99 Erics: a Kat Cataclysm faux novel
If you wish, you can skip ahead to praise for 99 Erics, read reviews of and excerpts from the book, watch virtual book readings, and check out the Table of Contents.
99 Erics is the winner of the Publishing Triangle’s 2021 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, an Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) 2021 silver medalist in LGBT+ Fiction, and one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books of 2021.
Julia’s long-awaited debut novel regales readers with the adventures (and/or misadventures) of Kat Cataclysm, an ethically non-monogamous bisexual woman and absurdist short fiction writer. 99 Erics is a humorous account of Kat’s experiences writing a book called 99 Erics, which is about her experiences dating ninety-nine different people named Eric. It is more surreal than slutty. Not that there is anything wrong with slutty.
The book is largely comprised of amusing anecdotes from Kat’s dates with various Erics; satirical takes on relationships, sexual conventions, language, the writing process, book publishing, online media, and tech culture; and Kat’s smart yet silly digressions on a variety of topics, including the distorted nature of memories, hipsters, sex toys, sabermetrics, YA dystopian fiction, trendy restaurants, temporal anomalies, Freudian slips, banana slug mating practices, lucid dreaming, the internet of things, poetry slams, and Prince lyrics, to name but a few. These more fanciful passages are seamlessly interwoven with more serious and mundane matters, such as navigating the world as a woman and sexual minority, being an outcast who doesn’t really fit in, struggling to make ends meet, and reconciling one’s past with the present. The end result is a fun and fast read that tackles meaty subjects and contemporary issues along the way.
99 Erics is published by Switch Hitter Press: ISBN 978-0-9968810-4-3 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-9968810-5-0 (ebook), LCCN 2019918543 (print), 278 pages. For media inquiries, review copies, and interview requests, please contact Julia here.
You can purchase 99 Erics right now (in paperback & ebook formats) at all the major online outlets (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Books, Smashwords, etc.). If you wanna test read, you can also download the first 5 chapters for FREE in the following formats: Mobi (for Kindle readers), Epub (for iTunes/Books, Nook, and most other readers), or Pdf (for general computer use). Brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries can order the book via Ingram — you can locate your local bookstores via IndieBound, please encourage them to carry it! And if you like it, please give it a good review at Goodreads, Amazon, and elsewhere.
For a limited time, you can purchase a signed copy of 99 Erics — I am happy to make it out to someone! All details available at that link.
Praise for 99 Erics
“I’ve been a fan of Julia’s forever, and this book has all of her warmth and humor and insight, but also tons of surreal silliness.”
—Charlie Jane Anders, author of The City in the Middle of the Night and All the Birds in the Sky
“Whip-smart, drop-dead-funny metafiction by Oakland trans-bi activist writer Julia Serano.”
—Jan Steckel, author of Like Flesh Covers Bone and The Horizontal Poet
“99 Erics by Julia Serano is fantastic and one of the most fun reading experiences I've had in recent memory!”
—J.E. Sumerau, author of Via Chicago and America through Transgender Eyes
“Take a much needed cathartic break from the craziness of our reality and dive into the delightful clever wackiness of 99 Erics. You'll be glad you did.”
—Amy Butcher, author of Wonderbody and Paws for Consideration
Reviews of 99 Erics
“Serano has written about gender identity and feminism in her nonfiction books Whipping Girl (2007) and Excluded (2013); she explores many of the same ideas in her debut work of fiction. The writing is conversational in style, and though Kat claims to be uninterested in banal descriptions, the scene-setting in various California locales works well. Kat recalls the Manic Pixie Dream Girls so often used in male-oriented stories, but she’s decidedly more warts and all in her presentation, almost too quirky to function, and enthusiastic about her role as ruler of all the Erics. The result is a lovable composite of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1966) and a less murder-y version of Marvel’s Deadpool, using absurdism and humor to break down the fourth wall and the very idea of ‘normal,’ with all its silly little boxes and prejudices. If that makes the book sound serious, it isn’t — and that might be the most effective way it makes its readers think about identity. Knocks down literary conventions, sexual stereotypes, the fourth wall, and more in enthusiastic defense of the weird.”
—Kirkus Reviews (the full review, with a few spoilers, can be found at that link)
“Serano (Whipping Girl) drenches readers in satire and absurdity in this ‘faux novel’ written from the perspective of Kat Cataclysm, a wannabe author who decides to jumpstart her career by introducing more conflict into her life — in the form of dating 99 men named Eric and novelizing the experience. With light chapters that recount Kat’s dates and failed relationships, the tone akin to conversational journal entries or letters to friends, Serano delves into issues of city life and contemporary romance, such as how money destroyed San Francisco or an analysis of Kat’s annoyance when straight men assume bi women will want a threesome … The appeal, here, is in Kat’s noxious encounters with Erics and how she heroically mines them for witty considerations of the absurdities women face when dating — and even occasional catharsis … Takeaway: This meta-fictional satire in which a woman dates 99 Erics will please readers who favor pointed absurdity over emotion. Great for fans of: Daniel M. Lavery’s Something That May Shock And Discredit You, Spike Milligan’s Puckoon.”
—BookLife (the full review, with a few spoilers, can be found at that link)
“99 Erics is such a delightful read! Julia Serano attacks gender norms, sexual stereotypes, gentrification, and homophobia. In addition, she breaks the fourth wall and gets super meta in this romp as her main character, Kat Cataclysm, dates 99 people — each of whom is named Eric. Kat is a writer who wants to learn how to better write conflict, so decides to go on these dates in the hopes of gaining enlightenment, in the process handing us hysterical anecdotes from dates with various Erics. Serano expertly navigates heavy issues while at the same time embracing the absurd. Whip-smart, fast-paced, and drop-dead hilarious, Serano gives us the lighthearted fun read that we all need right now.”
—Publishing Triangle (the full review can be found at that link)
Virtual Book Readings
Fans of 99 Erics may also want to check out General Surgery & Surgeons General: a Kat Cataclysm chapbook (2016). It includes early incarnations of a few 99 Erics chapters, plus numerous novel absurdist short stories and slam poems supposedly penned by Kat. Several of these (including “Reddick’s Appendix,” “Uncanny,” “Stephanie’s Secret,” “Smells Like Teen Dystopia,” “Walks into a Bar Jokes for Nerds,” and “Mr. Prince”) — as well as the chapbook itself — are alluded to or referenced throughout 99 Erics, making this a “must have” for anyone who enjoys uncovering such Easter eggs!
Table of Contents:
1. Eric Number One
2. Materials and Methods
3. Lady Parts
6. Benevolent Dictator
7. My Very First Blog Post
8. Why the Internet Is Like the Worst Thing Ever
10. Publishers Clearing House
12. Fan Fiction
13. Socially Constructed Ice Cream
14. Children of the Corndog
15. Easter Eggs
17. Ethical Slut vs. Confused Slut
18. I’ve Misplaced Chekhov’s Gun
19. Shopping Carts, Part One
21. Punching Versus Sprucing
22. Banana Slug of a Different Color
23. For All Intents and Purposes
24. Shopping Carts, Part Two
25. Writing About Sex Is Like Praying About Agnosticism
26. Ménage à Trois
27. Gut Feelings
28. Law of Averages
29. By Her Bootstraps
30. Origin Story
31. Good Grief
32. Book Cover
33. The One and Only Writing Tip That You Will Ever Need
34. Textbook Answers
35. Freudian Slip
36. Worst Eric Ever
37. Emotionally Labored
38. Bad Actor
39. Days of Future Passed
40. Fucking Expectations
41. Technologically Sound
42. Trombone Lessons
43. Home Base
44. And the Rest
46. Book Tour
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