The Making of Miasma
by Henry Escaya
A 0s&1s Original
Cover photograph: Barbershop by Defne Kirmizi
How far and how fast can something truly toxic grow under the right circumstances?
Maxwell Chambers is a self-destructive ad man who prefers a good bender over confronting his most relentless demons: his career is a joke gone too far and he's the family's genetic black sheep. Unlike his brother and late father, Mac isn't born with the abilities of a hero—fameless members of the police force.
After he breaks down at the apex of his career, Mac goes deeper down the rabbit hole than he's ever gone. He wakes up in custody with two options: conscription or participation in the government's latest medical trial. Thinking it's his ticket to normalcy, he chooses the drug.
"Such mind-bending compounds and the delusions they produce are at the center of Henry Escaya’s debut novel The Making of Miasma, threading the joint terrors of freedom and dependence through a tight, unusual sci-fi narrative. Escaya’s alt-contemporary America is one in which synthetic drugs are popularized to the point of mass market utility, wherein whole attitudes and intelligences are distilled into 500mg capsules and pushers remark that 'people don’t come… asking for a drug, they come with a problem.'" — Max Vande Vaarst in The Rumpus.
"Science fiction has hundreds of examples of fictional drugs that serve as plot-points...Dune (1965), the disturbingly literal Dreamshit from Perdido Street Station (2000), and Soma of Brave New World (1932)...However, Miasma stands out from those narratives, where the drugs are an integral part of the world and its social structure. In Miasma, the relationship is reversed: the world and the social structure are an integral part of the drugs themselves...Miasma is chock-full of interesting details, runs on a manic energy that never stops, is full of smart concepts, and finishes with a chilling but inevitable conclusion." — Z. Irene Ying in Strange Horizons.
The Making of Miasma is the debut novel of Henry Escaya (heteronym), a former ad man (and New York resident) himself. He currently resides under the palm trees of Los Angeles, researching celebrity life for his next novel.