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We Live Inside You Paperback – October 17, 2011
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From the Inside Flap
"What makes JRJ's work stand out from his contemporaries' isthe strange sense of empathy--in that regard he is not unlike David FosterWallace's wicked and perhaps deranged younger brother. Sometimes the horror is so understated that it's deadly. JRJ has the ability to balance sheer humanitywith 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, WELIVE INSIDE YOU is composed of nineteen perfectly-wrought nightmares, every oneof which will stay with you long after you've finished reading."--PETER CRAIG,author of Hot Plastic and Blood Father, co-screenwriter of TheTown
"The people populating these stories are real and vital andyou WILL care, deeply, about what becomes of them... and in JRJ's harshuniverse, baaaaad things happen. Often. Prepare thyself."--CRAIGDAVIDSON, author of Rust and Bone, The Fighter, and SarahCourt
"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 darkinterest in altered states of consciousness, the unrelentingly furious forwardmovement, and the same kind of unlimited imagination."--BEN LOORY, authorof Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
"Tongue-replacing isopods, brain-raping copepods andbody-warping worms are far from the most insidious parasites that infest JeremyRobert Johnson's hapless literary victims. Though the squirmy bits elegantlypioneer new frontiers of sickness, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is at its most twistedand mordantly revelatory when it drops the body-horror metaphors and digs intothe 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. Sotightly written and so fluidly brutal you'll want to consume this psychosexualdemolition derby in one sitting, but you'll spend the rest of the nightchecking yourself under a microscope."--CODY GOODFELLOW, author of SilentWeapons for Quiet Wars and Radiant Dawn/Ravenous Dusk
"Waaaay out at the deep end of the collectiveunconscious--where even the bravest of brain cells fear to tread--Jeremy RobertJohnson performs stand-up comedy for the gods. And their laughter is amarvelous, terrible thing. He's the kind of post-Lovecraftian geniusberserker who makes the Great Old Ones new again. As with Clive Barker,there is no glorious mutational eruption that Johnson can't nail directlythrough your gawping mind's eye."--JOHN SKIPP, NY Times Bestsellingauthor of Spore (w/Cody Goodfellow) and The Bridge (w/CraigSpector)
"WE LIVE INSIDE YOUcontinues to showcase the author's staggering ability to craft stories aspoignant as they are strange. The gamut of emotion conjured between the firstand last page provides a workout for practically every muscle in a reader'smind. In its most twisted moments, Johnson's writing is toogleeful to pigeon-hole as strictly horror, and when he steps outside thegross-out game he transcends most other straight literary writers."--VERBICIDE
"WE LIVE INSIDE YOU isa genre-bending mix of stories akin to a literary blitzkrieg and'Persistence Hunting' is one of the best noir stories you'll everread. Johnson can write horror, science fiction, crime, and Bizarro. Sometimes hedoes all of the above within the same story. He's at once brutal andelegant, innovative and an immediate classic, ridiculously talented andan 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 togive him this gift for nightmare imagery, but by god, this guy can write.Johnson excels at pathology and perversity. A confirmed weirdo and authenticwriter of uncommon emotional depth who deserves to be watched."--CEMETERYDANCE
"Johnson is probably a few books away from doing for horrorwhat 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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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. I'm not going to give too much away, but stories like Persistence Hunting, and also stories like Consumerism told from an eerie perspective that leaves you feeling kind of dirty and spine chilled--read it, you'll see what I mean-- This willingness to experiment breaks up the simple first and third person, good guys and bad guys archetype in storytelling, and throws a different kind of parasite into the waters of genre fiction.
This Kindle version comes with B-sides and rarities like a longer version of Persistence Hunting and more experimental and collaborative stories with legend Alan M. Clark.
As a writer I found myself rereading stories and passages to see how exactly Mr. Johnson had done some of this, and as a fan I found myself doing the same just cause this book is awesome!
Next on my reading list: Angel Dust Apocalypse and considering I haven't been disappointed with a Swallowdown Press title yet more from them too.
That said, I was steadily uneasy about getting through the whole collection. The general tone through out all the stories makes me squirm. And if I'm not squirming, I'm morbidly curious as to what's gonna happen next.
Jeremy Robert Johnson is a master at sinking you into his world and crafting passages tailor-made for clawing into your skin and finding a home in the back of your mind.
The strangest thing is: I'm fully aware of the level of absurdity and graphically over-the-top violence that he's going for in a lot of the more intense scenes. Like usual, I just assess and appreciate the passage for what it is, then move on with my day.
It was no different for this book, until I realized that DAYS after reading a story, I could not stop reliving those scenes in my mind. I was genuinely disturbed, and I couldn't stop going over it in my head like a nightmare that feels too real long after waking up.
JRJ writes with a keen sense and precise ability for the savage: beautifully captivating the nature of its sheer brutality. He makes me feel like a scared little kid relying on my hands to cover my eyes because I trust them to let me peek anyways.
Will I be buying his other works? Absolutely, but not without a nervous sense of paranoia. Yet, as uncomfortable as it made me, I'm equally dumbfounded by the reaction he was able to rise out of me, and that's wildly respectable. I hate that I hope he continues to wreck my peace of mind regularly.
Many of these stories are so fun, and over the top that you will without a doubt be re reading them shortly after your first go. Persistence Hunting and the Gravity of Benham Falls are my two favorites, having read them before in a sampler, and a few times now that they are housed in this book.
You may be asking, "what genre is it?!"
Weeeelll, this is my favorite part about JRJ, he seems to pack a multitude of genres into one book. Of course most of it is crime/thriller/horror, but the Alex Pardee cover artwork should be a dead giveaway for a outline of genre. Once you've started reading, you quickly realize Johnson knows short stories, he knows genres, and he knows how to captivate a reader in each form he writes from. This is much more than just some collection of horror stories with a gnarly cover.
There's even a little surprise in here for fans of good music. I can say with no shame that I had learned something very interesting by the end of this books that I felt disappointed I had not known already. Johnson turns to non fiction and documents the creepiest "behind the music" happening I've ever had the joy to discover. After finishing this book, I did something an author had never so easily convinced me to do, which was listen to an entire album promptly in isolation.
Looking back on WE LIVE INSIDE YOU, I can't help but marvel at how it feels Johnson has crammed more into a book this size than it is possible to. This book is packed to the brim.
If you are considering checking this out, I would strongly recommend grabbing EXTINCTION JOURNALS and ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE as well. Maybe even THE BEDLAM IN GOLIATH album he discusses in this book. You'll be a happy camper if you order it all at once.