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Any Day Now: A Novel Hardcover – March 1, 2012
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"An unsettling, funny, freaky reimagining of America, impeccably written, by one of our most consistently interesting transgressors of literary boundaries." — Michael Chabon
"He writes like a man who invented language . . . Treat yourself to this book." — Peter Coyote, author of Sleeping Where I Fall
"Someone once said everybody has a book inside them, but it takes a writer to get it out. The truth is, not many writers ever even manage it like this. Bisson just wrote his personal masterpiece, a book which will drop you through the floor of your assumptions about coming of age inside the politics and counterculture of the Vietnam era and into a fresh new-old world, in which you'll live, for the duration of this book, as your own." — Jonathan Lethem
"The author, a writer of (probably under-appreciated) sf and fantasy novels, here deftly resurrects Sixties America. As history is gradually subverted and chronology reshuffled, the reader is slightly jarred and then fascinated by the dramatic world presented. Highly recommended for its literary quality and creativity of vision." — Library Journal
"In this unsettling but always interesting alternate-history novel, which offers much subversive commentary on contemporary society, Bisson's jazz-like prose summons a utopia whose adherents seek personal freedom only to find that their basic civil liberties can vanish in an instant." — Booklist
"Bisson plays off the shared imagery of the bohemian underground, and the story has a thrumming momentum, a sense of slangy sass and jive, light-hearted yet soulful." — Washington Post
"Bisson's novel is less an alternate history than a kind of shadow history, explored in a way that only SF can explore it. On his website, Bisson modestly says the novel is 'not exactly science fiction; and not exactly not.' In fact, it's both – and neither aspect would be nearly as compelling without the other. What it is, I think it's fair to say, is the major work of one of our most talented and under-appreciated writers, in or out of the SF fold." — Locus Magazine
"Terry Bisson's new novel, Any Day Now, a blend of coming-of-age tropes and alternate history, sweeps us through the turbulent '60s and imagines a 1968 that both RFK and MLK survived. Bisson uses short scenes with minimal exposition and snappy dialogue. This leads to some crystallizing moments . . . It also lets Bisson capture the spirit of the times in single strokes." — The Rumpus
"Any Day Now is a fascinating examination of the struggle for self-definition and idealism against both the machinations of authority and the whimsical and cruel vagaries of fate. Clay's journey introduces him to plenty of iconic figures of the time, and even as Bisson deftly shifts history, these now-mythical figures cast as long a shadow as ever. That marvelous juxtaposition of how brutal the quest for peace can be is thoroughly enthralling, creating a truly unique reading experience." — Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review
About the Author
Terry Bisson is a Hugo and Nebula award writer. He has published seven novels and his short fiction has appeared in Playboy and Harper's magazine, among others. He previously worked as an auto mechanic and as a magazine and book editor. Bisson lives in Oakland, California.
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Top Customer Reviews
The novel is very well written, and Bisson is very good at creating atmosphere with an economy of words. However, unless a sequel is planned, the reader is left to ponder how it all will eventually work. Is this the foundation for the Robert Heinlein novel " Friday ", in which North America has long been Balkanized? Will the successor states wage wars to enlarge their territory? And, what will happen to personal freedom, in the various breakaway sections? The story ends well before the reader can see the end game, whatever it may finally turn out to be. The set-up turns out to be the entire story.
The novel is worth reading for the observations and characters alone, and Bisson's eye for detail is often as impressive as his ear for dialogue -- but the realism of the novel's evocation of a vanished age isn't, as it turns out, its only point. There's a second game afoot. Though the book begins as a straightforward historical novel, it soon shades, sneakily, into alternate history; it's done so much on the sly and in the background, cleverly, that readers won't notice it happening right away, but the world of the novel slowly diverges from our own history, heading another direction entirely. It's hard to say much more than this without badly spoiling the experience of reading the book for the first time; suffice it to say the novel is clearly meant as an act of political imagination, a complicated exploration of what might have been, neither entirely utopian nor dystopian (though, amusingly, some reviewers have called it each). The America of the late Sixties that Bisson brings us here is not a place that anyone truly lived in then, but it is nonetheless where many people's imaginations lived, a realistic evocation of the future people in the Sixties imagined for themselves -- a time of revolutionary possibility, militaristic danger, terrifying instability, and deep familiarity all at once.
The book's greatest feat is to evoke that instability, hope, and fear so well: it's set, by the end, in a world where no one can quite tell whether they should be planning for a quiet year of smoking weed in the mountains, or a full-scale civil war. This book is well worth reading as a historical novel, too -- but it's a document of the *imagined* history of the Sixties as well as a realistic evocation of a lot of what Sixties life was about. I hope it will find a wide audience, outside of the SF readership as well as within it.
Peter Coyote, author, "Sleeping Where I Fall."