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Vacation Paperback – April 10, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Vacation irresistably reminds the reader of Chuck Palahniuk's acerbic social commentary, but with less gore and more science fiction trappings. -- The Harrow, Vol. 10, #5 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

What People Are Saying About Vacation:
"I don't think there has been a more aptly titled book in recent memory than Jeremy Shipp's Vacation. This sprawling psychological pseudo-fantastical surrealistic mind-trip of an adventure story demands that you step out--far, far, far out--of your comfort zone, and embrace the possibilities of a universe that may be a dream, a nightmare, or just wishful thinking. Vacation is a headfirst dive into the rabbit hole, assuming those rabbits lined their burrow with mirrors, because as bizarre as this novel ultimately appears to be on the surface, there's very little here that we won't find in ourselves, assuming we're brave enough, and know how and where, to look. For now, we will have to content ourselves with author Shipp's efforts to do that very thing on our behalf." --Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Currency of Souls, The Turtle Boy, and The Hides --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press; 1St Edition edition (April 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933293411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933293417
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,040,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 60 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Withersin, and Shroud Magazine. Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage. He lives there with a couple of pygmy tigers and a legion of yard gnomes. The gnomes like him. The clowns living in his attic-not so much. His twitter handle is @JeremyCShipp.

Feel free to contact Jeremy via email at: chrismatrix(at)yahoo(dot)com

"Jeremy C. Shipp's boldness, daring, originality, and sheer smarts make him one of the most vital younger writers who have colonized horror literature in the past decade. Shipp's modernist clarity, plus his willingness to risk damn near everything, put him up at the head of the pack with the very best."
-Peter Straub

"Shipp's clear, insistent voice pulls you down into the rabbit hole and doesn't let go."
-Jack Ketchum

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The world has, since the inception - intentional or otherwise - of humankind, always been a dubious plane of existence. You'd be hard-pressed to find an author, poet, artist, musician, politician, holy man, or everyman who has never spoken out concerning the human condition, from the tiniest fib to the most horrific act of genocide. Newspaper columnists, Sunday preachers, eastern philosophers all dissect the meaning of life in their various fashions - but Jeremy Shipp's Vacation, a first-person tour de force that takes place in an alternate universe and / or future-in-the-making, actually takes the human condition and turns it inside out.

On the surface, Vacation is about a disgruntled English teacher named Bernard Johnson who goes on Vacation (yes, proper capitalization) with an ex-student, once-male, now-female friend and discovers the world is not what he initially thought it to be.

Okay. Simple enough premise - you see it all the time in various forms of literature (well, maybe without the sex change). Peel away that superficial layer, though, and you soon find yourself entangled in a labyrinth of spiritual testing and social commentary unflinchingly portrayed by Shipp's characters. In this world, society exists in two major flavors: the Tics and the Meeks, the former being the well-to-dos of the industrialized nations, the latter being the poor, the exiled. Using this metaphor, it quickly becomes obvious the Tics are our own pop culture, the pill-popping, credit-card-wielding, overfed, and over-stimulated masses who have been shielded from the terrible truths of the world in a sort of global propaganda scheme to bolster big business. The Meeks are, well, everyone else - a grassroots conglomerate of militants who have cleansed their bodies and minds of all social poisons.
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Format: Paperback
Jeremy Shipp takes the reader on a psychological head-trip through
the eyes of Bernard Johnson. A thirty-five year old intelligent
man with a wild, incredible imagination. Bernard is tormented
with his dreams, fantasies, and nightmares. The reader is taken
through the door of a magic carpet ride of adventure, but the ride
doesn't end there. The ride continues from the magic carpet of fantasy,
through the doors of the haunted house of fear. Each reader will be
taken through the same journey, but if they dare go a second round,
they may experience a completely different feeling than the first
ride. Vacation is a thought-provoking, surrealistic first time novel,
created into a dark fiction masterpiece. This adventure story through
the mind of Johnson is disturbing, provocative, and challenging.
Shipp covers every segment of human emotion to perfection, leaving
the curious reader in total darkness. Reading Vacation is like
watching one of Alfred Hitchcock's brain-teasing movies, where the
reader is left confused. This unpredicting story of one man's
journey is a powerful, bizzare, roller coaster ride into the human
psyche. Vacation demands the reader to begin this journey once again,
and for each reader that takes a second ride, Shipp's mission is
accomplished. His sole intention is to make sure the reader hasn't
missed anything. The reader is left with questions, not answers,
and is forced to solve this puzzle of mystery. Is Bernard Johnson
battling with depression? Does depression take over? The author
draws a fine line between fantasy and reality through the wandering
mind of Bernard Johnson, as he struggles out of his comfort zone.
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Format: Paperback
An author strives to transport his readers to another world; that of his imagination. Jeremy Shipp achieves that goal is this short novel. But it isn't an easy world he conveys.

His premise is simple. A jaded man--dissatisfied with his career, his lover, his life--goes on vacation in search of redemption. Shipp's writing style is stark and plain. In many ways his style reminds me of the English writer Magnus Mills.

Bernard Johnson, the son of an "Education Expert Extraordinaire, has gone from being a frustrated teacher to becoming an even more frustrated writer of lesson plans for other teachers. He's bored with every aspect of his life, including his hot girlfriend Hillary.

The only recourse is the vacation--though this is not what one usually envisions as a holiday. There are some similarities. Bernard does go to exotic locales, he does indulge in adventurous activities, he does change habits and attitudes as ordinary tourists do. But this is no ordinary excursion.

This vacation is no mere change of scenery. It is, in fact, a change of person. Shipp provides a stimulating venue with plenty of magic and metaphysics along the way.

Vacation is a surreal trip into a world you might not want to encounter. What goes on just beneath the surface will grasp your imagination and have this simplistic story haunting your mind for days after you've finished the book.
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Format: Paperback
If you could take a year-long Vacation, all-expenses paid, would you? Would you be afraid of the journey? Or would you be afraid of what you may find at the end?

Jeremy C. Shipp addresses these questions through Bernard Johnson, a man who lives in the shadow of many. His father, his girlfriend, the world. His life is spent trying to be what is expected, what is normal. He sometimes thinks of himself, but he has no idea how to express it, often out of fear of the all-consuming forces that surround him. So he decides to finally take his one and only Vacation, just to get away from his mundane life and see the world.

What follows is a journey of personal discovery and adventure that is equal parts surreal and too real. The fantastic elements are kept to a minimum, there to keep the story moving in favor of the human drama. The people he meets, the truths discovered, and the realizations made will change Bernard, and perhaps the reader too.

What Vacation offers is a little grain of truth, couched in fiction. What you thought you knew may not be what you will find here. Mr. Shipp, like one of his characters, leads you to the information. You, however, will have to find it.
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