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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  31 reviews
David Holbrook is a scrawny kid, the victim of bullies, and the neglected son of insane parents. David Holbrook is the Kallis Episkipos, a vicious murderer turned imprisoned leader of a death cult dedicated to Eris, the Hellenic goddess of discord. David Holbrook never killed anyone, and lives a lonely and luckless existence with his aging mother in a tumbledown New Jersey ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published August 15th 2012 by ChiZine Publications (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  120 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
“Don’t be evil.”

Those words, associated with Google since 2004, are so obvious to most of us that they don’t fit on a list of life goals. But for large corporations, and some young men – habituated to violence and discord – they’re hard to live up to. That’s what I kept thinking, while reading Nick Mamatas’s searing multi-threaded narrative about Dave Holbrook, who may or may not have become a school shooter.

You see, Dave has been cursed with the gift of being separated from the time/space conti
Nicholas Kaufmann
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Early on, a character in BULLETTIME describes Wong Kar-wai's film 2046 this way: "[T]here are different timelines and stuff. There's a sci-fi story wrapped up in the other stuff. And it's non-chronological." The same could be said of this complex and compelling novel of fractured timelines, diverse fates, and the awfulness of high school. But for all its talk of different choices leading to different outcomes, of a multitude of possible futures, the novel really seems to be about inevitability. ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Sliding into him is like living in an alcoholic who can taste the Jack Daniels on her tongue in every glass of juice or soda, right before she finally says, “Fuck it,” and marches out to get laid, get drunk, and get royally fucked by the world she’s determined to toss herself out in front of. Kallis Episkipos is Dave Holbrook, with free will reclaimed.

And me? I’m Dave Holbrook too—where Kallis Episipos has free will, I have no will at all, no way to affect the world or my own life. But I get to
Mike Kazmierczak
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about BULLETTIME when I first finished it. So I gave it a bit of time to let it sink. Unfortunately, I'm still at that same spot where I can't determine if the book succeeded with me or not. I enjoyed the book and it made me think but I'm not sure what I felt after I finished it.

The story is told by Dave Holbrook as he sits outside of time and watches himself go through multiple alternate realities. Most of these lives focus on his teenage years. Almost all lead
David Agranoff
This is an excellent short but powerful novel, from young raising star in genre fiction Nick Mamatas. This author first got on my radar from being on panels throughout last year's HP Lovecraft fest. I enjoyed his take on things and had a few short conversations with him. I knew I wanted to check out his work. While more interested in his forthcoming book and Stoker award winning novel Move Underground, it was Bullettime that came across my desk first. I very glad I dug into this interesting book ...more
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maybe Mamatas's best book (that I've read anyway).

His take on the horror of high school feels right, not sugar-coated, not viewed through the lens of nostalgia - but a racial and sexual horror show of arbitrary exercises of power to humiliate peers. The use of Eris, Goddess of Discord as the instigator of a school shooting is perfect.

As usual for his books, the ending feels incomplete, like it peters out rather than wraps up. In this case, however, with the second detached consciousness of the m
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
"And I can do whatever I like." Nick Mamatas takes us headlong into the world and mind of David Holbrook. David is a bullied teen, finding shelter in cough syrup and the Goth Chick of the Week era Internet. David is an employee of the government, installing lotto machines. David is the Kallis Episkipos, imprisoned death cult leader and worshiper of the goddess Eris. And he is the I, the narrator watching life branch out before and after an encounter with a girl named Erin, and the thought of a m ...more
Harrison Fowler
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bullettime is a very twisted novel. It's sequences are scattered in different places, making it a gratifying non-linear experience. David Holbrook is quite honestly a pathetic loser. But that's the way he's supposed to be. He's twisted in his many alternate ways. He's violent, kind, psychopathic, scared, curious, skiddish. He contradicts himself with every fabric that is pulled away.

The book itself is quite brilliantly told. I'm convinced I myself didn't get it, or not all of it. It pays attenti
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Bullettime is a nice unconventional read. I blew right through it, and that doesn't happen very much.

The story goes, Dave is trapped in the ylem, that primordial state of matter before the big bang. Dave has been exiled by the goddess of Discord, Eris, who also plays an important part in his infinity of existence. In the ylem, Dave can observe each moment of each existence he's experienced. There are no surprises, and as he observes these stories, their tale is told to the reader. The thing is,
Jason Andrew
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed Bullettime. I could see David Holbrook in the faces of some of my friends in high school. The character feels real even when he is jumping through alternate realities. I was a little skeptical about the basic premise of the novel since everyone from Star Trek to Stargate that I doubted if anything new or interesting could be said on the topic. David Holbrook represents such a sublime failure that I felt truly bad for this poor bastard, even when I detested him. Mamatas deserv ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I might be judging it more harshly than I otherwise would, because Nick is a friend and I'm aware of his extensive social media presence. Occasional phrases crop up that I can tell he's fallen in love with, and those leave an impression of laziness ("tacky mural of the Acropolis", "I mock your values system"). Those moments aside, though, this is a remarkable book, which picks apart the epiphenomena of free will and moral choice with intellectual rigor and entertaining prose. Recommended reading ...more
Matt Moore
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Did you read Catcher in the Rye and hate it? Not understand what the fuss was about? Read Bullettime. A supernatural overlay to a bullied kid in high school, this story goes in literally multiple directions as one character, spread across multiple realities, tries to avoid the horrible outcomes that await him.

Tight, fast-paced and well characterized.
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the most inventive, artful works of modern fantasy / horror I've ever read. You almost have to believe Mamatas wrote this on a dare: how to tell a suspenseful story when you already know the ending; how to keep the reader invested in the most unlikable, unreliable narrator you could imagine. Dark without being purple. Recommended.
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Partially a review of ChiZine itself, but I talk a LOT about Bullettime.
Jesse Bullington
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review forthcoming, somewhere or other...
Kate Kligman
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bullettime was just as good, if not better, when read in reverse order of chapters.
Simon Logan
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Organically poetic prose.
Jack Skillingstead
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Impressive. Mamatas probably should have shown up on some awards lists for this effort. However, he didn't.
george clark

Not much of a book. Didn't make much sense. Not my type of book I guess. Almost didn't finish it.
In my review of Nick Mamatas's Move Under Ground, I said that book was not for everyone. Really, Nick Mamatas might as well get t-shirts printed up with that phrase. I like him, both as a person (we met briefly at WorldCon in San Antonio in 2013, I follow him on Twitter and Facebook) and as a writer--but he's really not for everyone. His stories (and personality) can be cynical and caustic and deal with unpleasant things; and the argument could be made that he likes to shock people.

So when you g
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kenton Moore
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-library
I'm not 100% sure where I stand on this book. After putting it down, a long moment of staring out the window and pondering the storm of thought and emotion made me come to two conclusions.

#1 - This book made me feel things. Not anger, or sadness, or joy. Things. Those random bursts of emotion that come and go so horrendously fast that you're left with visual images akin to the surface of boiling water. I felt upset, but not in a way that could be clearly defined, more like the way you feel being
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I think I liked this book. I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it 3 stars. I finished it and went loudly "what the fuck?!". I felt that way the whole book. WTF sums it ALL up.
This book confused me, but i can't tell you if it was in a good way or a bad way.
My boyfriend bought it, but hasn't read it yet. I'm curious what he will think.
It jumps around a lot, but the characters and plot(?) stay the same throughout.
I can see why the author had a hard time getting it published. Sc
Robert Krone
I found this to be a good, if flawed story. I think it would have been better for me if the different possible fates were split up a little more, possibly as separate parts for each fate, and a final part tying up what the ultimate fate is. At least tying up as to which fate is the one he chooses, but not having to provide all the answers. I like stories/movies that don't have a clear ending. Ones that allow the reader to use their imagination as to what happens next. In that sense I really like ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Initially this book was difficult for me to get into. (I've heard the author say it is intended to be read in one sitting, and unfortunately that wasn't possible for me, so perhaps that would have changed things for me.) That said, it didn't take long for me to feel compelled by Bullettime. This complex, multi-state novel with a fluid reality has a lot to say about free will, action, and the things we do for ourselves and the things that we do for others. It has a lot to say about self-perceptio ...more
Graham Vingoe
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This is one of the shortest books I've read for sometime and yet it took ages to finish. Even so, I get the feeling I overlooked something which left the ending slightly flat for me. Well written but bleak as hell. Maybe this requires multiple reads to fully get the full gist of Bullettime? Worth the 3 stars at the very least, and I'm at least palnning to look at Nick Mamata's Sensation and the forthcoming less fantastic crime direction that he has promised since his "retirement" from fantastic ...more
Keri B.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
I'm not going to finish this book. While I'm sure there are merits hidden deep within the pages, this is not going to be one I complete. Everything is really disjointed and I kinda like more of a linear narrative. Unfortunately, whatever pearls have been hidden within these pages will remain hidden. I really wanted this to be good. I's just not for me.
Eddie Retelj
Apr 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Bullettime is a wild ride of a story that will put you in the head of someone who is pushed over the edge. The narrative voice is depressingly great to read and the idea of exploring multiple lives or fates is brilliant.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
4 ½ stars

See my full review on The Crow's Caw
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
I found this a bit underwhelming. The ending was just flat and I felt really didn't address much, just suddenly appearing and leaving the main plot points unaddressed.
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Nick Mamatas is the author of the Lovecraftian Beat road novel Move Under Ground, which was nominated for both the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards, the Civil War ghost story Northern Gothic, also a Stoker nominee, the suburban nighmare novel Under My Roof, and over thirty short stories and hundreds of articles (some of which were collected in 3000 Miles Per Hour in Every Directio ...more

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