A Series of Fortunate Events
by James Greer
To the right of this post you will notice a list of upcoming dates, times and places at which I will be appearing along with some much more talented people. The occasion is the publication of an anthology of stories called The Speed Chronicles, edited by Joseph Mattson, and published by Akashic Books. My contribution is a story called “The Speed of Things,” and is not about the drug speed, unlike almost every one of the other stories.
The book is part of a companion series to Akashic’s wildly successful Noir series. In conjunction with The Speed Chronicles, Akashic has also revised, expanded and republished The Cocaine Chronicles. Some of those guys and gals will be joining us on a few stops of our brief West Coast tour as well.
The Speed Chronicles features brand new stories from: Sherman Alexie, William T. Vollmann, James Franco, Megan Abbott, Jerry Stahl, Beth Lisick, Jess Walter, Scott Phillips, James Greer, Tao Lin, Joseph Mattson, Natalie Diaz, Kenji Jasper, and Rose Bunch.
If you live in one of the places listed on the right, and happen to be free on the evening in question, we would love to see you. No, really. It would be absolutely our pleasure. I mean that. Sincerely.
Here’s some propaganda:
“Akashic launches a new series of crime anthologies, each focused on a different controlled substance, with this addictive volume.”
“All told, The Speed Chronicles deserves great praise for the audacity of the topic, the depth of the discussion, the diversity of its voices, and plain, old, good storytelling.”
–New York Journal of Books
“The perfect stocking stuffer for your uncle in AA.”
–New York Observer
“Just reading the table of contents for this fucker makes me want to hop in my time machine, zoom back to 1966, and find those two dubious physicians who used to write me scripts for Dexedrine, even though I was too tall and skinny to live already. Mainline this book now!”
And some further explication of the books subject/contents:
SPEED: THE MOST DEMONIZED–and misunderstood–drug in the land. Deprived of the ingrained romantic mysticism of the opiate or the cosmopolitan chic of cocaine or the mundane tolerance of marijuana, there is no sympathy for this devil. Yet speed–crystal meth, amphetamines, Dexedrine, Benzedrine, Adderall; crank, spizz, chickenscratch, oblivious marching powder, the go-fast–is the most American of drugs: twice the productivity at half the cost, and equal opportunity for all. It feels so good and hurts so bad. From its dueling roots of pharmaceutical miracle cure and Californian biker-gang scourge to contemporary Ivy League campuses and high school chem labs, punk rock clubs to the military-industrial complex, suburban households to tin-can ghettos, it crosses all ethnicities, genders, and geographies–from immigrants and heartlanders punching double factory shifts to clandestine border warlords, doctors to bomber pilots, prostitutes to housewives, T-girls to teenagers, Academy Award-nominated actors and the mansion on the hill to the poorest Indian on the rez–making it not only the most essentially American narcotic, but the most deceivingly sundry literary matter.
THE SUBJECT OF SPEED IS SO INNATELY INTIMIDATING yet so undeniably present that it begs to be written about. It is no secret that the drug has historically tuned up the lives of writers, including Jack Kerouac, Susan Sontag, Philip K. Dick, and scores more. Too rarely, though, has it been written about, and its jolt to the bones of the American landscape continues to peak. Akashic Books dares to bring forth the first contemporary collection of all new literary short fiction on the drug from an array of today’s most compelling and respected authors. These are no stereotypical tales of tweakers–the element of crime and the bleary-eyed, shaky zombies at dawn are here right alongside heart-wrenching narratives of everyday people, good intentions gone terribly awry, the skewed American Dream going up in flames, and even some accounts of pure joy.