OVERRIDE

Liberation

Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America

Tor Books

From the author of the literary pulp phenomenon Spaceman Blues comes a future history cautionary tale, a heist movie in the style of a hippie novel.

 

Liberation is a speculation on life in near-future America after the country suffers an economic cataclysm that leads to the resurgence of ghosts of its past such as the human slave trade. Our heroes are the Slick Six, a group of international criminals who set out to alleviate the worst of these conditions and put America on the road to recovery. Liberation is a story about living down the past, personally and nationally; about being able to laugh at the punch line to the long, dark joke of American history.

 

Slattery’s prose moves seamlessly between present and past, action and memory. With Liberation, he celebrates the resilience and ingenuity of the American spirit.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

A PRISON SHIP; the resurgence of slavery; life after economic collapse.

The former American prison ship Rosalita has been at sea for six years, and wears its history on its skin. The hull is weak with patches and dents, long streaks of rust that eat the ship's name off the metal; near the prow is a wide, eye- shaped wrinkle from collision, some of the inmates say, with another ship, a derelict clipper. No. A dead mine from World War I. No. The jutting mast of a sunken galleon hanging off a spur of rock at the edge of an abyss, filled with the corpses of slaves, rum and

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REVIEWS

Praise for Liberation

“Brian Francis Slattery's dystopian second novel, Liberation has many brilliant ideas, but its depiction of a 21st century revival of slavery is really what burns it into your memory…. it's a book that rewards attention, and you'll find yourself flipping back after you finish it to find the best parts of its off-kilter odyssey and piece together new connections between its huge and memorable cast of characters. It's also a book that gets even better on the second read, as you pick up on stuff and make more of the connections between the characters. Most of all, the book's vision of a post-U.S.A. America will stick with you afterwards, haunting you and maybe thrilling you.” —io9

Praise for Spaceman Blues:

“A 21st-century New York City novel….with a remarkably light touch and some delicious prose…. Early reviews of Spaceman Blues threw around the names of Pynchon, Doctorow, and Dick as stylistic touchstones. But Slattery should really be considered alongside NYC homeboys like Lethem and Shteyngart, the former for his loving tweaks of vintage pulp, the latter for his sharp immigrant comedy.” —Will Hermes, The Village Voice

“The book is a marvel: funny, weird, touching, a joy to read not just for its music and its imagination, but for the generous and intelligent view of life that it offers…. A singular book, offering its own riffs on the joys and pains of life and its own rifts across the surface of our shared delusions and commingled dreams.” —Matthew Cheney, Las Vegas Weekly

“For fans of: the surreal odyssey of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; Plan 9 from Outer Space.… For all its colorful characters and gonzo thrills, Slattery’s debut is first and foremost a moving portrait of Wendell’s griefs.” —Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A-)

“Slattery’s debut is a kaleidoscopic celebration of the immigrant experience. Pynchon crossed with Steinbeck, painted by Dalí: impossible to summarize, swinging from the surreal to the hyper-real, a brilliantly handled, tumultuous yarn.” —Kirkus Reviews

“One of the most original novels of the year…. The end of the world was never so fun.” —Ain't It Cool News

“The flaming exclamation point that begins every subsection of each chapter is one of the first signs of the intensity and passion that pervades Brian Francis Slattery’s debut novel Spaceman Blues....perhaps best summed up as a love song for New York City and for life, with the volume turned up six notches higher than usual.” —Rain Taxi Review of Books

“The book jacket describes Spaceman Blues as a ‘literary retro-pulp science-fiction-mystery-superhero novel,’ and it not only lives up to the hype, but may include a genre or two more besides…. The book weaves a mixture of gritty war elements with hardboiled Hammett-like detective mystery, poetic romance reminiscent of Isabel Allende, and science fiction that brings Stanislaw Lem to mind—into something that seems fresh and compelling.” —School Library Journal

Spaceman Blues is a welcome Band-Aid for those still mourning the loss of Kurt Vonnegut and his uniquely wacky, satirical brand of sci-fi. There’s also a touch of Paul Auster’s flair for genre blending and New York mythologizing.... A strange and whimsical mash note to the city, Slattery’s apocalyptome proves that this newcomer is as thoughtful and irreverent as doomsayers come.” —Time Out New York

“What a breathless, mad tornado of words! When it shakes itself awake the earth trembles and the helpless reader is dragged gladly into its light. I haven’t had this much fun with a book in years.” —Harlan Ellison®

“With prose that effortlessly glides from one surrealist scene to another, Brian Slattery proves to be not only a visionary of the absurd, but also a genuinely talented postmodern voice.” —Michael Hearst of the band One Ring Zero (As Smart As We Are)

“It happens only very rarely—you read a book by a new author, and all you can say is ‘wow.’ That was the case with Spaceman Blues: ‘Wow.’ To say anything more would mean the inevitable descent into cheap clichés—‘hooked by the first paragraph,’ ‘dizzying,’ ‘a visionary roller-coaster ride,’ ‘reminiscent, if anything, of Thomas Pynchon in its scope, its explosive imagination, the swirling, jazzy flow of the prose.’ So much can and should be said about Mr. Slattery's debut—but I think I’ll just stick with a simple ‘wow’—or if you prefer a visual summation, try an exclamation point on fire.” —Jim Knipfel, author of Slackjaw

 “Brian Slattery’s Spaceman Blues is brilliant. It’s got the edgy paranoia and secret reality plotting of the best of Phil Dick, wrapped inside a contemporary stylistic sensibility that stands proudly against Miéville or Doctorow, with a heavy leavening of Nueva York emigre culture to give the work a distinctly American voice—the brawling, postmillennial, multicultural America of twenty-first century New York. This is the transmogrification of Phillip Roth’s New York by way of The Matrix and a double handful of wild-ass street drugs into something all too recognizable.” —Jay Lake, author of Mainspring

“An extraordinary story that hovers between, beneath, above, but never in a familiar territory. But it hovers on thin margins—so much is recognizable, and yet… The thick reality of the informal economy as science fiction is one image that comes to mind. The specificity of this unsettlement becomes a way of seeing what you can otherwise not see.” —Saskia Sassen, author of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages

Spaceman Blues is a strange new creature: apocalyptic SF with the stylistic pyrotechnics of a beat poet on speed. There is nothing else out there like it, a vaulting, twisted song of decadent and desperate parties, grief and superheroes, sex and memory, and almost incidentally, the end of the world. This book leaves a glowing handprint on the mind which will not soon fade.” —Catherynne M. Valente, author of The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden

Spaceman Blues is a brave, kinetic novel—a heady, original mixture of the surreal and the postmodern. It never stops moving and it never lets up. A spectacular new voice.” —Jeff VanderMeer, World Fantasy Award-winning author of City of Saints and Madmen

“Brian Francis Slattery's dystopian second novel, Liberation has many brilliant ideas, but its depiction of a 21st century revival of slavery is really what burns it into your memory…. it's a book that rewards attention, and you'll find yourself flipping back after you finish it to find the best parts of its off-kilter odyssey and piece together new connections between its huge and memorable cast of characters. It's also a book that gets even better on the second read, as you pick up on stuff and make more of the connections between the characters. Most of all, the book's vision of a post-U.S.A. America will stick with you afterwards, haunting you and maybe thrilling you.” —io9

Praise for Spaceman Blues:

“A 21st-century New York City novel….with a remarkably light touch and some delicious prose…. Early reviews of Spaceman Blues threw around the names of Pynchon, Doctorow, and Dick as stylistic touchstones. But Slattery should really be considered alongside NYC homeboys like Lethem and Shteyngart, the former for his loving tweaks of vintage pulp, the latter for his sharp immigrant comedy.” —Will Hermes, The Village Voice

“The book is a marvel: funny, weird, touching, a joy to read not just for its music and its imagination, but for the generous and intelligent view of life that it offers…. A singular book, offering its own riffs on the joys and pains of life and its own rifts across the surface of our shared delusions and commingled dreams.” —Matthew Cheney, Las Vegas Weekly

“For fans of: the surreal odyssey of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; Plan 9 from Outer Space.… For all its colorful characters and gonzo thrills, Slattery’s debut is first and foremost a moving portrait of Wendell’s griefs.” —Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A-)

“Slattery’s debut is a kaleidoscopic celebration of the immigrant experience. Pynchon crossed with Steinbeck, painted by Dalí: impossible to summarize, swinging from the surreal to the hyper-real, a brilliantly handled, tumultuous yarn.” —Kirkus Reviews

“One of the most original novels of the year…. The end of the world was never so fun.” —Ain't It Cool News

“The flaming exclamation point that begins every subsection of each chapter is one of the first signs of the intensity and passion that pervades Brian Francis Slattery’s debut novel Spaceman Blues....perhaps best summed up as a love song for New York City and for life, with the volume turned up six notches higher than usual.” —Rain Taxi Review of Books

“The book jacket describes Spaceman Blues as a ‘literary retro-pulp science-fiction-mystery-superhero novel,’ and it not only lives up to the hype, but may include a genre or two more besides…. The book weaves a mixture of gritty war elements with hardboiled Hammett-like detective mystery, poetic romance reminiscent of Isabel Allende, and science fiction that brings Stanislaw Lem to mind—into something that seems fresh and compelling.” —School Library Journal

Spaceman Blues is a welcome Band-Aid for those still mourning the loss of Kurt Vonnegut and his uniquely wacky, satirical brand of sci-fi. There’s also a touch of Paul Auster’s flair for genre blending and New York mythologizing.... A strange and whimsical mash note to the city, Slattery’s apocalyptome proves that this newcomer is as thoughtful and irreverent as doomsayers come.” —Time Out New York

“What a breathless, mad tornado of words! When it shakes itself awake the earth trembles and the helpless reader is dragged gladly into its light. I haven’t had this much fun with a book in years.” —Harlan Ellison®

“With prose that effortlessly glides from one surrealist scene to another, Brian Slattery proves to be not only a visionary of the absurd, but also a genuinely talented postmodern voice.” —Michael Hearst of the band One Ring Zero (As Smart As We Are)

“It happens only very rarely—you read a book by a new author, and all you can say is ‘wow.’ That was the case with Spaceman Blues: ‘Wow.’ To say anything more would mean the inevitable descent into cheap clichés—‘hooked by the first paragraph,’ ‘dizzying,’ ‘a visionary roller-coaster ride,’ ‘reminiscent, if anything, of Thomas Pynchon in its scope, its explosive imagination, the swirling, jazzy flow of the prose.’ So much can and should be said about Mr. Slattery's debut—but I think I’ll just stick with a simple ‘wow’—or if you prefer a visual summation, try an exclamation point on fire.” —Jim Knipfel, author of Slackjaw

 “Brian Slattery’s Spaceman Blues is brilliant. It’s got the edgy paranoia and secret reality plotting of the best of Phil Dick, wrapped inside a contemporary stylistic sensibility that stands proudly against Miéville or Doctorow, with a heavy leavening of Nueva York emigre culture to give the work a distinctly American voice—the brawling, postmillennial, multicultural America of twenty-first century New York. This is the transmogrification of Phillip Roth’s New York by way of The Matrix and a double handful of wild-ass street drugs into something all too recognizable.” —Jay Lake, author of Mainspring

“An extraordinary story that hovers between, beneath, above, but never in a familiar territory. But it hovers on thin margins—so much is recognizable, and yet… The thick reality of the informal economy as science fiction is one image that comes to mind. The specificity of this unsettlement becomes a way of seeing what you can otherwise not see.” —Saskia Sassen, author of Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages

Spaceman Blues is a strange new creature: apocalyptic SF with the stylistic pyrotechnics of a beat poet on speed. There is nothing else out there like it, a vaulting, twisted song of decadent and desperate parties, grief and superheroes, sex and memory, and almost incidentally, the end of the world. This book leaves a glowing handprint on the mind which will not soon fade.” —Catherynne M. Valente, author of The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden

Spaceman Blues is a brave, kinetic novel—a heady, original mixture of the surreal and the postmodern. It never stops moving and it never lets up. A spectacular new voice.” —Jeff VanderMeer, World Fantasy Award-winning author of City of Saints and Madmen

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Brian Francis Slattery edits public-policy publications dealing mostly with economics and economic issues; he is also an editor of the New Haven Review, a literary journal. When not editing, he plays the fiddle and banjo. He also writes occasional nonfiction pieces about public policy and the arts, mostly for his local alternative weekly. He is the author of one previous novel, Spaceman Blues, and lives just outside of New Haven, Connecticut with his family.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Liberation

Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Tor Books

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