Rock Manning Goes for Broke
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 Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Jackie Chan. With his best friend, Sally Hamster, he creates joyfully chaotic short movies that are full of mayhem and silliness.But Rock and Sally are becoming famous at a time of unrest, when America's economy has collapsed and people are taking refuge in highly addictive drugs. America's youth are being drafted to take part in endless wars against imaginary enemies overseas, while at home, a fascist militia known as the Red Bandanas is rising to power. As America becomes more mired in violence and destruction, Rock Manning's zany comedy films become the escapist fun that everybody needs.Over-the-top physical comedy and real-life brutality collide, as Rock and Sally find themselves unable to avoid getting sucked into the slow implosion of their country. The Red Bandanas want Rock Manning to star in propaganda films promoting their movement, and soon Rock and Sally are at the center of the struggle for the soul of America. The trauma and death that Rock witnesses begin to take a toll on him.When a botched weapon test plunges the world into deeper chaos, Rock and Sally must confront once and for all the outer limits of comedy.

Rock Manning Goes for Broke Details

TitleRock Manning Goes for Broke
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 30th, 2018
PublisherSubterranean Press
ISBN-139781596068780
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Novella, Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy

Rock Manning Goes for Broke Review

  • Crowinator
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • unknown
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 youth reaches into adulthood and gets its wrist slapped. There is a sweetness here that's not remotely cloying, side-by-side with harsh realities and a sense of impending doom—the kind of doom which can only be held off by memes and viral videos for so long, and which steals all the air from the room, leeches the blood from the bodies of friends and not-quite-friends, and slams the lid down on the human urge to make art in the face of apocalypse.This isn't slapstick fun, no matter what other reviews say. This is an earnest grappling with the intractable forces which govern our lives, skinned over with whimsical, surrealist dark comedy. Anders asks: What to do in the face of the cruel inevitabilities of war and chaos? Make art. Make the best, wildest, weirdest art you can. It may not tame the world's untamableness, but it may just transform the artist—and reader.
    more
  • Tim Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 disturbing layer here, about people who try to just carry on as the world falls apart because what else CAN they do? In the world of this book, it's clearly too late now. Are we going to let our world go there?
    more
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 special limited edition of 1500 copies, signed by the author, and it was on display rather than just shelved (also how I came across an earlier book by this author). Anyway, it has a wonderful cover illustration which caught my eye, and once I saw the author's name I grabbed it immediately, despite having a pile of books at home already. Thanks and congratulations to all involved in this perfect package!
    more
  • Lianne
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 friend Sally as they survive high school, college, and the collapse of the government, what makes this story work is the underlying heart that is central to all of Anders' work. While the actions these characters take are always wild and surprising, they're never random or without motivation. They follow their own logic, even if it's a logic that I would never be able to predict or replicate. It's hard to pull out evidence from the book to back up these claims, but I don't want to spoil the surprises and rob anyone of the delight I felt when reading this. But here's this quote, one of my favorite moments, because it seems to encapsulate all of my favorite things about this narrator and this novella. Rock is talking about Sally's refusal to incorporate a love story into their latest film, even when her boyfriend is acting in it too:"She was just dead set against goo-goo eyes. I always tried to remind her about that old saying, that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, because what could be more romantic than a school of fish, perched on bikes at the bottom of the ocean, pedaling like wild with all their fins?" The whole thing is just so damn good, just like everything else I've read by Anders. It's hilarious and heartbreaking, laugh and cry on the same page, slapstick and so so serious. 10/10 would ride again. (Thanks so much to Subterranean Press and Netgally for the advance copy!)
    more
  • Tamara Temple
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 film projects. Bigger players get involved, and Things Get Complicated [TM].The best thing I love about Charlie Jane's writing is her characters. No matter what situation they find themselves dropped into (which is also a great part of CJA's writing!), they have a lot of heart and fortitude to plow through whatever it going on. They're real, too: they fight, they crab, they rant, and no one is really pure anything. Huge, huge recommend
    more
  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    Yes.
  • Chessa
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Kathryn Kania
    January 1, 1970
    Tragic, amazing, I loved this
  • Miriam
    January 1, 1970
    Great little novella that reads like 100 miles an hour.
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 is how the devolution of American society creeps up on the reader (presciently, I would venture these days, with simultaneous willful denial that we would ever let it happen, but...). Snippets of the unraveling of the social fabric are seen first as passing asides or details in the observations of the title protagonist, only later becoming plot points, and ultimately the central conflict. Anders' tale is ultimately one of hope, but in that rarefied sense of Margaret Atwood's or Cormac McCarthy's nightmarish visions of the post-apocalypse. Only, this tale shows how the apocalypse comes about.I leave you with some fantastic quotes, which will give you a sense of the jarring juxtapositions that occur in this powerful tale. I often found myself laughing at the absurdity of it all. Perhaps that is Anders' point.[W]ith ice cream, all things are possible.Vacuum cleaner salesmen are the natural enemies of gladiators.But Janelle was scary patient, and kept talking themes [such as] the impossibility of really knowing other people because the closer you get to them the harder it is to see the whole person.When everything is turning into bloody shit, that's when people need Vikings against Steampunks more than ever.And finally, the quote of the book:All my life, there had been a giant empty space, a huge existential void, that had needed to be filled by something, and I had never realized that that thing was the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, with its sleek red hot-dog battering ram surrounded by a metal bun.
    more
  • Michael Howley
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • David Scrimshaw
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Kally
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Cam
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 of already (and wasn't too impressed that time either.) Maybe I'm just not hipster enough? Who knows, but reminded me of my "and why is this even published" moments with Cory Doctorow or Paulo Bacigalupi.
    more
  • Jeannette McCalla
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Antonio
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 background, like Rock’s brother’s death in some never ending middle east war, while using Rock's hi-jinx as a contrast to the insanity. I wish there had been more of the story and more focus on Rock’s relationship with Sally but it was still a great story of facing the absurdity of existence with even more absurdity. Charlie Jane was pretty efficient in getting three great stories across in not a lot of pages.
    more
  • Hollowspine
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 to anything else, the story is still powerful and fun and sad at the same time. I was really rooting for Rock and his friends to make it even with the odds against them and the world falling apart around them. For a short read, really packed a punch.
    more
  • John
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 dangerous times: how people went about their day-to-day in the midst of everything. Rock Manning Goes for Broke accomplishes what history can't - it lets me feel what it's like to be a regular person living through big, dangerous events.
    more
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 this a fun read, even as the details of Rock's world are shocking.
    more
  • Kate Jonuska
    January 1, 1970
    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' 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's Rock Manning, but Rock is pretty cool so I'll forgive him the mild cognitive dissonance. 😜
    more
  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    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!
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Jenine
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Michael Frasca
    January 1, 1970
    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!
    more
  • Galen Strickland
    January 1, 1970
    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 http://templetongate.net/rockmanning
  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Y
  • Star Five
    January 1, 1970
    I’d probably rate this somewhere between 3 and 4? It felt too short. Just as I got into it it was almost over.
Write a review