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Rock Manning Goes for Broke

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Vikings vs. Steampunks! Ice cream sundae hearse disasters! Roman gladiators meet vacuum-cleaner salesmen! Inappropriate uses of exercise equipment and supermarket trolleys! Unsupervised fires, and reckless destruction of public property! Nothing is off limits.

Rock Manning lives and breathes slapstick comedy, and his whole life is an elaborate tribute to the masters, like B
Hardcover, Deluxe Limited, 122 pages
Published September 30th 2018 by Subterranean Press
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Mike Finally received the book. This is a rewrite of the three stories in the Apocalypse Triptych books, not a simple reprint. From what I can tell they…moreFinally received the book. This is a rewrite of the three stories in the Apocalypse Triptych books, not a simple reprint. From what I can tell they are moderately edited and compiled into a cohesive novella. Same overall story from what I can see. Just a little better. That being said I like having this as a separate book. The were my favorite stories from the Apocalypse books and the entire reason I read all the birds in the sky. Definitely worth the purchase and worth the second read.(less)
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  161 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would not survive five minutes of one of Charlie Jane Anders' mundane apocalypses (see also: the latter half of All the Birds in the Sky), which is disheartening, because they are so goddam plausible.
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first time I had to manually enter a book on GR!

It's going to take me a while to unpack this gonzo, hyper-weird, tragicomedy, but I look forward to using the word "gonzo" more. I mean, it's a word I never get to use.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rock Manning Goes for Broke is a rare example of the modern-day fable done right, all heart and nuanced back-and-forth between modern tastes; this is, after all, a dystopia with a sharp surrealist turn, layered with complex relationships between sympathetic, accessible characters. In the compressed span of 128 pages, this novella holds no punches, takes every risk, and spools out every thread of feeling its readers thought they'd lost in those not-nearly-so-carefree-as-everyone-says years when y ...more
Tim Hicks
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
At first I didn't like this book. Then I hated it. But I kept reading. In the end, I still didn't like it much but I admire it.

At first Rock and friends are reckless goofs in what appears to be a somewhat dystopian version of our world. But as we keep reading, it becomes clear that it's far more dystopian than they are willing to admit to themselves, and we see WHY they are reckless goofs. And there we have the stressed situation that the plot must try to resolve.

There may even be another dist
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another wacky product of the wonderful mind of Charlie Jane Anders. Really funny and apocalyptic-dystopian at the same time, which is not easy to pull off, if you ask me. But this author makes it seem easy, she's so brilliant. How do you convey slapstick comedy of the Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Jackie Chan variety in words on the page? Read this crazy book and find out. Highly recommended!

The author must have a fan on the library staff here in Worthington, Ohio, because this is one of a sp
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-netgalley, 2018
This book needs one of the over-the-top "IN A WORLD..." trailers.

To say this was a wild ride from start to finish doesn't quite do this novella justice. It's absurd and hilarious, making me literally laugh out loud in what has to be my highest LOL-to-page ratio ever. (More than just a little "pah-huh!" exhalation each time, but actual "HA!"s or chuckles and the like.)

But even while the world is falling down around second-generation stunt-man Rock Manning and his slapstick viral video-making fr
Tamara Temple
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I just finished reading this book and, OH MY GOD, does Charlie Jane Anders really know how to write! I have loved all her books, and even when it's a short one like this, there is a lyricality to the writing that makes the story just soar.

Rock Manning Goes for Broke is a story set in some future, and yet captures the essence of today's political and world climates. Focusing on a handful of characters, including the one in the title, Rock, his best friend, Sally, who embark on fabulous gorilla
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-19
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Frenetic, kind of random, and yet still very very Charlie Jane Anders. Less heart than All the Birds in the Sky though. I am glad this was a novella, because I don’t know if I would have had the patience for a novel-length story of Rock. But as a bite-sized experience, it was wacky and entertaining and maybe a little too scary given our current political climate.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great little novella that reads like 100 miles an hour.
Kathryn Kania
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff
Tragic, amazing, I loved this
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Preppers
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work; David B.; MultCoLib
And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention...

—"(Nothing But) Flowers," on the album Naked (1988) by Talking Heads

Slapstick humor and death-defying stunts may be the only reasonable response to the total collapse of society. At least, that's the way it seems, in Charlie Jane Anders' standalone novella Rock Manning Goes for Broke, a slim volume published in 2018 by Subterranean Press as a limited edition. Luckily our library had a copy—#1124 of 1500, to be precise. And thanks to David B. f
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best short story trilogies in the Apocalypse Triptych finally gets its own novella, and some improvements to boot!

Rock Manning can't help falling down all the time; stunt acting is in his blood. It is a way of life for him: "Falling, in the seconds between up and down, you know what's going on." So when the United States starts falling apart, he does the only thing that comes natural to him: make absurd stunt movies with his film student pal Sally.

The best part of this remarkable tale
Michael Howley
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This is the perfect book for our time. Charlie Jane takes her heart and zaniness and trains them like twin lasers on the role of art in uncertain and scary political moments. Can artists distance themselves from their art? Can art still be entertainment as things fall apart, or should it be more? Find out in a series of pratfalls that would make Buster Keaton stand agog.
David Scrimshaw
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed this odd little novella about a boy who wants to be a stunt comic and his friend who wants to make movies as they grow up while the world turns apocalyptic.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
What did I just read? Life goes from almost normal to the-world-is-ending-crazy in 60 seconds or less.
I'd rate this a 3.5 if I could.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Meh. Thin characters, thin world-building, little coherence. Read like a teen skater's attempt to write a novel; partly due to the narrator who was a pratfall expert in a dystopian future, but nothing compelling ever comes of it. Grows a little as he ages from a pre-teen to a young adult, but remains in the "Jackass" tradition for the most part. Not sure who the intended audience was, but sure wasn't me. Somewhat shocked that this is from an award-winner author that I've read at least one book o ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: leave-it
I believe there may be a point buried somewhere in this story, but I fail to see it. Nonexistent plot, thin world building, unlikeable characters.
Jeannette McCalla
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want Rock Manning to be my friend! I’m so sad this book is finished and my boyfriend is happy cause I won’t laugh out loud alone anymore.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the Fall Guy’s kid did a prat fall into the apocalypse? Then this is the book for you. It’s kind of a dadaist take on the current trend of dystopian fiction with increased scarcity, perpetual war, a surveillance state, and social media running amok. In the middle of it all is Rock Manning who is willing to do anything to awe an audience with his daring.

I liked the book. It would touch on serious topics lightly so you always knew they were in the ba
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the mayhem and silliness contrasted to the violence and desperation of the story. However, I also wish I could see it, rather than read about it. It's really hard to describe something akin to Buster Keaton or Jackie Chan, because just describing the hilarity of a physical joke, or a amazing feat of physical dexterity and strength, doesn't do it justice. And then to have that contrasted to the background of fear and tragedy, would make this more powerful.

Without trying to compare it t
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book didn't capture me right off the bat. It seemed a bit scattered and insubstantial at first - weird for the sake of being weird. But there's a level of bizarre and disturbing that grows in the background as you read and it becomes compelling. It's also pretty funny and wonderfully kinetic.

Oddly, this book reminds me of reading histories of tumultuous times. History tells the big picture stories but it can't really tell you what it must have been like for regular folk living through dange
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Harkaway's The Gone-Away World
Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is a frenetic, mind-meltingly weird book, and Charlie Jane Anders pulls it off so well. She takes this incredibly dark imagined American future of economic collapse, fascism, and war, and sets it in the background of a manic stuntman's life story as he makes crazy YouTube videos tries to figure out what to do with his life. The comedy and strange optimism of Rock's life makes th
Kate Jonuska
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The perfect novella for our time, Rock Manning stars a slap-stick viral star in a world on the brink. A gang coup, a crumbling economy, violence in the streets — and stunts with an Oscar Meyer weinermobile! I read this in two short sittings and can see it being go-to reading in the future for times of extreme agitation, when the soul can only be soothed by good literature.

But just one wee little thing: I flash to Empire Records every time I glimpse this cover. It's Rex Manning Day! Wait, no, it'
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2018_sci-fi
This book is a blending of three short stories into a cohesive novella. It started off see for me but by the end of the first story I was hooked. The plot followed an internet sensation and his partners in filmmaking and oppressive politics and the start of a dystopia. The book both funny and sad. Highly recommend!
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopia, future, novella
It was a book.

I liked the stream of conscious voice and the unique words created to express stuff.

I didn't care for the characters. They were thinly sketched out and to a certain extent, so was the world. It's somewhere between modern day and a dystopia, but it's on the edges. I liked the love of silent movies and how the Rock's voice matures throughout the story.
Galen Strickland
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Net Galley for the advance e-book.

I loved this. Kinetic, frenetic, a true roller coaster ride, full of pain and heartache, but also a weird sense of humor. Highly recommended.

Full review at
Michael Frasca
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang or a whimper, but a pratfall.

Would make a great movie if they could get Charlie Chaplin to direct, with Harold Lloyd starring as Rock Manning.

Pairs well with the book John Dies at the End and the movie Safety Last!

Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice mood for this zippy light read. Some of the characters didn't gel for me (Zapp? maybe he had some action that got edited out). And I did wonder what they were eating during all this national disruption. See CJA's 'Minnesota Diet' story for that angle.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book! The world is in a surreal, post-truth, fascist, dystopian death-spiral but Rocky & Sally have decided to start making Buster Keaton inspired slapstick internet videos. So that cool.
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I'm the author of All the Birds in the Sky, and the forthcoming The City in the Middle of the Night. Plus a short story collection called Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, and a novella called Rock Manning Goes For Broke.

I’m probably the only person to have become a fictional character in a Star Trek novel and in one of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City books.

I used to write for a site calle