The Speed Chronicles
Following the international success of the Noir Series, this volumes marks the launch of a new drug-based sister series.
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. Featuring brand-new stories by: 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.
- Pub Date
- Akashic Books
“Akashic launches a new series of crime anthologies, each focused on a different controlled substance, with this addictive volume.” —Publishers Weekly
“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 Speed Chronicles represents a surprising range of experiences. The promise of the collection is that it will neither vilify nor romanticize its subject matter.” —The Portland Mercury
“The contributors to The Speed Chronicles amply demonstrate the paradox of life under the influence of chemically induced acceleration. At the best moments, the use of stimulants can celebrate the beauty and intensity of human experience. As some of these stories reveal, despite the mainstream cultural narrative of ‘tweakers’ as amoral zombies, the persistent will to live in the face of adversity and affliction is a hallmark of many addicts’ lives.” —The Rumpus
“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!” —James Ellroy
About the author
Joseph Mattson is the author of the story collection Eat Hell and the novel Empty the Sun (A Barnacle Book), which was a finalist for the 2010 SCIBA Fiction Award.