It somehow escaped my notice that old acquaintance Norman Spinrad finally saw his novel HE WALKED AMONG US published recently, by Tor. Norman’s seminal BUG JACK BARRON was an obvious touchstone for my TRANSMETROPOLITAN. I had the great pleasure of reading HE WALKED AMONG US in manuscript form many years ago. (And, as perks of the job go, the author of BUG JACK BARRON asking you if you’d like to read the ms of his new novel is pretty good.)
What I said about it back then was:
"Norman Spinrad is one of the most extraordinary writers alive, and HE WALKED AMONG US is testament: mad, razored, darkly funny and perfectly evil."
And I’m sticking to that.
When hack agent Jimmy “Tex” Balaban discovers Ralf on a Borscht Belt stage, his act appears to be a clever joke. Ralf claims to be from the future, shouting foul-mouthed prophecies of where we went wrong. And he delivers a harrowing message.
The world is in chaos. Our biosphere has been devastated, our air is unbreathable and the final stalwarts of mankind have taken refuge in pressurized shopping malls. Humanity clings to the last mediocre vestiges of life on a dead planet that we did not know how to save. But it might not be too late. Has Ralf returned to the past to awaken our consciences? Is he who he says he is or is he insane? And if we have one last chance to save the world, does any of this matter?
Then Dexter D. Lampkin, a fading science fiction writer, and Amanda Robin, a New Age guru-wannabe, magnificently transform Ralf into what the world really needs: a messenger sent from the future to save us from ourselves. Together with Tex they polish Ralf’s television persona to captivate America. The problem is that Ralf never goes out of character. He truly believes he is a prophet.
It’s lost none of its venom, its targets are still ripe for poisoning — if anything, the book has become more relevant since its completion. And if you’re not convinced? Read it for free!
Amazon.com: purchase page with a preview. The Publishers Weekly review quoted therein is retarded.
Amazon.co.uk: there are six copies going cheap right now.
Amazon.ca: have some left.
Or, if you’re in America and would like to support an indie, Mysterious Galaxy very kindly hosted a signing for me once, so I know they’re nice people, and they have copies too.
I got email from Norman a little while back, telling me that he has cancer. But also that, since the chemo started, he feels better than he has in years, and is even physically stronger. That’s Norman all over, really, and no less than you’d expect from the man who once wrote a story called "Carcinoma Angels."