“[Mamatas] is the People's Commissar of Awesome.”
—China Miéville, author of Embassytown
Welcome to the People's Republic of Everything—of course, you've been here for a long time already. Make yourself at home alongside a hitman who always tells the truth, no matter how reality has to twist itself to suit; electric matchstick girls who have teamed up with Friedrich Engels; a telepathic boy and his father's homemade nuclear bomb; a very bad date that births an unforgettable meme; and a dog who simply won't stop howling on social media.
The People's Republic of Everything features a decade's worth of crimes, fantasies, original fiction, and the author's preferred text of the acclaimed short novel Under My Roof.
The 15 stories in Mamatas's strong collection show impressive imaginative range, cutting across the boundaries of fantasy and science fiction and veering into territory that defies genre pigeonholing. In "Walking with a Ghost," H.P. Lovecraft is resurrected as an AI and suitably horrified at being (like a character in his fiction) a consciousness trapped in an unnatural form. "Arbeitskraft" follows a Marxist organizer in a steampunk 19th-century England whose efforts to rally a partly mechanized working class are repeatedly undermined by capitalist mendacity. In "A Howling Dog," an app for posts from community members turns into an internet echo chamber that morphs an urban legend into near-reality. Mamatas (I Am Providence) writes in a witty, sassy style that invigorates all of his narratives, from the social satire "Under My Roof," about a family that declares its household a sovereign nation armed with nuclear capabilities, to "The Phylactery," a poignant nonspeculative tale about familial and cultural identity. This collection highlights the work of a refreshingly versatile storyteller.