NOVEL: THE NEXT FIX
AUTHOR: Matt Wallace
RATING: Five out of five Siggies

There are historic times in your life that you don't know are historical when they happen. It's only years later, when you look back or see some "10 Year Anniversary of X" on TV that you realize, yeah, that was kind of a big deal, and I was there when.

That's the feeling I get when I read THE NEXT FIX. I get that feeling that this book will be some obscure collectible, and that the author will be accepted as one of the best writers of a generation. Not that such a thing guarantees fame and fortune, or even a life that's worth a squirt of pig piss. I mean, look at Jack Kerouac, another "great voice" who winds up croaking from a liver trashed by endless alcohol abuse. But this review isn't about Kerouac, or his liver, or pig urine -- it's about Matt Wallace: young, inventive, hard-boiled and talented.

The stories in THE NEXT FIX reveal a natural writing gift that hasn't even begun to fully awaken. In a few sentences, if not a few words, he creates a character that could be the guy on the bar stool next to you, and a situation that has you trying hard to soak up every word, to not skip ahead because you are so damn eager to learn more about the faraway yet "I did this same damn thing just yesterday" place he created. He makes the future real, not with physics, but with a vibe that screams "my back is killing me from a twelve stim-infused hours while jammed into the crappy ergonomics known as the spaceship's captain's chair, and how the hell am I going to make alimony payments to my wife back on Earth this month?" 

I'm a writer, and when I read Wallace's short stories, his natural ability seems effortless. And if it's not effortless, if he's not just crapping this stuff out of a Rain Man for Literature brain as easily I pass a bran muffin, then his skill level hints at something that makes me want tap out halfway through the first round, because I just can't take it anymore.

Now there is a shitload of talent in the podcasting space. It's not like Wallace is the only one destined for greater things. But for my money, this is the guy that could be the standout, the real deal.

Matt Wallace is flat-out good. If he doesn't keel over from an early heart attack or get shot in the back by a jealous husband (either of which is rather likely), he could be a well-known writer before too long. And when that happens, I'll dig out my copy of THE NEXT FIX and think, I was there when ...

 

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