What if the apocalypse already happened and you just didn’t notice? That’s one of the central questions of Silverfish, a novel that details a slice of life in the Incorporated States of America: a country much like our own, but one in which the corporatization of culture is so total and complete, so deeply ingrained so long ago that no one can remember an alternative. And in this America, citizens are “born to fail” – mainly because they lack the language and cognitive skills by which to identify their condition. That’s the premise of this experimental novel, a dark Borgesian romp into the labyrinthine depths of language.
Silverfish is a syncretic tour-de-force that recombines elements of Afrofuturism, sci-fi, and wartime fiction with linguistic and literary theories to issue a dire warning about what happens when we choose to pretend our past never happened, thereby ensuring that we stumble blindly into a future we’ve already lived. Part prophecy, part literary collage, and part social justice remix, it’s a wholly immersive, intertextual sojourn. More than just a damning indictment of our contemporary moment, Silverfish is fiction written both for and after the end of history.
“Silverfish has left me with big feelings that I need to sit with and explore. It has also left me with big questions that don’t necessarily have answers, but requires an intense process of thought and being, in order to come close to some answers. You’re in for a treat, Reader/Elegba/Hermes/Alternate Being.”
-Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat and water & power
“Part incantation, revelation, and elegy, Rone Shavers’ Silverfish offers a surprising New World, Du Boisian source code. Reminiscent of Percival, Harryette, Ishamel, and Ralph Ellison himself, this is an experimental novel you must read.”
-Sheree Renée Thomas, Nine Bar Blues & the World Fantasy Award-winning anthologies, Dark Matter