the edge off the nausea.
Jaime Sorokolit met with his employer under the McCallan Street Bridge to collect his payment for a lawyer he’d shot in the mottled hills behind a gas station off US-93. The desert had been cold and he’d led the crying man by the light of a copper refinery to the south to the base of a small caldera, where he shot him through the head clean and buried him shallow under a collection of volcanic stones. He took a moment to rest, then clapped his hands together to get the dust off and sighed and turned to go when he heard a noise like castanets at the bottom of a well. He couldn’t see in the dark and didn’t really care to investigate but after a few steps the clicking became so loud as to be unbearable and he fell to his knees, feeling the sound coming from the top of the caldera but also from inside his bones. He covered his ears with his palms and tried shut his eyes against the vibrations but he felt his lids quiver and roll up and so he had to see what was in front of him up the hill at the rim of the caldera. Three worms, each about ten feet high, weaving gently in the breeze like nylon puppets under a fan at a car lot. Glowing like blacklights. At the creatures’ apex their scales pulled back like foreskin and their beaks tittered and they drooled green. They slid down the mountain in perfect time with each other. Sorokolit wanted to die. Anything to get the strobe out of his brain.
He didn’t remember anything after that. He cradled a cup of coffee in the diner of the gas station. When the morning blue broke over the hills it filled up with dusty employees of the refinery and Sorokolit could hear all the spoons hitting the plates and could smell the grease from the kitchen. He tried to read the menu scrawled in chalk on the belly of the cartoon chef hanging from the wall but his eyes kept shaking in his skull and after a few blessed seconds of focus everything returned to tiny electric whirlpools. The soup of the day is lobster bisque, he thought.
Later that night, under the bridge, Jaime Sorokolit was pondering what all went into a lobster bisque besides lobster when Mike Lecours lifted his long quiet gun and shot him through the neck. The round nicked his carotid and shredded his trachea and severed his brachial plexus, which kept him from reaching up to stem the flow of blood gushing from his neck over his new sweater and into the dirt. Lecours had aimed for his temple, but he was drunk as hell and anxious to get the whole thing over with. He swayed on his heels and put his gun away and watched Sorokolit fall backwards into the river.
From their craft above the river, the beings perceived Drennon and Bassell leaning over the railings, their smartphones extended, them desperately trying to get a picture of the flying saucer whilst being completely oblivious to the man who was nearly bled to death in the river below. The conductor stepped away from the viewing portal and approached the podium. His guests that night included both creators and several prominent singularities with a smattering of fans. The consciousness shift involved in the lensing process made everyone on board sick and they shuddered at the unmistakable glacial weathering of their skin but they steadied themselves against the seats in front of them, anxious to hear the music. It was especially exciting for the Creators, being both the designers and the products of this world, to complete a circuit to meet the things that they created that created them.
The conductor called up the hexeract on the imager behind him and the crowd felt suddenly warm with the nostalgia brought on by seeing the six cube in four dimensions, the primitive representation of their reality, their gods suddenly becoming cognizant of them. The human characters, the boys on the railing and the dying man in the river, stretched out on either side of the crowd. The conductor raised his hands and slowly brought them down as though pressing a needle to a record and gently folded the fifth dimension over the fourth. The crowd sensed dying life and lives just beginning shooting off in two directions, before and after, and they felt the alien sensation of moving through space-time and they saw what happened and what happens and the conductor felt himself bursting with pride as the crowd swayed to his music.
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