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I’ve Got a Time Bomb

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  28 reviews
On her way home from a gay wedding, Sybil’s eponymous protagonist is ambushed, beaten, and left for dead on the train tracks. Days later, Sybil awakens in a hospital and finds her skull has been reconstructed, but it quickly becomes clear that her version of “normal” and “reality” may have been permanently altered. When she falls in love with a very beautiful, but very mar ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published June 12th 2014 by Topside Press (first published May 27th 2014)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  165 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What do I even tell you? So, full disclosure, I was involved in making this book exist. BUT I did this for free. I put in hundreds of hours of unpaid work, and I basically did this because the last time I liked a book this much was when I was twelve and read Middlemarch. I feel like Middlemarch was my first hit of literature, and I spent twenty years reading compulsively, searching for something that would exhilarate me like that again, and got pretty close but never quite there, until I read th ...more
The only way for me to begin a review of Ottawa-born Sybil Lamb’s novel I’ve Got a Time Bomb is by saying it’s the strangest, most unique book I’ve ever read, and I have no fucking clue how to review it. I think both Sybils (the author and main character share a name, among other similarities) would take this as a compliment, though, so here we go....

Sybil is the anti-heroine that you learn to love: she’s a bisexual trans woman, she’s not above fucking you to get what she wants (you know, like m
Okay what! Hahaha. I love this book.

Sample: "Syb left the burbling gas can in the sand and stashed the other ones under a scrap of canvas to be dusted with the sand-plain winds. Then she wrapped a dampened bandanna over her mouth and set out to walk the few miles back into Salt Plain City.

"By the time she arrived she had a saltsicle growing like a psychedelic bass player goatee on her chin. Every breath in the salt plains gives you 0.03% of your daily recommended intake of sodium. It was 10 a
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
aaaaah!! sybil lamb is so, so, so perfect. like.. people you want to be, for real.

this book is crazy. it's so refreshing to see a trans narrative that's a narrative instead of, like, a sad lgbtq archetype or something. and sybil - or should i say sterile? - just blows me away. the most striking scenes are perhaps either the incident itself or when sybil and a friend shoot up - estrogen.

it took me a while to finish, maybe because of the somewhat cyclical nature of the narrative, but i'm really g
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was pretty great, the style is really interesting, hard to follow, hallucinatory, surreal and trippy which I always love. Very time and world bendy. I think the second half wasn't as good as the first, I get a little bored of long scenes about taking drugs and there were a few. I really enjoy the way she writes details about bodies and the ways the dialogue was written was the best part for me.

Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I knew when I started reading this book that it was going to be crazy surreal fun. What I didn't know was how tragic and moving it was going to be. Totally brilliant and overwhelming.
Mar 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Reads like a messy autobiography by a rapist, which is what it is. If you’re transmasc, do not party with Lamb, do not be alone with Lamb. Dumbass book, dangerous author.
Vivien Ryder
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Daring hyper-surreal narrative describing a dystopian future america? a dystopian present america? a fucking wild ride alongside half dead, half alive, clever and confused protagonist anti-hero Sybil DeLye, as she scrounges for hormones, drugs, food and occasionally a change of clothes.

Get a better understanding of american geography by seeing it through her brain-damaged eyes.

read it. read this book.
Kat Rogue
Oct 29, 2019 added it
Shelves: trans-lit
I wasn't expecting a book in stream of consciousness style to be so well structured. I had a hard time getting through the last 20%, but that's a mighty feat considering this thing is 350 pages. This book pushes the boundaries of trans lit in wonderful ways. It's not just that the main character is trans, but it's also that she's a punk dirtbag surviving in a climate change fueled dystopia of near future Amerika. It talks about being trans and being cis without using the terminology. You *feel* ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was hard to rate because it's so unique. I'm not a fan of either post-apocalyptic stuff or absurdism as a category, so it might be more like 3 stars for me personally, but I can recognize the coolness of it, and appreciate how unapologetically queer and trans it is. I think someone with a little more trauma honestly might find it more relatable. I do find the way it's both fictionalized North Ameri(k)a and not compelling, as you never quite can locate yourself as you go through the nar ...more
M.P. Johnson
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
(Not Really) Post-Apocalyptic Explosive Adventure

This book has a wild, post-apocalyptic vibe at first. Kind of Mad Max-y. Except the setting is Post-Katrina, not post-apocalypse. The main character, Sybil, even spends time cruising around in a crazy modified ice cream truck, and there is gas thievery.

The adventure follows Syb as she tumbles around through squats and whatnots, befriending or sort-of-almost connecting with various other adventurers, trying to connect or not trying to connect or fa
This took me a long time to read, partly cos I've not been feeling very read-y these last few months but also because of the form, disjointed often drug-fuelled incidents narrated by a character I cared for a great deal but who also had brain damage and MH stuff so at times it was too familiar in some ways for me to deal with. Also there's a lot of trauma in the book, although much of it wasn't stuff that I've experienced as it's transmisogynistic violence.

Anyway, I think this book is incredible
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sybil is brilliant and terrifies me.
Tom Léger
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-queer-books
One of the most unique books ever written.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was kind of exhausting. I'm pretty sure it is about 100 pages too long. At least too long for me. The first third of the book has charm, but after that it kind of just starts turning into a bit of a slog. I appreciate this story, and I like the characters/settings. There's just some things about this book that I feel hold it back.

The narration of this book feels like if Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and A Clockwork Orange had a secret love child and that child really wanted to tell you s
Thomas Hale
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intense, weird, grubby, violent, emotional, frustrated, extremely jittery. A cross-country adventure across a mid-apocalyptic United States ("Amerika") full of mostly-good sex, mostly-bad drugs and a rogue's gallery of odd and exhilerating characters. Loosely based on the author's own life experiences, the protagonist Sybil founds and co-runs a squatter commune in flood-ravaged New Orleans, crash-lands in isolated mountain farms, drives across salt wastes in a ice cream truck, and plunges into a ...more
cosima concordia
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: transwrites
Sybil Lamb is an absolute legend and her wild trans punk road novel is unlike anything you've ever read. Based on her experience of being ruthlessly beaten and sustaining brain damage after being left for dead on the train tracks, I've Got a Time Bomb blurs reality to create a marvelous genre all her own.
Jane Hamilton
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This smart novel takes the eponymous Sybil on a surreal ride through post-Katrina Amerika. Dis-jointed, drug-fueled, hallucinatory, Sybil is time-bombing her readers from the first page to the last. ‘I’ve Got a Time Bomb,’ out of Topsider Press, is an achievement of storytelling.
I read this while awaiting surgery and recovering from surgery and wonder if someone wrote it while having surgery.
Jeanne Thornton
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
i want to go to all of these places very much (except Toronto) <3 / i want the sequel to come ...more
Erin Kelly
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Strange, tragic, funny, surreal.
Jammy Lit
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a year ago so when I logged in to my account after a year of neglect it was still up in the Currently Reading queue. So I don't remember much about it except it was fun and kind of gross. Really gross sometimes... also there's some pretty graphic bad shit and illustrations of partially naked folks that make subway reading a little awkward. The illustrations are by the author and they're really beautiful so I would recommend reading somewhere that you don't feel like you have to ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have never found myself relating to a protagonist so hard before. Syb is wounded, broken, disjointed and struggling to get by. Her being trans is delightfully just a trait, not the sole focus which is a mistake in most LGBT books I've gotten my hands on before, they fixate and make the book solely about that factor when people are so much deeper. The story drew me in with the setting being just close enough to reality to not need explaining, but far enough to be another place entirely. You cou ...more
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i heart sybil lamb x ∞ shields

read this book while train hopping across canada
she signed this dirty ole book of mine with a picture of us pissing off trains together lolz dirty ass lolz
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Starts out well, but there's only so many times an unreliable-narrator can do basically the same things with different set pieces until it just gets tedious
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This is a book to hide drugs in, then find them a year later. Or maybe this book is a drug.
Roz  Milner
rated it it was amazing
Mar 13, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Aug 18, 2016
Maryjane Stewart
rated it really liked it
Aug 24, 2016
rated it liked it
Aug 29, 2017
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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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