And it’s been a long time coming!
In 1989, punk-rock girl “Golden” Dawn has crafted an outsider’s life combining the philosophies of Communism and Aleister Crowley’s black magic. One fateful day she finds the dead body of her mentor in both politics and magick shot in the head, seemingly a suicide. But Dawn knows there’s more going on than the Long Island cops could ever hope to uncover. In setting out to find the murderer herself, she will encounter dark and twisted truths for which no book, study, or basement show could have prepared her. Award-winning prose author Nick Mamatas crafts a raw, hilarious, original mystery!
From a review on NPR: CROWLEY MEETS CRIME
But where Mamatas especially shines is in the integrity of his themes. What seems at first to be a random patchwork coalesces into a grand, mad pattern — nothing less than the secret history of the modern world, one that feels far less absurd given the vicissitudes of history over the past 25 years. Dozens of concepts are tossed into the mix — Satanism, Trotskyism, Objectivism, Women’s Liberation, Glasnost — but they’re viewed through the cold, cruel eyes of Dawn, who treats the whole of 20th century thought as a corpse to be dissected.
Accordingly, Mamatas makes a Frankenstein’s monster out of the detritus of the modern age, a shambolic free-for-all of esoterica — from sex magic to the films of Maya Deren — that recalls the comics of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Some of the scenes even take place in a comic shop. But Love Is the Law never dips into cartoonishness, even when the going gets outlandish — up to and including basement concerts by a ritualistic, avant-garde band called Abyssal Eyeballs. (The band members don’t dress up as giant, unblinking orbs, and the name is explained as a Nietzsche reference, but the allusion to The Residents doesn’t feel like an accident.)
— Jason Heller
Audio! Mamatas, Son of Greek Gods, Speaks in Real Sound Waves About About His New Book!
I truly hope that this is the book that pushes Nick Mamatas through the infuriating roof that separates semi-obscure “cult writers” into the realm of popular recognition and success. He deserves it; he’s such a good writer.
In January of this year I was lucky enough to attend a reading of Nick’s. I asked him, Does Harlan Ellison know about you, does Harlan know about your work? I asked this because I believe Nick Mamatas is a “child” of Harlan Ellison, obviously influenced by him and possibly (probably) his successor. Nick seemed a little befuddled by my question; he didn’t need Harlan’s recognition. But that wasn’t the point of my question.
Nick Mamatas is easily, far and away, a better writer than Harlan Ellison.
Behold this excerpt from LOVE IS THE LAW:
Boris Yeltsin, a capitalist alcoholic, climbed one of the tanks and gave a stirring speech. Like magick, the troops change sides. The girls go wild, hooting and pumping their fists. They’re in fucking prison in capitalist America, and they still believe every stupid lie about freedom the television tells them. I give myself a gold star for my accurate forecast. Maybe later, when the CO turns the TV off for the night, they’ll go back to their gang formations and to their grand hobby of broomhandle sex to pass the time. That night, to the echo of someone’s orgasmic screaming, I look up in the ceiling and think about how useless it is to be correct sometimes. It’s so difficult to do the right thing, even when you can sense the spirit of the age, even when you believe you know where the waters of history will flow.
But then I think of my father’s face and realize that the red smear across the boiled bones of his skull was the last thing I was ever sure of.
Ladies, boys, and robots, LOVE IS THE LAW is available now.