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Bullettime Paperback – August 15, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels including Sensation and The Damned Highway (with Brian Keene). His short stories have appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, The New Haven Review, and the anthologies Lovecraft Unbound and Long Island Noir, among many other venues. With Ellen Datlow, he co-edited the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Haunted Legends. Nick's fiction and work as an editor and anthologist has been nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and four other Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in Berekley, California.

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: ChiZine Publications (August 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781926851716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1926851716
  • ASIN: 1926851714
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,744,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In BULLETTIME, as in Sensation (Spectacular Fiction), Mamatas explores the notion of human agency through an unusual, detached, fallible, inhuman but all-too-human narrator. In SENSATION, that narrator is a collective arachnid consciousness that observes the course of human events while waging a war against their enemies, a species of predatory wasps. In BULLETTIME, protagonist David Holbrook narrates the story of his own life--indeed, all of his possible lives--from within the Ylem, a place beyond reality, trapped there by Eris, goddess of discord.

Most of David's lives center around his having been a bullied teen in a rough New Jersey high school, where he is beaten up and mocked by day, and must, at night, deal with his awful father and alcoholic mother. He survives the madness by guzzling cough syrup and not caring about much. The various Davids within the novel snap or don't snap, sometimes prompted by Eris (who torments David while manifesting as "Erin," just another student at David's school ... albeit a wild, teasing, instigating student), sometimes by ineffective authority figures who fail in myriad ways to make David's terrible life any better. All these realities end up with David dying before the age of 41.

The book is a breathless, dizzying read, at points funny, emotional, poignant, sexy and un-sexy, tense, awful, and queasy-making, but mostly very very sad. It feels simultaneously up-to-the-minute and dated, which lends the narrative a timeless quality. Both main characters, David and Erin/Eris, are fascinating to watch, even though at no point can the reader possibly believe their relationship will end in anything other than mayhem and horror. Reading BULLETTIME feels like receiving CPR while you're conscious. It's 100% worth picking up.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
BULLETTIME is narrated by Dave Holbrook, outside of time in the Ylem, watching Dave Holbrook the teenage boy as he traverses the multiple paths Dave's life might take -- all of them miserable and leading to an early death.

He's a scrawny kid, with messed-up parents, constantly picked on at school. He copes (sort of) by downing lots of cough medicine. He seems likely to bumble his way sadly through high school until he meets Erin, a beautiful girl who finds him very interesting. Except she's actually Eris, the goddess of discord, and the reason she finds him interesting is because of the mayhem he may cause. We all know the most dramatic way a picked-on teenage boy can act out, and Erin is relentless in manipulating Dave toward a violent breakdown.

Honestly, Dave is kind of annoying, but his situation is so painful and hopeless that you can't help but feel sorry for him, especially since he doesn't really feel sorry for himself. This is just the way the world works. He doesn't have any way out. Everything he tries, in all his alternate lives, still leads to one kind of misery or another.

Even though we know the ending(s) almost immediately, the story is compelling, because obviously Ylem-Narrator-Dave is looking for something as he watches himself. He's trying to find some sort of meaning or resolution along the infinite paths. He does find something, at the end.

I was a little concerned that this book would be too brutal, or too gory, or too depressing, but it's not. It's very matter-of-fact about a difficult life, with a lot of sympathetic insight, dark humor, and the faintest hint of hope.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nick Mamatas' brutal and brilliant new novel BULLETTIME should be shelved in every High School library in America. It won't, which is a pity. Though not intended or marketed as YA, one can all too easily imagine the ruckus this little book would ignite among librarians and administrators, as it contains many core elements usually found in YA novels, only ramped up to a level of nightmare that is very real and painfully familiar to angst-ridden teens: David Holbrook is ignored by self-pitying, ill-equipped parents who allow him to be bullied at school, and worse. David copes by slugging down buckets of cough syrup, enduring his daily beatings and humiliations in a sluggish dextromethorphan haze, and it is during one of these trippy, unhappy mornings when he meets Erin / Eris, a new girl / old Goddess who both dazzles and offers new torment to our luckless (and doomed) teenaged protagonist. The reader learns in short order that David truly * is * doomed, for via the all-encompassing scope of the Ylem, "the canvas places are painted on," David is able to "live every decision and detail of an infinite number of me," zipping back and forth from first to third-person narrative, zooming-in then back out on all the possible trajectories and conclusions of his life--all of them bad. While Mamatas gleefully delivers scenes of unrelenting teenage hilarity and horror, the book is at times a sober meditation on the nature of predestination and possibility, and though often cruel, it is a book not entirely devoid of hope. Some early reviewers complained that the supporting characters were superficial and one-dimensional; I found this not to be the case.Read more ›
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