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Don't Read This Book [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Blackmoore , Harry Connolly , Rich Dansky , Laura Anne Gilman , Will Hindmarch , Mur Lafferty , Robin D. Laws , C.E. Murphy , Chuck Wendig , Fred Hicks
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $5.00
You Save: $10.00 (67%)

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Book Description

Down a lonely alleyway, under a starless sky, lies a city that never was, yet is: the Mad City, where nightmares walk the streets, and a good night's sleep can get you killed.

Here, then, is a book from that place. Within these recovered pages are the tales of the Awake, insomniacs who've walked those perilous streets, bringing a bit of the power of dream with them to fight back the night—always at a terrible cost.

For many, it will not end well. For a few, they might just become heroes—or at least find their way back home.

For you, a choice. Turn away. Don't read this book. And maybe you'll continue to rest easy. Or open the cover and enter a world unlike any you've ever dared to imagine...

Edited by Chuck Wendig and featuring the stories of...
Stephen Blackmoore
Harry Connolly
Rich Dansky
Matt Forbeck
Laura Anne Gilman
Will Hindmarch
Mur Lafferty
Robin D. Laws
Ryan Macklin
C. E. Murphy
Josh Roby
Greg Stolze
Monica Valentinelli


Product Details

  • File Size: 1679 KB
  • Print Length: 179 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Evil Hat Productions (April 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007XH6EXU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,811 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disturbing City Full of Disturbed People May 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mad City is a deeply disturbing place that can only be found by the deeply disturbed. Those who can't (or won't) sleep eventually become Awake enough to see the city and possibly stumble into it. Whether it's adjacent to our reality or simply seeps into the cracks of it, you don't want to be stranded there. Nightmares roam the streets, hoping to find people foolish enough to wander out and be consumed - or worse, converted. Everyone is a nightmare waiting to happen.

This is a themed anthology of stories all set in Mad City. The stories range from terrifying to funny to totally disturbing. There's not a bad story in the lot, though my favorites are the first story, Don't Forget Your Patients by Stephen Blackmoore, and the last story, Don't Chew Your Food by Harry Connolly. As twisted or deranged or pitiful as the protagonist in each story is, they all undeniably belong in the chaos of Mad City.

I really can't recommend this anthology highly enough. The stories flow together beautifully to create what feels like a real place. Mad City has a set of rules and a few higher-profile inhabitants that make appearances throughout multiple stories, and seeing these from the perspective of different authors/characters is fascinating. I'm a huge lover of themed anthologies, and this one is probably my favorite yet. I hope there's more Mad City forthcoming.

(As a side note, I had to put this book down when I tried to read it the first time. I had a fullblown panic attack on an airplane and while I was trying to calm down in the airport, I thought I'd read this book as a distraction. No. A world of no. I will tell you that it's scary enough to not help lull away someone's anxiety. Which makes it even more awesome. You know, after.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare to see the Mad City May 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
"Don't Read This Book" (DRTB from here on out) is a fun and entertaining collection of short stories set in the Mad City, a secret world gone wrong where reality as we know it is twisted or absent entirely. DRTB is based on the Evil Hat tabletop RPG, Don't Rest Your Head, but no knowledge of the game is necessary to enjoy the stories as presented. In fact, in some ways, it's better to not know anything at all as I feel it ups the sense of mystery and creepiness that the stories give off. But the short of it is that people, through extreme insomnia and not a little bit of madness, wake up and begin to perceive the Mad City around them. The problem is that the Mad City now can percieve them in return and that's sometimes a dangerous proposition.

DRTB explores 13 people dealing with the Mad City and the deranged denizens. The stories range from quirky and amusing (Don't Spill Your Tea), to the bizarre (Don't Harsh Your Buzz) to the sad (Don't Forget Your Kids) to the mindscrew (Don't Chew Your Food), but all of them have an undertone of mystery, of danger, of creepiness. The only real complaint I can make is that at less than 200 pages, it feels a bit short. What is there is very entertaining, but for the price paid I can't help wanting a little more than I got. Even 2-3 more stories might have made it feel a bit more substantial. In any case, I think it's a great collection of surrealistic horror stories that people should definitely check out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter the Mad City April 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While I loved having a set of stories to help establish the feel of Don't Rest Your Head's setting, I had one minor quibble. I grok that a parent losing their child is likely one of the most common routes to become one of the Awake in Mad City, I could have wished that it be less common of a starting point of the short story anthology. More exploration of the less obvious ways to lose your sleep and then your mind might have been nice. That said, the stories established the dark surrealism and the essential loneliness of the setting, if being a little short on the blinding flashes of hope that go hand and hand with despair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good anthology combining pulp and horror elements April 29, 2012
By Kieren
Format:Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed the Don't Read this Book anthology. It has the sort of mix of the depressing, the scary and the quirky that you would expect from tales of the mad city.

I believe that even people not familiar with the Mad City and the "Don't Rest Your Head" role playing game will enjoy this book. Recommended for anyone that likes fantasy or horror.

Don't judge the book by it's cover. Do Read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mad City in Your Head March 29, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a well conceived and executed anthology that touches a nerve. For each reviewer on this site the book reminded them a little bit of some other favorite, but also stood out as an original. Some compared it to "Neverwhere", some to Lovecraft, and so on. I thought of the open, shared world of Bordertown, although Mad City is darker and more dangerous than that place. It is also reminiscent of what Simon Green's Nightside might be like if Green approached it without his signature deadpan humor and antic plotting.

Regardless, these different reactions and comparisons just highlight the fact that this book has an effect on the reader and touches something that evokes a strong, positive response. I've read a lot of supposedly weird, dark books of madness and peril lately, and lots of them are flabby or exhausted. Not so this one. The stories are sharp and edgy, some more than others but that's to be expected. If you read a lot in this genre you'll want to know this book. If you're just on a sampling tour, well this should probably be the sampler you try.

The book is an outgrowth of the Evil Hat tabletop RPG "Don't Rest Your Head". I'm only generally familiar with that game, but unlike with some spinoffs there is no need to be familiar at all with the game to completely enjoy this book. Actually, coming into the book cold, with just the background and explanation you get from the Introduction, is probably the best way to meet this book.

It can be very interesting when one gifted writer keeps returning to the same dark place. (I'm thinking, say, Lovecraft here.) But it can be even more rewarding when, as here, thirteen entirely different writers with different attitudes, styles and preoccupations all offer a view of the same setting.
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