On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, aging punk Lor Kowalski is unsure of his sanity. He is haunted by hallucinogens and harbingers, strung out on broken stories that he cannot piece together into a lucid whole. Forced to join his old band from a life he'd rather forget, he is dragged north under the spell of a mysterious ad for an Arctic festival tour. As the band members unspool across the surreal snowscapes and frozen wastelands, rogue CSIS agents are hot on their increasingly iced-over heels. But what are ageing punks to rogue agents? Subversive and irredeemable, spectres from a past that must be erased with extreme prejudice. Randy Nikkel Schroeder combines coked-up magic realism with wound-up cyberpunk style.
Praise for Arctic Smoke:
"A wintry and psychedelic elegy to that special Albertan brand of despair. An absurdist punk-rock adventure through counter-counterculture's most otherworldly spaces. Schroeder writes with urgency and grace, vividly describing a zombie capitalist wasteland where the strange becomes familiar and the familiar strange. Read this book."
~ Mike Thorn, author of Darkest Hours
"Unlike anything else out there. Nouns push against verbs in ways we've never seen."
~ Mike Resnick, Hugo Award-winning author of Kirinyaga and Santiago
"Arctic Smoke is a punk rock fever dream. Like Bruce McDonald channelling Anna Kavan, Schroeder's prose hotwires your brain and takes you on a surreal joyride through arcane Canadiana."
~ Greg Rhyno, author of To Me You Seem Giant