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We Live Inside You Paperback – October 17, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"What makes JRJ's work stand out from his contemporaries' is the strange sense of empathy--in that regard he is not unlike David Foster Wallace's wicked and perhaps deranged younger brother. Sometimes the horror is so understated that it's deadly. JRJ has the ability to balance sheer humanity with sheer grotesquerie."--21C MAGAZINE
"I'm a longtime fan of Johnson. A master of derangement, he's been bringing it for years."--LAIRD BARRON, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All 
"A haunting collection from a wildly talented author, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is composed of nineteen perfectly-wrought nightmares, every one of which will stay with you long after you've finished reading."--PETER CRAIG, author of Hot Plastic and Blood Father, co-screenwriter of The Town

"The people populating these stories are real and vital and you WILL care, deeply, about what becomes of them... and in JRJ's harsh universe, baaaaad things happen. Often. Prepare thyself."--CRAIG DAVIDSON, author of Rust and Bone, The Fighter, and Sarah Court

"Favorite collection for 2011: WE LIVE INSIDE YOU."--STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, author of The Ones That Got Away and It Came From Del Rio

"The guy's a genius. Reminds me of William Gibson--the dark interest in altered states of consciousness, the unrelentingly furious forward movement, and the same kind of unlimited imagination."--BEN LOORY, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

"Tongue-replacing isopods, brain-raping copepods and body-warping worms are far from the most insidious parasites that infest Jeremy Robert Johnson's hapless literary victims. Though the squirmy bits elegantly pioneer new frontiers of sickness, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is at its most twisted and mordantly revelatory when it drops the body-horror metaphors and digs into the real horror of all the parasitic drives that ride us--tapeworms of greed, lust like plagues of crab lice, and the lethal heartworms of true love. So tightly written and so fluidly brutal you'll want to consume this psychosexual demolition derby in one sitting, but you'll spend the rest of the night checking yourself under a microscope."--CODY GOODFELLOW, author of Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars and Radiant Dawn/Ravenous Dusk

"Waaaay out at the deep end of the collective unconscious--where even the bravest of brain cells fear to tread--Jeremy Robert Johnson performs stand-up comedy for the gods.  And their laughter is a marvelous, terrible thing.  He's the kind of post-Lovecraftian genius berserker who makes the Great Old Ones new again.  As with Clive Barker, there is no glorious mutational eruption that Johnson can't nail directly through your gawping mind's eye."--JOHN SKIPP, NY Times Bestselling author of Spore (w/Cody Goodfellow) and The Bridge (w/Craig Spector)

"A dazzling writer."--CHUCK PALAHNIUK, NY Times Bestselling author of Fight Club

"Four stars."--BOOKED

"WE LIVE INSIDE YOU continues to showcase the author's staggering ability to craft stories as poignant as they are strange. The gamut of emotion conjured between the first and last page provides a workout for practically every muscle in a reader's mind. In its most twisted moments, Johnson's writing is too gleeful to pigeon-hole as strictly horror, and when he steps outside the gross-out game he transcends most other straight literary writers."--VERBICIDE

"WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is a genre-bending mix of stories akin to a literary blitzkrieg and 'Persistence Hunting' is one of the best noir stories you'll ever read. Johnson can write horror, science fiction, crime, and Bizarro. Sometimes he does all of the above within the same story. He's at once brutal and elegant, innovative and an immediate classic, ridiculously talented and an obvious perfectionist."--HORROR TALK
"Johnson weaves vivid and fascinatingly grotesque tales."--BOOKGASM

"I don't know if Mr. Johnson sold his soul to the devil to give him this gift for nightmare imagery, but by god, this guy can write. Johnson excels at pathology and perversity. A confirmed weirdo and authentic writer of uncommon emotional depth who deserves to be watched."--CEMETERY DANCE
"Johnson is probably a few books away from doing for horror what Jonathan Lethem did for science fiction. Plain and simple? Forget horror; this is good fiction."--GIRL ON DEMAND
"The stories contained in this book would make even David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and William Burroughs' post-orgy crack baby jealous. They are everything horror should be: uncomfortable, gritty, and violent. Each story is unpredictable and haunting. I'm almost convinced that Jeremy Robert Johnson wrote these stories in the fit of a long PCP bender, stopping only to drink the blood of sacrificed virgins."--BEST HORROR NOVELS

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Swallowdown Press (October 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933929065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933929064
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeremy Robert Johnson is the Wonderland Award-Winning author of cult hits SKULLCRACK CITY, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU, ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE, and EXTINCTION JOURNALS as well as the Stoker-Nominated novel SIREN PROMISED (w/Alan M. Clark). His fiction has been acclaimed by The Washington Post and authors like Chuck Palahniuk, David Wong, and Jack Ketchum, and has appeared internationally in numerous anthologies and magazines. In 2008 he worked with The Mars Volta to tell the story behind their Grammy Winning album The Bedlam in Goliath. In 2010 he spoke about weirdness and metaphor as a survival tool at the Fractal 10 conference in Medellin, Colombia (where fellow speakers included DJ Spooky, an MIT bio-engineer, and a doctor who explained the neurological aspirations of a sponge). Jeremy is at work on a host of new books. For more information:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By codexstatic on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have always felt that Jeremy Robert Johnson had the potential for more than he was showing. I didn't know what I'd get with this collection, especially as there was a five year wait between this and his last one. (Sometimes fiction writers just lose it after a hiatus.) I'll be honest and say that not all of the stories in here were for me, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. They're all very well-written, well thought out. The strength in this is that Johnson writes for all sorts of people. You will enjoy stories that I didn't get and vice versa.

My favorites were "The Oarsman," "When Susurrus Stirs," "Laws of Virulence" and "Persistence Hunting." Others may prefer the oddball bodybuilder story, "Trigger Variation." Or that throwback to Angel Dust Apocalypse, "Consumerism." But I have to say that "Persistence Hunting" is my favorite piece that Johnson has ever written. It's a rather unorthodox and clever crime story about small change B&E jobs, crazy infatuation and new beginnings. This story is so good, it almost outshines everything else in the collection, except . . . the director's cut. Yes, that's right. This collection of stories is packed with DVD-style bonus features. I'm not a fan of commentaries (Stephen King does that, and not always for the better), but I found Johnson's insights nostalgic and entertaining. The presentation of the book is beautiful. It's also a fine "bridging" point for fans of his old work and new, less "Bizarro" oriented readers to hop on and discover a good writer they might have overlooked before. Just resist the urge to cut out your guts in search of parasites.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason Wayne Allen on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I honestly feel intimidated, unsure if I can give Jeremy Robert Johnson's classic the amount of praise this collection of the best modern short stories in genre fiction written in years, and in my opinion only rivaled by Stephen King's Night Shift, the book deserves, but here goes...

We Live Inside You does not fire off blanks. Every story! Every. Single. Story is a jarring, shotgun-kick blast upon ending, echoes for days after the reader comes to a different revelation, and leaves the scent of cordite in the air...if I could think of more gun metaphors I would, as cliche' as it sounds, these stories explode! We Live Inside You is terrifying, and cross into realm of speculative fiction that should leave fans of the genre on the edge of their seats wondering what Mr. Johnson's going to say next. Much like Jack Ketchum, Jeremy Robert Johnson not only scares us and makes us think, but these stories are as equally emotionally involving. Like Chuck Palahniuk also, some of Johnson's characters are subversive and despicably criminal, but you have to know what happens to them. There are some bad people here but very interesting.

The storytelling is experimental--ever have an English Comp. instructor drill into your head not to narrate in the second person? I have. Anyway, the story Persistence Hunting is a smirk in the face of that teacher and anyone else who's opposed to the second person narrative. It can be executed without sounding rude, contrary to what some of us have been told, and apparently told brilliantly in a fast-paced, clipped noir tone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hazmat Frankenstein on January 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like bizzaro, I really do, but sometimes it just feels juvenile and empty. Not so with JRJ's We Live Inside You. This is bizarre on a more sophisticated scale, with tales that swing wildly at your heart and guts. The thing I like about JRJ, aside from his rich imagination, is his writing style. The man can write! But what I really like about this collection of stories how much of a buffet it really is when it comes to genres. There are tales here that go from Objectivist Satire (Consumerism,) Invasion Body Horror (When Susseruss Stirs), Neo-Noir (Persistence Hunting) Doomsday Sci-Fi (The Oarsman)... even long form jokes (The Brilliant Idea). Then you have something like Cortical Reorganization, which sounds like some hard sci-fi but in reality is a gut-wrenching piece of very short fiction. I think there's great talent in being able to illicit such responses in such limited space. And that's not to mention all the space in-between, and there's a lot of space to explore in this work. Having read this and Angel Dust Apocalypse, Jeremy Robert Johnson has become one of those people I'll pretty much take a chance on and pick up without a second thought. This was my first JRJ read and I'd recommend it as yours, also.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Lee Widener on January 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jeremy Robert Johnson's "We Live Inside You" blew me away. I don't know how else to say it. I have only read one other book by Mr. Johnson before this- "The Extinction Journals." I enjoyed that book very much, but this latest release finds Johnson at the very top of his craft. His writing has improved since the earlier book, and that's how it should be. His voice is more self-assured, his plots tight and focused, his passion so evident it's almost savage.

This is a collection of stories mostly written since 2005. The subject matter varies considerably. The first two tales are straight-up science fiction, and they led me to believe I knew what to expect from this book. The next two stories spun me around and told me to stop thinking I knew so much, as they veered into gritty present day territory that knocked me up side the head. They keep hitting me in the head, opening my eyes and mind to new attitudes, new ideas, until about a third of the way through, almost as if he just wanted to show he could, he gives us a fairly traditional ghost story- and that turns out to be my favorite story in the entire book.

There's violence here, there's savagery, but it's never gratuitous. It's all for the sake of the yarn. This is a master storyteller spinning his tales for us, entertaining, enlightening and educating us along the way. There's also tenderness. "States of Glass" brought me to tears- and it takes a lot to do that to this cynical old geezer. He even manages to set one story during World War Two, and tell the tale convincingly. He just keeps amazing me.

Johnson even presents us with the same story twice- first with the previously published version, and later with the "extended director's cut" - the story as he first wrote it, before he edited it down for publication.
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