King of the Worlds
This dark comedy explores the lost universes of disgraced idol Dylan Greenyears. Dylan had always wanted to live as many lives as he could--that was the appeal of being an actor. But at the end of a brief, bright stint as a Hollywood heartthrob, Dylan loses the lead in Titanic and exiles himself and his wife to a recently settled exoplanet called New Taiwan.
At first, life beyond Earth seems uncannily un-wondrous. Dylan teaches at an American prep school, raises a family with his high school sweetheart, and lives out his restlessness through literature. But then a box of old fan mail (and the hint of a galaxy-wide conspiracy) offers Dylan a chance to recapture the past. As he tries to balance this transdimensional midlife crisis against family life, Dylan encounters a cast of extraordinary characters: a supercomputer with aspirations of godhood, a Mormon-fundamentalist superfan, an old-school psychoanalyst, a sampling of his alternate selves, and, once again, the love of his lives.
King of the Worlds throws cosmology, technology, nineties pop culture, and religion into an existential blender for a mix that is by turns tragic and absurd, elegiac and filled with wonder.
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Since losing his fiancée some years ago, atheist biologist Sam Rogers has blazed a trail in immortality studies. He's learned an awful lot about life and death. But when he discovers a mysterious hole beneath his sofa one morning, he's forced to reckon with all that is unmasterable about the universe--and some of it has tentacles.
"A Google search reveals more than 87 million results equating love in some way to a black hole, but no one has taken the concept quite as far as fiction writer M. Thomas Gammarino has in his imaginative Kindle Single Jellyfish Dreams. One day, Sam Rogers drops his bookmark while reading, bends down to retrieve it, and finds a black hole under his couch. Sam tries to make sense of it, but the black hole, as you might imagine, is not forthcoming. As word slips out, and scientists and religious fanatics swarm to the hole, Sam finds himself fleeing to the memories of a lost love, and to a bizarre conclusion: he must bring her back from the dead. Gammarino, author of Big in Japan: A Ghost Story, has woven a wonderfully strange tale that conjures up both the weirdest works of Philip K. Dick and the timeless love story of Orpheus and Eurydice." --Benjamin Moebius
Big in Japan
While playing to lackluster crowds in their hometown of Philadelphia, progressive rock band Agenbite clings to the comforting half-truth that they're doing better in Japan. When their manager agrees to send them over on a shoestring tour, though, they're swiftly forced to give up their illusions and return stateside.
All but one of them, that is.
Brain Tedesco, the band's obsessive-compulsive nerve center, has fallen in love with a part-time sex worker - the first woman ever to have touched him - and his illusions have only just begun. What ensues is a gritty coming-of-age tale in which Brain, intent on achieving some kind of transcendence, paradoxically (or not so paradoxically) descends into the Hungry Ghost realm of Tokyo’s underworld. He becomes, in effect, a gaki - the insatiable creature of Buddhist cosmology - and must learn how to live even as his outsize desires threaten to engulf him.
By turns compassionate and ruthless, erotic and grotesque, riotously serious and deadly funny, Big in Japan is a sparking, gut-wrenching, face-melting debut novel.
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