A review of


by Steve Erickson

Central question: Is there any such thing as continuity?
Format: 352 pp., paperback; Size: 5" x 8"; Price: $14.95; Publisher: Europa Editions; Print run: 10,000; Book design: Emanuele Ragnisco; Typeface: Simoncini Garamond; Number of author’s novels that have been optioned for movies: 3; Number produced: 0; French New Wave Dystopic Deconstructionist Film which gave Zeroville its title: Alphaville; Representative sentence: “‘The scenes of a movie,’ Vikar says, “can be shot out of sequence not because it’s more convenient, but because all the scenes of a movie are really happening at the same time.’”

Since his 1985 debut, Days Between Stations, Steve Erickson has published extraordinary novel after extraordinary novel, each one exploring a different terrain of our national psyche. If there’s a surrealist quality to his fiction, it’s likely because Erickson recognizes as well as any artist working today the surrealist quality of our real world. That being said, I hope he doesn’t quit his day job. As a film critic for Los Angeles magazine, he clearly appreciates the cultural relevance—and limitations—of cinema like no thinker since Walter Benjamin, and his massive body of Hollywood knowledge, lore, and theory informs his magnificent Zeroville in countless ways.

Mind you, any synopsis of Zeroville is doomed to fail, either from vagueness or from the wanton spoiling of its many surprises. The numbered chapters reel up to 227, which in its entirety reads, “Vikar doesn’t know it, but everything now has been reset to zero.” After that, the chapter numbers unspool back down to the final page.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Andrew Ervin

Andrew Ervin’s story “The Phillie Phanatic” will appear in the next issue of Fiction International. He lives in Champaign, Illinois.

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