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Dead Stars

3.05  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  92 reviews
First edition bound in white cloth and boards. A Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket.
Hardcover, 604 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Blue Rider Press
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Average rating 3.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  384 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Leo Robertson
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read through this a third time! A read I can always zip through. It should be illegal to publish a book without demonstrating as much enjoyment for writing as Wagner does! Just read through my previous review below as well. Seems like I used to be smarter :P

I can add this: Gene Wolfe said that the mark of a literary work is that its pleasure increases when you re-read it. This is one of my favourite works of literature because I always get something new from it.

In this case an interesting idea t
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it
“It doesn't really matter if you are left behind the back, but what matters is your capacity to pull and push everyone by your way to get to the front.”
----Michael Bassey Johnson, a Nigerian poet, playwright, novelist, aphorist, satirist, caricaturist and a newspaper columnist

Bruce Wagner, the American novelist, penned a very much controversial novel about the tinsel town called, Dead Stars featuring stardom with a violent background, provoking us to move foreword with it's flow, no matter
Keith Rosson
May 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Man. First book of my "Abandoned" Goodreads list. I made it about 180 pages in, enough to feel like I'd given it a run, but enough was enough.

Right off the bat the visual aesthetic of this novel drove me apeshit: The use of multiple fonts in a single page (even in dialogue, so when a character says a certain actor's name, said name will appear in a script font), the switching off of quotation marks and em dashes to denote dialogue (again, within a single chapter), the multiple tense shifts and
Donna Parker
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was like a tug of war inside my head
as I grimaced, laughed, and read.
There are touches of brilliance,
patches of pedantic,
and many moments of huh?
It's like pop culture burp
that is both amusing and offensive,
daft and entertaining,
all at once.
It is so deep and so profoundly shallow,
it’s like an Oreo with a sour cream center.
I would say this is a book
I will have to read again
somehow it’s worth the headache.
Oops, almost forgot,
got this from the
Goodreads First
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
MICHIKO KAKUTANI of the New York Times said of Dead Stars:

'Stomach-turning, sick-making, rancid, repugnant, repellent, squalid, odious, fetid, disgusting — there is a thesaurus full of terms to describe the contents of Bruce Wagner’s willfully offensive new novel, “Dead Stars.”'

I've read about 60 pages, and am not sure how I made it this far, and I'd like to find the review that caused me to pick up this book so I could make certain never to read anything that reviewer likes again. This is one
Wayne Courtois
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bruce Wagner has a deep, dark secret: he's just a marshmallow inside. No matter how depraved or disgusting his characters' behavior may be, we stay with the narrative because he has made us care about the characters and what happens to them. This is no mean feat.

Fans of Wagner will place this novel among his best. It contains Wagner's trademark dazzling wordplay, with multi-layered puns, invented words, and divinely inspired gibberish. I had to laugh out loud at some of his wickedly inventive ri
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Reviewing this book is puzzling... I haven't read anything quite like it. After 600 pages or so, I am still not sure if I liked it or hated it. Felt like an american pop culture overdose. The storyline in itself is interesting but there is something in the treatment that didn't worked for me. There is way too much references to actors/tv shows for my taste, not being very interested in all the gossips around it. There a lot of different characters, each of them having their own level of language ...more
Brittany Montgomery
Feb 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book is 600 pages of suffering (by the reader) waiting for it to be over. I've never been so upset with myself for finishing a book. I forced myself through every insane page of drug induced ramblings by flat, boring characters in the hope that it couldn't get worse. Maybe I'm just not deep enough to understand this witty commentary on our current society and their obsession with empty fame and the Kardashians but if this book is any indication, I'm fine with that. To be fair, I could toler ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
People are Animals.

And by people I mean Bruce Wagner. Bruce, in your little author cottage locked away from society do you spend time watching porn and masturbating, then call it "research" for your epic novel on humanity?

You must have because I can honestly think of no other reason you would write such pornographic, nasty garbage. Bruce, if you were trying to shock and awe your audience to make a name for yourself I suppose you succeeded, because I will remember your work. This is not because
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am not sure what this book is exactly, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I almost gave up during the first several chapters as it seemed needlessly pornographic. I felt like I was being dragged through an ugly universe I didn’t want any part of. You are what you eat, and your brain is what you read, and I didn’t like to dwell on some of this stuff for too long. I’m no school boy, but some of the stuff was just plain crude, rude and repulsive. But I hung in there - primarily because the book recieved ...more
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
A satire on Hollywood agents, actors, writers, directors, rich kids, poor kids, mothers, lesbians, porn stars, porn addicts, cancer-survivors, desperate people searching for 15 minutes of fame, and all the riff raff in between. If Tom Wolfe wrote "A Bonfire of Vanities" set in Hollywood, this is what it would sound like. If Tom Wolfe was doing crack while he was writing it.

The story follows alternately and mostly without connection the lives of : Michael Douglas ( the movie star), Reeyona, a pr
Jul 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am an extremely open minded reader. I read the reviews of this book, so I expected it to be a little out there. I got through about 200 pages and I had to put it down. It would be one thing if there were disgusting descriptions of pornography and other repulsive behavior ALONGSIDE some kind of plot, but there is NO PLOT. It is literally just the horrible, disgusting, thoughts of a bunch of horrible, disgusting people. I understand that it is supposed to be a commentary on the pornographic Holl ...more
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenny by: First Reads
I wasn't sold for the first few chapters. But I tend to think about the apocalypse a lot (stay with me), and I've thought about something like an electromagnetic pulse wiping out all electronically stored information. So reading Dead Stars, I thought that if nothing else, this book will serve as an artifact of the digital voice. The proliferation of pop culture shorthand and initialisms in written communication. In many ways, this book is the gossip blog Oh No They Didn't in novel form.

But there
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one.

This is a generous 2 stars that was only redeemed due to the writing and form of the novel.

When people saw me reading this and asked what I thought, I said SMUT! I have never felt like such a prude as when I was reading this and feeling disgusted with the explicit scenes of teenage sex. Not what I would normally pick up to be entertained by.

There was a genius in the theme of today's reality tv and personal fame quest obsession as well as how the author wov
Lux Alptraum
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Got sent a free copy of this because that is how I roll (I guess). Read it in the span of a weekend. It's complex and fascinating and I'm still trying to suss out how I feel about it.

One of the least important parts, I think, is that I was mildly bothered by how totally wrong the stuff about the porn industry was (though a good deal of that only bothered me because I'm TOO INSIDERY, and doesn't it really matter if the book presents Montana Fishburne as still performing when everyone knows she ma
Jul 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I am having a hard time reading this one as it is very heavy on the Pop references in music and reality TV also the idiotic spelling of "text slang" is hard to follow.

OMG! This book is like watching a train wreak, you know you should not stare but you do. The pop culture references were every where and if you are over 20 or not living with MTV and TMZ then most of them go right over your head. I found the book to be a like a roller coaster ride, fun a times but other times makes you want to be
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
(I received an advanced copy of this book as part of the firstreads giveaway program.)

This is a disturbing novel about people obsessed with fame. I give it three stars, because even though I was at times (okay, most of the time) horrified and completely unable to relate to these bizarre characters, in the end, miraculously, I did feel like the author had made them real for me. I have to acknowledge that this is good writing (even though the writing style is as bizarre as the characters). There i
Brannon Boswell
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it
this was probably the most unusual book I've ever read. Probably the most obscene, perverted, profane thing Ive ever read, too. I woud not recommend it for the faint of heart. I cant imagine most people I know reading it all the way through it's just that shocking at points. But it's also one of the funniest books Ive ever read and definitely one of the most original. I want to read more of this author's work, but I hope the next one I try isn't as explicit..some of the porn-related plot really ...more
With Butterflies
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a bizarre book. I'm really torn between three and four stars so I'll go with three since it *definitely* isn't for everyone. In fact, for the first few chapters I was ready to put it down but also oddly compelled to keep reading.

It's rather Bret Easton Ellis-ishy in its name dropping, wild thought having, random subject bouncing way. If you like that sort of thing, you'll love it. If you don't, run away.

It's profane in places while profound in others. Another reviewer said "It's like an
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I won a copy of this book through FirstReads.

I'll admit, I found it tough to get through the book at times. I'm a bit conservative, so I found the graphic pornography to be a bit much for me. What kept me reading to the end was the rapid-fire stream of ideas, as well as an interest in the various characters.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the Internet/pop culture wrote a book, this would be it. It was stomach churning & amazing. I was equally disgusted, yet curious. I couldn't stop reading it.This exactly what pop culture in 2012 is. ...more
Jason Mock
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it

An over-long examination of contemporary American celebrity-based culture. At times razor sharp and laugh-out-loud funny, the characters, situations, and writing are not compelling or interesting enough to sustain the 600+ pages. Could have been more effective at half the length.
Emily Horowitz
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!
Brilliant critique of celebrity and youth-obsessed culture, without being moralistic or boring...and one of the funniest novels I've ever read. ...more
Clay Stafford
This novel is all over the place, but it all comes down to this: Fame. More of it. Lack of it. Slipping of it. More superficial inner-character diatribes I have never read, yet sadly, the writing is truth. The characters started out as funny absurd to me because they were so real and ridiculous – laugh out loud funny – but by the end of the book, I was ready to strangle them all. The world of tweets and that people actually care about tweets has near ruined several generations. Unequivocally, th ...more
Please never ask me how I managed to get through this; I myself will never know. The second star is because of the, frankly, inspired bits of wordplay and also because towards the end-ish comes a moment of such bitter and twisted poetry that it stuns in its sheer audacity.

But I am curious about how they made this one into a film (there's a ridiculous irony to that, too).
Jan 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book holds a special, personal record for me: it’s the first book I’ve ever returned to a bookstore. I couldn’t make it past the first three chapters. Maybe it gets better from there, but I didn’t feel like wasting the time to find out.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kill-me-now
It’s so bad, I threw it in the trash because I was afraid someone would be subjected to it if I recycled it. It’s the worst. Imagine If TMZ and Disney Channel had a baby who grew up to be an adult film star.

I only read a 1/3 of it and need brain bleach.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like the best books have to make you a little uncomfortable. This one definitely did. Powerful and also light, in its way. Recommend.
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took a long time to get into the rhythm with this one, but I ended up hooked. Unconventional writing.
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Bruce Wagner is the author of The Chrysanthemum Palace (a PEN Faulkner fiction award finalist); Still Holding; I'll Let You Go (a PEN USA fiction award finalist); I'm Losing You; and Force Majeure. He lives in Los Angeles. ...more

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“Ogling Douglas' wife, who looked trampily deep into bipolar meds & high-end anti-aging crêmes, Jerzy thought: Now that is a hot fuck. He wondered if Douglas got his C by being wayback viral throatstroked by papilloma.....seems like a person would have to go down on a boatload of broads to get HPV in the gullet (well, do the math), if the actor scarfed half as much pussy as dimpled dad kirk-King Leer, Kirk the lyin' King-then he just might have qualified.” 2 likes
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