The Extra


Polyphemus UK

Polyphemus UK



A collection comprising: “The Autopsy”, “The Angel of Death”, “Polyphemus”, “Uncle Tuggs”, “The Pearls of the Vampire Queen”, “The Horror on the #33”, and “The Extra”

Sauk City, Arkham House Publishers Inc., 1988

World Fantasy Best Collection Finalist (1988): Polyphemus

Foreign Edition:

Polyphemus, London, Grafton Books, 1991

The Extra (audiobook)

The Extra

The Extra

The Extra is set in a future California where members of a desperate populace sign contracts to participate in reality death films, knowing that less than twenty percent of them will survive. It’s a view of the future—and Hollywood—as delightfully cynical as Kurt Vonnegut, with sympathetic characters, Hollywood executive sleazeballs, and much more.



Patton Oswalt/ actor, comedian

“The Extra packs more violence, hilarity and speed freak action in its throw-away asides than most science fiction books build an entire story around.  This is a hot ticket.”

Peter Straub – Author of Ghost Story & many other

“Michael Shea has been writing dazzling books of fantasy and horror since the early eighties, and over, the intervening decades, readers who come to him for the first time invariable wind up asking themselves, Where has this guy been all my life?  Shea offers a combination of gifts unique to him, I think: an innately edgy feel to the writing; a descriptive ability comparable to that of Jack Vance; a wild, blazing imaginative capacity; and a sense of humor permanently set to what riflemen used to call “rock and roll”.  The Extra starts out at a dead run and accelerates from there effortlessly wrapping the reader into its tale of gone-to-hell L.A. and the little band of gutsy starvelings with blood on their hands.”

Sam Hamm – Screenwriter Batman, Monkeybones, etc.

“I have been reading Michael Shea religiously for years, and while his work is always original, always disturbing, I do not believe he has ever written a book as exhuberant, energetic and gleefully mordant as The Extra.  In Mr. Shea’s witty extrapolation of current trends in popular entertainment, a down trodden trio of urban gladiators must surive the most lethal technology Hollywood can devise in order to earn a few clacks, sell a few tickets, and escape the “zoo” of L.A.  In other words, it’s show business as usual: you’re either killing or dying.  Horror, humor, action, pathos, bread, circuses, giant mechanical spiders — Oh hell, where can I buy a ticket?”

Stuart Gordon – Producer/ writer- Fear Itself and others

“Michael Shea puts his people in the damdest  nightmares.  He puts you in there with him, and drives the whole lot of you through a delirium of breakneck action and mad invention– hilarity and Hellfire itself. Wanna be in the movies?  Step inside…”

Marc Laidlaw – Author & Half-Life Game Designer

“All the hallmarks of Shea’s much lauded storytelling are here: strong, sinewy sentences, muscular metaphors, crafty characters immersed in action both horrific and hilarious. What’s really new is a greater generosity of spirit.  As the action revs up, we get to love these characters and when the sawed-offs start blasting through the crush of

spider-hordes, you feel both the recoil of the shotguns and the leaping hopes of our heroes’ hearts.”

Laird Barron – Author, The Imago Sequence & others

“Shea’s prose is brutal and his mood savage in this horror how glimpse of things to come.  The Extra presages a dystopia we Westerners can witness going up, brick by brick.  Bare knuckles satire at its finest.”

John Shirley – Screenplay writer The Crow, Author Bleak History & Others

“Michael Shea’s The Extra offers intensity, great characters, action, satire that may well be prescient, fine writing and intelligent nonstop entertainment.  What do you want, dammit?  This is the one!”


Seamus Sweeny, SF Site

Hillary Williamson, Book Loons

Paul Witcover, Locus Magazine

Mike Berry, SF Chronicle

Blood of the Muse

John Ottinger III, Grasping for the Wind

The Speculative Scotsman

Robert Thompson, Fantasy Book Critic

Graeme Flory

Colin Azariah-Kribbs, Fantasy Magazine

Eric Himmelsbach, LA Times

Joseph Hoyos, SF Revu

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