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Wave of Mutilation Paperback – October 4, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

  • The universe has a hole in it and reality is leaking out.  Who knew it would be this much fun?  Doug Lain's Wave of Mutilation is the story of Christian and Samantha; a story that generates itself as it devours itself.  Its characters and surreal scenes are rendered with an engaging style and seem to have truths to tell us about relationships, politics, sex, the history of furniture.  At the same time, they convince us they are insubstantial, errant, nothing but the illusion of the world.  Terrific writing, good laughs, and the flawless execution of a fictional tightrope walk between "reality" and nothing. Wonderfully original! -JEFFREY FORD, author of The Physiogonomy 

  • In Wave of Mutilation, you will find echoes and shadings of J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Tim Powers and Walker Percy (which is stepping in some high cotton).  Lain shares an obsessive fascination with the interface between technology and psychology, and has a keen eye for sharp juxtapositions (as in the contrast between eroticism and hygiene).  But what I admire especially is his grasp of the subtle and pervasive mood of paranoia and melancholy that haunts our digitalized era--an elusive sense of spiritual desolation complicated by the ghostly infestation of forces and presences we can never really understand.  An intellect and a questioner of literary forms, Lain is also a husbanding, fathering advocate for the Everyman in us all.  The result is curiously human and intimate--down to earth, even as the universe falls apart in our hands.-KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of Zanesville and Enigmatic Pilot

  • Wave of Mutilation is brilliant: a Barthesian examination of structure, a reverse Russian nesting doll of increasing surreality and emotion. To find oneself alternately pondering the metafictional importance of a Sesame Street book and choking back the tears induced by a surprisingly human drama is a testament to Lain's writing. I loved every sentence, every word. -J. DAVID OSBORNE, author of By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends.

  • Wave of Mutilation is about what everything means. It's what you get when the stuff in your head comes out to play -- the love of your life floating in a motel swimming pool, unreality leaking from the world, block parties of identity destruction, and interstitial spaces where you might spot Donald from Mathmagic Land motioning you into a strange place between now and a distant childhood that might not even be yours. Lain's writing is sharp and surprising. You'll have a good time. -RAY VUKCEVICH, author of Meet Me in the Moon Room

  • Go ahead, read WAVE OF MUTILATION-if you dare. Only, be warned: the space between fingers and page will vanish, text and meta-text sixty-nine, and (like the protagonists) you'll find yourself on both sides of your eyeballs. True, Douglas Lain examines the higher resonances of architecture and politics, the lawn chair, googie design, the Gore-Bush Florida vote count kafuffle, all linked, we discover, to a leakage of reality consequent to a nuclear accident, but this book is really an epistemological inquiry into the bases of everyday perception, a wacky yarn pushing at the borders of science fiction like acne, eczema, elephantiasis, or _anuttara samyak sambodhi._ It's a mutation, folks, another species of fiction. - ELLIOT FINTUSHEL, author of Breakfast with the Ones You Love

  • Wave of Mutilation is incredible. I loved it. A Proust-like intellectual obsessive-compulsive display. There is a historical moment, and a set of archetypal characters, that eternally recur in Lain's writings with Nietszchean regularity. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it's one of the things that sets Lain apart. Lain is a fantasy writer who has a dearly beloved fantasy world and who explores it in obsessive detail, but his fantasy world is his own mind. He's painting a hyperrealist portrait of the inside of his own head using concise language to make real all the stuff that usually feels uncomfortably amorphous. -MK HOBSON, author of  The Native Star

  • Wave of Mutilation is classic Douglas Lain, dancing about architecture on undercurrents of love, despair and politics. He yokes magic realism and science fiction in harness together to instantiate a trenchant cultural critique that is at once almost maddeningly oblique and a bellwether call to arms stretching from Florida to Oregon to the end of the world. Highly recommended for long-time Lain fans and first time readers alike. -JAY LAKE, author of Escapement

  • Douglas Lain's writing is as close as you'll ever get to throwing your brain into an industrial tumble-dryer. In Wave of Mutilation, he once again takes an unflinching look at all the things that most of us would rather hide from... and he does it so stylishly and in such an intriguing fashion that even though we might never be the same again, we rather want to thank him. -AM DELLAMONICA, author of Indigo Springs

  • Wave of Mutilation is poignantly recursive. Its metafiction disassembles ideas about readership and plot with familiar cultural simulacra and wormholed textual experimentation. A very welcome welcome break from the cult of linear narrative. -DARIN BRADLEY, author of Noise

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Fantastic Planet Books (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936383969
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936383962
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,757,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Douglas Lain's fiction has appeared in literary and genre magazines since 1999. His first short story collection, "Last Week's Apocalypse", was published by Night Shade Books in 2006, and his first novel, "Billy Moon", was published by Tor Books in 2013. His second novel, "After the Saucers Landed" is out from Night Shade Books and involves the anti-climax of alien contact, the Fluxus art movement, metafiction and the problem of identity.

Lain is also the publisher of Zero Books and occasionally writes on philosophy for the Partially Examined Life blog and Thought Catalog. He is also the voice behind the Zero Books podcast (Zero Squared) and was the host of the podcast Diet Soap from 2009 to 2014.

"I don't know anyone else doing quite what Lain is doing; fascinating work, moving, strikingly honest, powerful." (Locus)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Wu on November 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
This seems to be a very good time for science fiction. I was prompted to explore some of it partly on the strength of this novella, which hit me like a blow between the eyes and left me breathless and dizzy for a few days.

The writing is very smooth and controlled. I love clean, precise writing like this, especially when it involves a swimming pool and the promise of sensuality. This drew me in and took me swiftly to the end of the first chapter, where I received my first shock.

I won't tell you too much more about the plot. There's some science stuff and a little problem with a particle accelerator. Reality takes a bit of a knock. Strange things start to happen. There is some sex, lots of nudity, some cross-dressing and a birth of sorts. But it's all a little bit surreal.

Perhaps it's also a little bit old-fashioned. Think Dada and Derrida, Brecht and Barthes. You might get all kinds of dubious intellectuals latching onto this and confusing you with their philosophical babble about it.

The thing you've got to hang onto and not forget is that the book is short and really easy to read. It's also funny and light.

When dealing with elusive concepts, it's very important to keep your writing plain and concrete. This the author does with admirable consistency. The ending couldn't be clearer.

I'd never heard of Douglas Lain before and still don't know very much about him. He seems to be one of those cult science fiction writers who carves out his own niche and tries not to get noticed too much.

But it's probably wrong to call this a science fiction book. It's probably better categorised as literary philosophy.

But it's all just words, really. Read it for yourself and make up your own mind. Or don't. It's up to you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glenn on December 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good stuff here. I knew very quickly that this was not going to be one of the books sitting on my shelf with a bookmark 1/3 way thru it waiting to be revisited.

This was a trippy journey through a chaos magical dreamscape brilliantly seeded with Gen-X artifacts. Very reflective, enabling the reader to see what he needs to see. And changing depending on the perspective its viewed from.

As the subtle humor and love counterbalace and negate the violence of the mind bending sci-fi you're ultimately left with a really clever mediation on collapse. Collapse of identity, economy, or culture depending on which thread you tug on. I say tug on them all. Well done.
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Format: Paperback
Where to begin with this book? It's just so surreal that words fail to describe it. I'll try to give it a shot, though.

We meet Christian and his wife Samantha at a kitschy, old fashioned motel. She is swimming nude, and he is pondering the history of poolside recliners. By the way, his father accidentally created a hole in the fabric of reality with a particle collider. Unreality, meaning dreams and thoughts and ideas and such, is leaking out of the universe through this hole. The result is absolute madness.

For example, Samantha isn't even herself. She's capable of opening her chest and putting stuff inside of her for safe keeping. In one scene, she can't stop coughing up eggs. While swimming in the pool, her face opens up, and she sinks to the bottom of the pool.

Their neighbors have started cross-dressing and casually threatening each other with guns. They've torn down their houses so they can build a tunnel over the street in front of their property. And for some reason, Christian is able to speak to his dead father through a museum exhibit's sound system.

Yet that's just the surface of the story. Mostly, we get Christian's thoughts on reality, and it's really some good stuff. He considers motels as boundary markers, spaces framing the TV commercial that America is. He talks about how the kitschy nature of the world of the 'Fifties is the public response to technological advances of the day. Everything looks so futuristic because they were trying to create the science fiction dream in reality.

But things change when he brings up the Grover book. This is probably the oddest case of a work of fiction imitating another work of art. The crazy thing is, I remember owning this book when I was a kid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By shane on July 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have no idea how to write a book review, so I'll just say this: Doug Lain is a nice guy and an athlete. Read his book. I did.
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