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Vacation

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  292 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
It's time for blueblood Bernard Johnson to leave his boring life behind and go on The Vacation, a yearlong corporate-sponsored odyssey. But instead of seeing the world, Bernard is captured by terrorists, becomes a key figure in secret drug wars, and, worse, doesn't once miss his secure American Dream.
Paperback, 164 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Raw Dog Screaming Press
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1984 by George OrwellThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Dystopia!
991 books — 2,540 voters
John Dies at the End by David  WongVacation by Jeremy C. ShippThe Cannibals of Candyland by Carlton Mellick IIIHELP!  A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle HansenApeshit by Carlton Mellick III
Bizarro
313 books — 235 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lou
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: may-read
Unconventional novel and an unconventional vacation. Jeremy writes with an mind bending process he seems to not want to leave you at rest until you're dumbfounded by the story. We all need a vacation but where and who you spend it with is the big question. I am still bit puzzled as this wacky story does not leave you with a clear picture. I suppose watching fight club years ago did not either. The protagonist is slightly insane then again maybe even the author (I gathered that info from his twit ...more
Lance
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Jeremy Shipp has a unique and entertaining writing style. The 164 page VACATION demands the reader’s attention and should perhaps not be read just before bedtime or while operating heavy machinery. In fact, a second reading may be required to fully enjoy/appreciate the story. But it is definitely worth the effort. Shipp’s surreal and eery vision of the future (or maybe an alternate universe) seems to drift seamlessly between dream and reality. The tale of the battle between the haves and have-no ...more
Adam Huber
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An incredible first novel from Jeremy Shipp. Aspects are reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick, but Vacation stands on its own as everything that's right with modern sci fi and bizarro. A quick read, Shipp cuts to the heart of the story and his characters, accomplishing more with choppy sentences and embedded commentary than volumes three times the length. An absolute must read for fans of avant-garde literature.
C.B.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Vacation Penalty

People love vacations, need vacations, jump at the chance to take vacations. The blossoming thoughts of laughter and fun and mystical locales unseen sparkle with possibility in the mind’s eye. The rush to get there, wherever there may be, casts a thrilling tenor to the days and weeks leading up to that moment of departure. It is this event, Bernard (Bernie) Johnson thinks about a brief time, a moment really, subsequent to his conjuring a quick rundown of his accomplishments and p
...more
Jason Pettus
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
(My full review of this book is much longer than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].)

I'm sure some of you must think of it as an insult when I occasionally refer to a book here as "weird;" but believe it or not, so-called "weird fiction" or "weird lit" is in fact a legitimate genre, originally coined by the Romantic writers of the 1800s to describe the absolute strangest of the moody, atmospheric novels
...more
Keith
Nov 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
ONE CAN ONLY PRAY to the Pax-dishing government conspiracy theorists that Jeremy C. Shipp's inaugural dip in deep end of the novel pool is not his last. And if the prayers do go unanswered, those still in the living world just lost the one thing that might make life worth living. Vacation is a surreal jaunt skittering across the calm surface of social norms (on an ocean that certainly doesn't exist) hellbent on splashing waves of ever-disturbing rings disrupting the way one thinks: As if you cou ...more
Garrett Cook
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of the Prisoner, Gnostics, anarchists, literature majors, human beings
Obnoxious Hollywood logline: The Prisoner meets Fight Club. Pretentious expat lit major analysis: a surreal sequel to Hamlet. Vacation is surreal, hyperreal, political and apolitical, dark, capable and humorous. Vacation looks at escapism and denial in society and how hard it is for postmodern man to do the right thing. I highly recommend this book. Protagonist Bernard Johnson is morose, hyperintellectual and indecisive with a tendency to add import to moments and distance himself from reality b ...more
Kathryn
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird-trippy, bizarro
Except for a little jumble/confusion in the middle, I loved every bit of this book. 4 1/2 stars and I look forward to reading everything else from the author.

Do not let the small page count fool you. This is one of those meaty books that you almost have to slowly read and actually reread many sections. Shipp has managed to squish a whole hell of alot of commentary into this book. So many truths, especially appropriate for any who enjoy dark-humor, though I think I felt more sadness than anythin
...more
Ben
Nov 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
To be honest I'm not sure I remotely know what this book is about, terrorism, drug-running, secret gardens, and sex changes, for sure, and the education system, probably, totalitarian societies, no doubt, but beyond that, can't say. But who cares, it's really good, and completely absorbing, and so what if Jeremy is obviously a complete wack-job, the dude can flat out write.
Wandaful
Nov 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Awesome story
Awesome writing
Awesome author
Jeremy Shipp is currently taking the world (as we know it) by storm...!!!
Or is that, Jeremy (as we know him) is currently storming into the world ????
Either way, this writer is no storm in a tea cup.... although I have heard some sneaky rumours that he reads tea leaves for coconut monkeys.......
Go figure..!!!
Geri Ahearn
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dark Fiction/Bizzaro Lovers
Jeremy Shipp takes the reader on a psychological head-trip
through the eyes of Bernard Johnson. A thirty-five year old
intelligent man with a wild, incredible imagination. Bernard
is tormented with his dreams, fantasies, and nightmares.
The reader is taken through the door of a magic carpet ride
of adventure, but the ride doesn't end there. The ride
continues from the magic carpet of fantasy, through the
doors of the haunted house of fear. Each reader will be
taken through the same journey, but if they
...more
Marvin
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Vacation is one of those books that demands you read it again. It tosses you into a world that is very different from our own yet exactly the same. You marvel at the weirdness, a term I use with admiration, of the novel yet realize the dilemma of the protagonist and the world he lives in is one we already struggle with. I have dabbled in reading a little Bizarro fiction in the past but this is the first novel associated with the moniker that I felt actually had something to say and was not tryin ...more
Peggy
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure exactly what I expected when I started Vacation, but suffice to say that it managed to both meet and confound all of those expectations.

For many, a novel of ideas is an excuse to be preachy and a novel that uses surreal images and dream-like prose is all flash and no substance.

Nothing could be further from the truth in Shipp's book.

Oh, there are ideas aplenty here: thought-provoking,history-laden, Big Time ideas about the nature of self and the nature of the universe. And surreality
...more
Sandi
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, sci-fi
"Vacation" by Jeremy C. Shipp little book takes a lot of brain power to read. I cannot tell how many times I had to go back a few pages to figure out something I had missed. In many ways, it reminds me of the best of Philip K. Dick. It's thought-provoking, cautionary, ambiguous and downright weird. I like that in a book.
Adriane
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: horror fans and those living outside of the box
Recommended to Adriane by: Jeremy Shipp
Shelves: horror
A twisted-wicked sinfully delicious read. It spirals off the page but not for the timid or those with weak eimaginations. If you want to go on a "Vacation" in the likes that you have never experienced then pick up this book and turn the page and get ready! Excellent~!
Josh Olsen
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book startled me.

The beginning of the book had me grasping a bit, trying to figure out exactly what was going on. I was confused and almost felt like I was being shoved around a little bit. Then as more and more things began to unfold, the smile got wider and wider.

Then Jack stepped in, and we met Odin and Noh. The confusion was back, yet again I was living beside Bernard, feeling what he felt, because I too was a Tic.

The fifth star in this comes from the end of Chapter 19 if I'm not mistak
...more
Georgiann Hennelly
Nov 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book , a twisted -wicked sinfully delicious read. This is the most unique book i,ve read in awhile.Iloved everything about it from the characters to the plot line. His promise is simple a man who is dissatisfied with his life, from his career to his lover-decides to go on a vacation in search of redemption to come back a different person. Better than the jaded man he once was. A fascinating story I truly enjoyed it. I normally don,t read books online that much i love the hard copy, bu ...more
Jo
Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jo by: Jeremy Shipp
Shelves: fiction, horror
First e-book. The e-book part is fascinating. At first it was a lot of fun, but after about 30 pages, I wanted to hold it. I printed it out! Don't laugh at me. I am just old fashioned.

The story is detailed and believable. That is what makes it scary. You have to care. A lot of info and a lot to track.
Jeremy S. can write!
Recommend to those who like a scare. ...or are going on vacation!!!
Natalie
Feb 28, 2008 marked it as to-read
I have never heard of this book until this site and from what I have read in the discription it looks extremely interesting. I can't wait to see where this book takes me, if it inspires and gives me a whole new understanding of life itself. If anybody has this book for lending please let me know ASAP:D!
Grant Wamack
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A surreal oddysey of sorts.The prose is smoother than a smoothie and the characters are carved out in great detail.The best part for me was the mini truths the protaginist discovers in this novel. If you haven't read this novel you better have your bookstore Shipp you this book quick.
Krystin
Apr 15, 2008 added it
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone!
Shelves: favorites
This has to be the most unique book I've read in a long time. I thought it would be good, but was pleasantly surprised with how amazing it was! I loved the plot, the characters, everything! I absolutely loved it, it is now one of my favorites!
GUD Magazine
I had to take a step back after reading Vacation to realize it really is as imaginative as it's advertised as being, because it's not so much the usual suspects, like the crazy plot antics or the political interpolations, that impressed me, but the parts that were presented more matter-of-factly, the characters and the interactions. The novel's main character, Bernard Johnson, suspends himself from his prestigious job and prestigious relationships to take his medicated, ennui-filled self off on ...more
Matt
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Some of the other reviews that I have read of this book in the past seemed to dote on the complexity of the storyline. This idea coupled with my previous experiences with Shipp's short stories led me to believe that I was embarking on a task of 'Finnegan's Wake'-like proportions when I first began reading. This was a task that I wasn't sure that I was up for at this point in time, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the storyline fairly straight forward. I do not know whether my ease in follo ...more
J.R.
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An author strives to transport his readers to another world; that of his imagination. Jeremy Shipp achieves that goal is this short novel. But it isn’t an easy world he conveys.

His premise is simple. A jaded man—dissatisfied with his career, his lover, his life—goes on vacation in search of redemption. Shipp’s writing style is stark and plain. In many ways his style reminds me of the English writer Magnus Mills.

Bernard Johnson, the son of an “Education Expert Extraordinaire, has gone from being
...more
Jeremy
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy, 2009
So what would a book like 1984 look like if it were written today? A dystopian future in the post-Cold War world is no longer dominated by the Evil Empire and the human spirit crushed beneath the heel of brutally efficient communism. In Shipp's dystopia with a dash of hope, it is instead commercialism and neo-colonialism run amok that form the artfully concealed and gilded cage holding the developed world captive while the rest is exploited ruthlessly (save for deliberately crafted bubbles that ...more
Sean
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sean by: Jeremy
What if the life you're living right now is a dream? Take it one step further:
What if the life you're living right now is a dream of a dream? Now take it another step further:
What if the life you're living right now is a dream of a dream being controlled by an outsider to mask the truth from you to mask the truth from you?

This is the kind of cerebral head-trip that Jeremy Shipp presents in his novel, Vacation.

Mr. Shipp's voice is clear and immediate, almost minimalist, choosing to move you forwa
...more
Emory
Nov 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bizarro-fiction
If you could take a year-long Vacation, all-expenses paid, would you? Would you be afraid of the journey? Or would you be afraid of what you may find at the end?

Jeremy C. Shipp addresses these questions through Bernard Johnson, a man who lives in the shadow of many. His father, his girlfriend, the world. His life is spent trying to be what is expected, what is normal. He sometimes thinks of himself, but he has no idea how to express it, often out of fear of the all-consuming forces that surroun
...more
Elaine
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009, april, favorites
Vacation was my first foray into the bizarro fiction genre. I wasn't sure what to expect when starting this book, but soon realized that all expectations simply fly out the window anyway. Bernard Johnson, a 35-year-old English teacher decides (in an early-mid-life-crisis kind of way) to spend the next year of his life "finding himself" during a government sponsored world Vacation. On this Vacation, Bernie meets up with a beautiful woman who used to be one of his male students; is visited by his ...more
Dan
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"At turns surreal and frighteningly real, Vacation challenges the reader to deny that they are in fact living through the same drug-addled haze that Bernard Johnson has been until the time he goes on his own Vacation. Utopia disintegrates into dystopia, and Johnson is thrust into a dark world where life is worthless, minds become the puppets of guerrilla warlords, and the grand illusion of the world he knew is ground to dust."

"Chapter by chapter, Vacation becomes clearer, crueler, and ultimately
...more
Laurie
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lit majors, bizarro fans
Wow... very thought provoking. I should probably preface this review by saying that this is a book that is definitely not in the genre(s) that I typically find myself choosing books from. However, the story sounded so unique and interesting I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did! I loved Jeremy's writing style and didn't find the story hard to follow as I saw in some of the other reviews. However, I do have to say that this was a book that took me awhile to read. Mostly because I'd stop and ...more
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Ask Jeremy any weird question 3 33 Mar 15, 2012 04:34AM  
Vacation has made the Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot 3 11 Jan 24, 2008 03:40PM  
Congrat's Jeremy 2 12 Jan 24, 2008 03:39PM  
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Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 50 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Pseudopod, and Rosebud. While preparing for the forthcoming collapse of civilization, Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse wi ...more
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