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Amnesia Moon

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  2,535 ratings  ·  210 reviews
A funny post-apocalyptic road noir tale of Chaos, who lives in an abandoned projection booth at the Multiplex in Hatfork, Wyoming, and his journey to find the truth at the heart of his own American nightmare.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 2nd 2004 by Faber & Faber (first published September 1st 1995)
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Throughout the years Jonathan Lethem has made no secret of the high regard that he holds for Philip K. Dick. The MacArthur grant winner has edited and written the introduction for the Library of America anthologies of Dick's work and written several great articles about the mad prophet of science fiction's final descent into paranoia and madness. For all of this though, it wasn't until I picked up one of Lethem's first published novels, Amnesia Moon, that I was able to see just how much the hall ...more
Loved it! What a zany dream-world! Where do dreams and reality collide? How can one tell in which state one is in? What if one's dreams collide with another's dreams? Can one stop dreaming to live reality? What's reality?
This book is surreal, which makes it incredibly interesting and entertaining. Chaos moves from one dream state to another, trying to figure things out. The world has changed. Where did he come from? How can he find out? Who can he believe? What's real? As he struggles to make s
Jonathan Lethem did it to me again! I am not a great fan of science fiction but I enjoyed "Amnesia Moon" just as I enjoyed "Motherless Brooklyn" and yet do not read many murder mysteries. Here is one gem from the book, "Vance being real doesn't mean the aliens are, said Fault. It's just another dream, Everett. What better way to keep people under your thumb? Make up some big enemy, justify everything as part of the war effort." This is a story about a lost, single man named Chaos who discovers t ...more
Be wary of this book. Be aware that for about two thirds of it it will make next to no sense. Be aware that the final chapter, the one in which answers are given, when the plot is made tidy, when we get to breath deep and finally "get" what's going on--that chapter is missing.

Chaos lives in a future America after the bombs have dropped, living among mutants in an abandoned theater, afraid to sleep because then he will be forced to dream the dreams of the petty tyrant who rules this land. When he
Each chapter we learn more about Chaos' world yet each chapter we know less. Amnesia Moon is a trippy dystopian novel that follows around Chaos, a movie theater dwelling survivor, in his trek to find what is wrong with the world, and what is wrong with his memories. Lethem effectively throws us into a weird place with memories that can't quite be counted on and situations that take a few paragraphs to start making sense. The characters are all well defined (when appropriate) and I was always int ...more
I initially found this book on a class trip to NYC, on the "under $5" table on the bottom floor of Strand bookstore. I picked it up as the back summary looked mildly interesting, and I wanted a souvenir from the marvelous place.

Up until yesterday, I hadn't gotten more than a few pages in. I had repeatedly picked it up, read a page, then had to put it down for homework or a different required book. As of yesterday, I finally had a free day to read it.

Now let me tell you- I read the heck out of th
I'm glad I read Chronic City and The Fortress of Solitude before this, because I wouldn't have tried Lethem again had this been my first experience.
As typical of most "literary Science Fiction" it is only interested in using the SF/Fantasy genre for a hip, ironic setting, however it seems that Lethem lacks the talent to pull it off effectively. I forced myself to finish this book with a vague interest to find out "what happens", only to have the payoff of lame, unsatisfying ending.
Meghan Fidler
Lethem's "Amnesia Moon" hooked me from the first chapter, successfully creating an overwhelming need to rearrange my day so I could read the damn thing to the end immediately.
I found each scene in the story to be anecdotes for different aspects of American culture, making the book a wonderful piece for sharing and debating after being read. (I will not include my thoughts on these here, for fear that it would color the imaginations of future readers in a thick green).
Melinda, despite her relati
Jim Rybicki
A protagonist, in search of his memories, travels through a world that may or may not have suffered a global catastrophe after which people have become able to alter reality with their dreams. Whether or not you should read this book depends on what you want out of it. Here is a quote from Lethem that might help you decide:

"Cornell Woolrich, one of my favorite writers, was the master of the paranoid amnesiac plot, in which protagonists would wake up not knowing what they’d done and spend the ent
First of all, I love being dropped into the middle of a story and having to figure out what's going on--seriously. Secondly, Lethem's got an easy-to-read style that just flows well and gets the pages turning right away. So, knowing all that, why only three stars?

Unfortunately, my interest started waning toward the end. I'm not sure if the book actually became less interesting, or if it was a matter of lost momentum for me: I had a busy weekend where I was hardly able to get any reading in, and w
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Althea Ann
Since I just re-read 'Motherless Brooklyn' I thought I'd get around to reading the sci-fi book of Lethem's that's been sitting on my shelf. Unfortunately, I didn't like it nearly so much.
'Amnesia Moon' is really a seriously wanna-be-Philip-K.-Dick book. If you really like Dick and his trippy perspectives on things, you might love this book. I thought it had some interesting moments - but, as a whole, it didn't work for me.
It's a post-apocalyptic scenario. There's definitely been some kind of dis
As the cover says, futurist road trip noir written in obvious homage to Lethem's hero, Philip K Dick. An American world completely transformed by a disaster which could be, but somehow isn't quite, a nuclear holocaust. Chaos, the hero, breaks out of his refuge in the mutant town of Hatfork to find out what has happened, and discovers in his travels that reality now has the quality of dreams dreamt by mysterious, dominant dreamers. Finding out here they are is the moody, discontended task of a re ...more
Because I’m obsessed with rhythm, I’ve started reading Jonathan Lethem’s books in order, from first to I do with pretty much all authors from whom I start reading more than one book. “Amnesia Moon” is the second Lethem book and I liked it as much as the first.

This book can only be called science fiction noir. It takes place in a futuristic world. A world where you’re never quite sure if Chaos is living in a reality or a dream world...where the lines of Chaos and Everett blend and mi
*sigh* I just typed a review, but then accidentally deleted it. I don't have enough to say about this book to make it worth retyping, so I'll just sum up:

I didn't "get" this book. The first half seemed potentially interesting, but the second half seemed to wallow around in a muddled plot involving dreams. Because I only read one chapter a night for a few days, I lost track of what was dream and what was real. Alas, I didn't care about the characters or the original plot enough to sort it all out
It is always difficult to read an early book by a writer without being influenced by the quality of the later works. That said, this is an early work in many ways, yet well worth reading.
The dream-like plot reminded me of Steve Erickson's novels, as well as the laisse-faire approach to plot. Now, I have never minded Erickson's handling of plot because the logic of his narratives seems more archetypal. In Amnesia Moon, the plot seems to reach a moment where resolution is possible, and then falls
Nate D
Easily my favorite of Lethem's Dick-influenced "Concept Sci-Fi" beginnings, Amnesia Moon is part post-apocalyptic pulp, part episodic road novel, part Wizard of Oz reworking, and part surrealist philosophizing. It's pretty heavy on the familiar or cliche plot devices -- village of mutants, amnesiac protagonist, authoritarian local government, alien conspiracies, the subjective nature of the world -- but thrown together with fresh vision and panache into a truly unique work. Takes some truly unex ...more
Jonathon Lethem’s second novel, Amnesia Moon, centres around a man named Chaos living in the post-apocalyptic town of Hatfork, Wyoming. The bombs have fallen, society has crumbled, the sky is tinted with radioactivity and the mutated townsfolk are reliant on a tyrant named Kellogg for their food. Less than 30 pages into the book, after making him admit that he can’t remember how long ago the bombs fell or what he was doing when they did, Kellogg convinces Chaos that the truth of their world is “ ...more
Buck Ward
The best way to approach Amnesia Moon is to treat it like reading the telling of a dream. It is disconnected and nonlinear and weird, like a dream. Some terrible apocalypse has happened but nobody seems to remember exactly what it was. A nuclear war? An alien invasion? Something strange, sometimes referred to simply as 'the break'. By the end of the book, it really doesn't seem to matter. There's not much of a plot - it's more about learning what's going on, about why everything is so weird.

I've always liked the gestalt theory of horror novels--that every character is an aspect of one self and the horror element could not exist except for that specific self--and the theory fits this book even better than most, despite it wading in the Venn space between horror and science fiction. This dystopian story is much more philosophically substantial than the cover blurbs would have you think. It's also pretty far down the "literary" end of the speculative fiction spectrum, so it ends abrup ...more
Nathan Marone
Amnesia Moon is exactly what dystopian sci-fi should be: breathtaking entertainment packed with ideas. In the real world there is some truth to the notion that we live in each other's dreams, because if we are smart and have the will we can make our dreams come true. I dot mean this in some idiotic sentimental sense, but in the real sense - I dream of a world that is this way and create that dream around myself so that anyone who comes in contact with me, and especially those who enter into the ...more
Drew Rhodes
There were times in this book where I thought Letham was a brilliant madman. Then there were times I thought he's a blundering clod. I'm still not sure which it is. I never really felt like the world he created was tangible, but as the book's about dreamers, that could have been his intent. I think the best thing I can really say about this book is this- most stories change you as a person. They make you experience something new and then you're just not quite the same afterwards. Dreams sort of ...more
Loved this book without having the slightest grasp of how it's universe works. In essence, it's an end of the world scenario, though the specifics of how and why things fell apart varies on an almost county by county basis and depends on the nightmares dreamed by a few select individuals. The main character is one such and the book shows him wandering from radioactive wastes to green fog bound cities to Alien attack. He knows roughly what we know, nothing, but gradually comes to grip with his ow ...more
With Amnesia Moon, an early Lethem novel, Lethem basically writes a Philip K. Dick novel. Lethem's a fan of Dick's writing, and if you've read any of Dick's novels, you'll notice the many similarities right away. (I was getting a strong Dr. Bloodmoney vibe from this one.) This novel is a case of a minor work by an author being in some ways more compelling than many of his major works. Or maybe not more compelling, just more fun. This *is* a distinctly minor work, and you can tell it's from early ...more
Christopher Roberts
I am going to be honest, I have always had mixed feelings about Lethem as a novelist but I outright hated this book. It was his second, following Gun With Occasional Music, a novel that while drawing influence from Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick created something unique of its own. This second novel, one that Lethem has said was cobbled together from some short stories, is nothing but a pretentious rip-off of Dick, stealing plot elements from at least five Dick novels and delivering nothin ...more
I really like Lethem but this book is incomprehensible.
Dec 19, 2007 Patrick added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard Lethem fans who'd rather die
Did I finish it? It was terrible. Worst Lethem book.
Andy Phillips
I bought this as I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic sci-fi books and I found it in a second hand bookshop by accident. I'd never heard of it, which is unusual as I've read literally dozens of books in the genre, so it was immediately interesting. Unfortunately, the story didn't live up to my expectations.

My problem with the book isn't that it isn't what I expected as such, it's that the story makes no sense. It begins with a man called Chaos who lives in the projection room of an old cinema in a
You can also read my reviews here

I was going through the posts over at the Book Smugglers when I read about The Angry Robot Publishers. I went to their site and was really psyched about the books showcased there. I read a few blurbs of the books on the site and I was very excited about them. Amnesia Moon was one of them.

I did not know what to expect from this book. The description sounded different and intriguing. I still do not know what to make of the book after having finished reading it. If
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Jonathan Allen Lethem (born February 19, 1964) is an American novelist, essayist and short story writer.

His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel t
More about Jonathan Lethem...
Motherless Brooklyn The Fortress of Solitude Gun, With Occasional Music Chronic City As She Climbed across the Table

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