A lyrical, apocalyptic debut novel about addiction, friendship, and the struggle for survival at the height of an epidemic.
The sickness started with a single child and quickly spread: you could get high by drinking your own shadow. Artificial lights were destroyed so addicts could sip shadow at night in the pure moonlight. Gangs of shadow addicts chased down children on playgrounds, rounded up old ladies from retirement homes. Cities were destroyed and governments fell. And if your shadow was sipped entirely, you became one of them, had to drink the shadows of others or go mad.
One hundred and fifty years later, what’s left of the world is divided between the highly regimented life of those inside dome cities who are protected from natural light (and natural shadows), and those forced to the dangerous, hardscrabble life in the wilds outside. In rural Texas, Mira, her shadow-addicted-friend Murk, and an ex-domer named Bale search for a possible mythological cure to the shadow sickness—but they must find it, it is said, before the return of Halley’s Comet, which is only days away.
About the Author
Brian Allen Carr splits his time between Indiana and Texas. He is the winner of a Wonderland Book Award and Texas Observer Story Prize. His short fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter, Hobart, Boulevard and others publications. Sip is his first novel.
Praise for Sip
Library Journal Debut of the Month
"For a novel about domed worlds devoid of light, Sip has no shortage of luminosity. The precision of the images in this novel illuminate every scene like the water around a lighthouse. A fable about shadow addicts and sealed-over inaccessible domes feels eerily prescient for the increasing volatile divide in the United States."
—Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear
“In Sip, Brian Allen Carr beautifully cultivates the classic motif of the loss of the shadow to underline, disguised as a speculation about the future, the nightmarish features of our dystopian present.”
—Yuri Herrera, author of Signs Preceding the End of the World
“It’s a post-apocalyptic wasteland and are you on team Dome, team Shadowless Army, team Doc, or team shadow-sipping junkies? I know which team I’m on. Brian Allen Carr’s Sip is funny, literate, crass, dark, violent, lyrical, oddly touching, and totally bat-shit crazy. I loved it.”
—Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock
"Whether one reads Sip as a psychedelic Western or an analogy for a society addicted to bleeding the planet dry of its natural resources, Carr serves up a heady brew with plenty of nightmare fuel."
—San Diego CityBeat
"Fans of postapocalyptic fiction will find it difficult to put down Carr’s haunting debut, which richly details its world’s harsh history while leaving readers enough hope for the future. The title also has excellent YA crossover potential."
—Library Journal, Starred Review
"Feels like an old western crossed with something from Mad Max . . . Sip is a fast-paced, strange and enjoyable leap into a flickering world of addiction."
"Carr has delivered an exceptionally written and entertaining story with great characters and wonderful language."
—This Is Horror
"A stunning speculative concept . . . a surreal futuristic landscape. But at its core is something Western, and something Weird. It’s a high-concept story that never loses sight of the grit."
"A bleak, bizarre, and compelling work, abounding with memorably weird imagery."
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Carr’s premise is crazy and wonderful in equal measure."
"A post-apocalyptic sci-fi Western . . . intriguing core characters."
"Interesting ideas form the core of the novel."
"Like Philip K. Dick or Robert Louis Stevenson before him, Brian Allen Carr's Sip shoots us with a brand new metaphor full of our addictions. One day we'll return to this book after the war began and speak of its shadow-drinkers like we do zombies and vampires and say, 'And this is where it all began. This new wild mythology that was true even then. When the comet returned.' AND TOGETHER WE'LL SIP."
—Scott McClanahan, author of The Sarah Book
"Brian Allen Carr has written a great novel, and Sip will remain engraved in the reader's memory for quite some time."
—Alain Mabanckou, author Black Moses
"An utterly transporting voyage through an oddly sweet, surprisingly funny, and horribly human post-apocalyptic wasteland. As much a celebration of the wonders of our daily existence as it is an indictment of the hungers which bring us low, Brian Allen Carr's Sip inflated my shadow-soaked head and set me floating on strange and beautiful winds. Never before have I so deeply wanted to return to the end of the world."
—Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Skullcrack City
"Sip reads like what might happen if Cormac McCarthy dropped acid and then hallucinated a science fiction novel. Half post-apocalyptic disaster, half weird Western, Sip's a blood-slick trip that's nonetheless humane at its core."
—Brian Evenson, author of A Collapse of Horses
“If this book was a movie I’d go see it again tomorrow; if it was a TV show I’d buy a TV. Brian Allen Carr writes like lightning on the horizon and I’d drink his shadow if I could.”
—Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying