Joam was a hotshit courier in a Los Angeles falling apart, where you lived or died by your reaction time behind the wheel.

Problem Number 1: A freelance courier was an easy target. If the raging wildfires didn't get you, then the motorized criminal gangs would, and if they didn't get you, then the militias would for sure. And don't forget the bats. Those goddamn bats...

Joam was the best, but the best wasn't good enough. Eventually, he knew, he'd just be a splat on the pavement, frying in the 120 degree sun.

Problem Number 2: Automation and civil disturbance and a flat-lined economy had pretty much killed the job market. You either drove or you begged or you stole. Those were your options, shitty as they were.

So instead of getting out, Joam decided to go in. Further inside the car than anyone had ever gone before.

Electing for experimental vehicle-integration surgery, Joam is merged with his ride. Now Joam's not only the fastest, most feared courier in LA: he's a fucking legend. The man who never gets out of the car.

Problem Number 3: The experimental surgery was experimental. Joam's body is falling apart. Pretty soon he'll just be consciousness trapped within a machine. Working forever and ever and ever, just to pay the gas bill.

That's no kind of damn life.

Joam wants to feel the sun again on his face one last time. He'll kill for it. Hell, he'll die for it.

And then he gets an offer from an enigmatic stranger: drive a mysterious black box across the former United States to the Statue of Liberty.

The payoff: Joam'll be removed from his car, made whole again. Human again.

Problem Number 4: The United States don't work no more. It's fallen the fuck apart, home to warring militias, AI-run citystates, and extreme storms.

And then there's another driver, more legendary than even Joam, who'll be on his ass the whole way...

Only one thing to do...ACCELERATE


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Brendan C. Byrne writes fiction for places like Big Echo and Terraform, criticism for places like Rhizome and Filmmaker Magazine. His novella The Training Commission, co-written with Ingrid Burrington, appeared in 2019. His novella, The Showing of the Instruments, appeared in 2011.

Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Tomislav Tikulin began his career as a graphic designer and comic colorist. He was also involved in the production of point & click adventures as a 2D background artist. Tikulin has vast experience creating digital illustrations: book covers, posters, DVD jackets, and production design illustrations. His main interest is science fiction, fantasy and horror illustration, with magazine and book publishing clients from all around the world, such as Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, PS publishing, Subterranean Press, Cemetery Dance Publications, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, Editions J'ai Lu and many others. Tomislav's artwork has graced the covers of many SF and fantasy books including Larry Niven's Ringworld Engineers, Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Stephen King's Carrie and Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine (50th Anniversary Edition).

Proving that the US Road novel will never die, but only continue to transmogrify in ways never guessed a hundred years ago, Accelerate comes at us full-tilt, in unexpected side directions but ultimately head-on. Reads like ‘80s cyberpunk, the real quill, but even faster. Highly recommended!

Jack Womack, author of Random Acts of Senseless Violence

Like a post-collapse, body horror reinvention of The Fast and The Furious, Byrne’s Accelerate hurtles straight into the heart of the American dream—endless freeways and hermetically sealed automobiles. Breathless and exhilarating, you’ll barely have time to take in the burning skies and ghost cities you’ll pass on this impossible road trip—one last coast-to-coast drive through flyover country. Just don’t ever try and get out of the car.

Tim Maughan, author of Infinite Detail and Ghost Hardware

With white-line fever and pure algorithmic drift, Brendan Byrne’s Accelerate channels the great American road movies through kinetic prose as he maps the bleeding edge of our fractured future. Like a post-cyberpunk Vanishing Point, wicked smart and perfectly tuned, this little book delivers the goods.

Christopher Brown, Campbell and World Fantasy Award-nominated author of Tropic of Kansas and Rule of Capture

Brendan Byrne’s Accelerate is a killer read, a hypnotic stumble off the roof of our future. Think Mad Max by James Joyce. Byrne’s tingly neologisms are abyssal creatures of the deep. Plot? Seems honkee, w(0)2bot, and [‘ill] are trying to stop our hero Joam from driving his beater from Concrete Jane’s LA to the Statue of Liberty. The racers are embedded in their sentient vehicles like sick fetuses in hotrod iron lungs. Joam would like to get out of his car some day, which is a very relatable longing for our time. I reiterate that Byrne’s language is a feast. Like, honkee was “raised in an Atomwaffen commune up in Ecotopia.” And [‘ill] is an ill Jill, with her face “shot right through with machine down to her unchanging smile.” Transcyberpunk. At the end of Joam’s run he meets a small figure who has “a bald head, deep black eyes set back into a cadaver’s grinning skull, no teeth.” Hi, boss! Was the race a dumbass bet? Or has Joam proved our country be healed by a right-on run? Choose option (b).

Rudy Rucker, author of the Ware Tetralogy