Item description for Under My Roof (Soft Skull ShortLit) by Nick Mamatas...
Herbert Weinberg's father is striking a blow for freedom. Implanting a nuclear device within a garden gnome in the front yard of their Long Island home, he's declared independence from the U.S. The household is understandably is an uproar. Mother's gone, the local weatherman has moved in, and 12-year-old Herbert is simultaneously a hostage and the Minister of Information. A daring raid plucks the lad from his ancestral home, but even while troops surround the belligerent house-state of Weinbergia, the call to freedom has been sounded. The house is rapidly filling up with American refuseniks. Can the refrigerator hold out? And will Herbert's telepathic powers defeat imperialism and reunite him with his father? Based on Aristophanes's Archanians,Under My Roof is funny, ambitous novel.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.25" Width: 3" Height: 5" Weight: 0.35 lbs.
Release Date Feb 28, 2007
Publisher Soft Skull Press
ISBN 1933368438 ISBN13 9781933368436
Availability 0 units.
More About Nick Mamatas
Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels including Sensation and The Damned Highway (with Brian Keene). His short stories have appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, The New Haven Review, and the anthologies Lovecraft Unbound and Long Island Noir, among many other venues. With Ellen Datlow, he co-edited the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Haunted Legends. Nick's fiction and work as an editor and anthologist has been nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and four other Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in Berekley, California.
Nick Mamatas currently resides in Berkeley, in the state of California.
Reviews - What do customers think about Under My Roof (Soft Skull ShortLit)?
Coming of age/nuclear standoff Jan 21, 2008
Brilliant and biting. I loved this book. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I just loved the nuclear bomb in the garden gnome.
What else can you say about a book that combines nuclear bombs, free hotdogs, quickmart secessions and fame hungry journalists?
I can't describe the book without giving away too much of the plot or the deliciously funny situations that are in it. But I will say this, it hits close to home with the way the country has become so divided in the last eight years. This may poke fun, but at its center it shows the problems facing the U.S. in a light hearted but grimly honest way.
Fantastic Coming-of-Age Story Aug 4, 2007
Nick Mamatas writes horror, science-fiction, fantasy, humor, and political commentary, and is strong and assured in each. All are on display in this fine short novel, which is perfect for both teens and adults.
The Full Monty would've been so much better with a nuclear gnome. Apr 12, 2007
Nick Mamatas, Under My Roof (Soft Skull Press, 2007)
Nick Mamatas returns with his first young adult novel, Under My Roof. If you're used to Mamatas' rather acerbic wit, then you know what to expect (and why are you reading a review? You already know you want the book. Get it). If not, well, let me introduce you. Or, better yet, introduce yourself and don't bother reading a review; suffice to say Mamatas is one of the better young writers out there, and he has yet to release a book that doesn't lend solid evidence to that hypothesis. So just buy it already.
What, you're still here? Okay. It's pretty difficult to stick up a synopsis without giving away spoilers, so I'll just say there's Herbert, a psychic twelve-year-old kid, and his dad Daniel, who wants to secede from the United States, and thus hides a one-megaton nuclear device in a garden gnome, sticks it out on his front lawn, and declares his house and yard the Sovereign Kingdom of Weinbergia. As expected, panic erupts. As perhaps not expected, there's also a sudden and widespread surge of hope as hundreds of other separationists start popping out of the woodwork and seceding from the United States. (While I don't think it's ever explicitly stated for any of them but Weinbergia, it seems the tiny island nation of Palau is very interested in setting up trade relations with the lot of them.)
Yeah, yeah, political satire, blah blah blah. Everyone else has already remarked on all that. What I haven't seen is anything about the wonderful disjunction of having as your narrator a psychic prepubescent. Here's a kid who's pretty much guaranteed to be a walking advertisement for antipsychotics were he to really exist. Mamatas gives him the requisite (and plausible) mix of cynicism and naivete, sets it in motion, and sees where it will end up. The resulting voice is a mass of barely-controlled confusion that rings true-- or as true as a psychic prepubescent can, anyway. He's the perfect narrator for this tale, as his eyes are fresh, and mentally he's still twelve, but he's gained enough knowledge of the way things work from reading the minds of others to question the authority (and assume the stupidity) of those around him.
Mamatas has popped out three novels to date, and all three of them are winners. It doesn't matter with which you start, but Under My Roof probably has the widest all-around appeal, so you might as well start here. But, hey, why not buy all three, so when you're done devouring this one, you won't have to wait for the others to show up in your mailbox? ****
More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys Jan 31, 2007
This book is an absolute pip! It's easy, breezy, beautiful and wonderful, Wonderful, WONDERFUL! Damned if I can think of a better way to while away a few hours than by reading it.
12 year old Herbert Weinberg is at that lovely time in his life where he doesn't have a care in the world. Well except for having to deal with his own telepathy, his eccentric genius father building a nuclear bomb and declaring the homestead an independent state and the general adult conspiracy against children to raise them up as vaguely unhappy as themselves.
I got more chortles, snickers and outright belly-laughs out of this book than the average P.G. Wodehouse opus. It's like Mamatas has yanked Wodehouse's type of absurdist family farce right out of the Edwardian age and plunked it down in the 21st century where we need it the most. Unfortunately I understand a distributing snafu has delayed wide release of this little gem, but it's well worth the wait. Where else can you find peace treaties in hot dogs, nuclear bombs in garden gnomes and independent states in the back of Convenience Stores?
You owe it to yourself to pick this one up - Everyone wants to be happy, we're just conditioned to think that being vaguely unhappy is what being adult is all about.