featured works

The Extra Trilogy

by on Jan.19, 2010, under featured works, news, reviews


LA Times February 2010

‘The Extra’ by Michael Shea

…He envisions a Hollywood in which “live action” is quite literally that — action scenes resulting in actual death…

“The Extra” is mostly a pulpy comic book that’s equal parts bromance, over-the-top Hollywood satire and blood-spewing horror tale.

It’s dark and ridiculous, but like any death match story worth its salt, it traffics in just enough plausibility to make us feel unsettled.

As the extras fight for their lives, the behind-the-scenes bloodlust transforms the book from sci-fi bombast into a deliciously depraved morality tale.

Sure, “The Extra” is brutally over the top, and its characters function more as types than flesh and blood. But Shea’s broad strokes are pretty vibrant and never less than fully entertaining.

You know, it’s a spectacle. Can’t wait to see the movie.

By Erik Himmelsbach, Los Angeles writer and producer.

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LocusLocus Magazine January 2010
Review by Paul Witcover

The novel is pubbing in early February–an early valentine for anyone who loves movies…

Nathanael West set his outrageous Hollywood apocalypse, The Day of the Locust, in the Depression; Michael Shea sets his in a depressed near future that West would have recognized and appreciated.

The future of The Extra reads as an all-too-likely extrapolation of the present day, with a government run by a coterie of multinational corporations known as the Corps and a highly stratified and static social order that pits the lower classes against the middle classes for the benefit of the upper classes.

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Shea’s prose is brutal and his mood savage in this horror show 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.

-Laird Barron, Author Imago Sequence

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!”

– John Shirley, Author of multiple books and Screenwriter, The Crow

THE EXTRA packs more violence, hilarity and speed-freak action in its throw-away asides that most science fiction books build an entire story around. This is a hot ticket.

– Patton Oswalt, Actor and Comedian

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 exuberant, energetic and gleefully mordant as The Extra. In Mr. Shea’s witty extrapolation of current trends in popular entertainment, a downtrodden trio of urban gladiators must survive 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?

-Sam Hamm, Screenwriter of Batman and author

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.

– Marc Laidlaw–author of multiple books and Half-Life game designer

Michael Shea puts his people in the damndest nightmares. He puts you in there with them, and drives the whole lot of you through a delirium of breakneck action and mad invention– hillarity and hellfire itself. Wanna be in the movies? Step inside…….

– Stuart Gordon, Director/ Screenwriter Re-Animator

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 invariably wind up asking, 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; a sense of humor permanently set to what reflemen 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 a little bank of gutsy starvelings with blood on their hands.

– Peter Straub, Author Ghost Story

With The Extra (Tor; 283 pages; $22.99), Michael Shea, the Bay Area author of “Nifft the Lean,” finds a new wrinkle in “the most dangerous game.” Set in a near-future Hollywood, the novel satirizes the current reality-TV craze while delivering plenty of fast-paced, gory thrills.

-Michael Berry, Chronicle Staff Writer


Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Books

In the not-too-distant future, humanity is so decimated by poverty that people will do anything for money.

An innovative producer gives the poor hope by offering them work as extras in a series of “live death” films where they’ll be stalked by giant, blood-thirsty mechanical monsters.

The job is easy – survive.

Audio CD
Audio Cassette

Jim Frenkel / TOR Books purchased a trilogy via agent Eleanor Wood of Spectrum Literary Agency, based upon Michael’s story THE EXTRA. The original short story was included in his World Fantasy Award finalist collection from Arkham House, POLYPHEMUS.

The three novels in the series are:

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Copping Squid and other Mythos Tales

by on Jan.19, 2010, under featured works

Lovecraft Unbound

Lovecraft Unbound

Now available exclusively from PERILOUS PRESS

COPPING SQUID, an astonishing new collection of Cthulhu Mythos fiction by World Fantasy Award winner MICHAEL SHEA, is up for ORDER NOW in a linen-jacketed, signed, limited edition of 250 copies.

Edited by renowned Lovecraftian critic S.T. JOSHI and illustrated by STEVEN GILBERTS, COPPING SQUID represents the inaugural cornerstone of
Perilous Press’s New Millennium Mythos Library, an ambitious plot to revive high-quality small press genre literature for the bibliophilic cultist on a budget.

COPPING SQUID will be available in an affordable, illustrated trade hardcover edition, wherever eldritch vistas of unfathomable transmogrification are sold.

Michael Shea and S.T. Joshi will both attend the World Fantasy Convention on Halloween weekend in San Jose, CA to celebrate the book’s release.

All WFC who purchase the book at the convention will be entered in a drawing to win a signed original Steve Gilberts illustration from Copping Squid.

“The light-crowned bridges, the long, dazzling shorelines––these seemed for all their expansiveness a trivial, weightless decoration, a constellation of fireflies hanging between the abyss of night above, and the oceanic gulf below. And that gulf breathed, as the sea always breathes, but this respiration thrummed with an added presence almost as titanic as the waters themselves, filling those waters with a darker, mightier will than their own, a lurking purpose, the waiting hunger of Something that wore the ocean like a garment.”

––from “Dagoniad” by Michael Shea

Rocked by the gentle sea, the City sleeps; but its dreams are not its own…

With eight psychotropic visions of damnation and transformation in the urban coral reef of San Francisco, COPPING SQUID forms a mosaic of otherworldly menace shot through with glimpses of awe-inspiring majesty: of invisible outsiders and self-medicating seekers whose desperate prayers and hidden rituals lead them to behold their alien reflections in the all-seeing eyes of the secret masters of creation.

With the deceptive ease and streetwise enlightenment of a weird storytelling master, Michael Shea fearlessly sounds the unplumbed depths of the Cthulhu Mythos to witness visions from which traditional cosmic horror has always averted its dark-adapted gaze.


  • “The Battery,”
  • “Tsathoggua,”
  • “The Presentation,”
  • “The Pool,”
  • “Copping Squid,”
  • “Dagoniad,”
  • “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit,”
  • “Fat-Face.”

Now available in quality illustrated hardcover and a signed, limited edition with distinctive jacket art.

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The Autopsy and Other Tales

by on Jan.19, 2010, under Books, featured works

The Autopsy and Other Tales

The Autopsy and Other Tales

Collectors can now own a 563 page single author collection – a massive tome packed with superb stories by Michael Shea, an introduction by Laird Barron.

This collection of his finest fantasy, science fiction, horror and Cthulhu Mythos tales includes the two short novels “I Said the Fly” and “The Color Out of Time” as well as “Fat Face,” “Grunt 12 Test Drive,” “The Rebuke” and may others.

ONLY 500 limited edition cloth copies are available from Centipede Press!

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Chimera – An Anthology of Fiction, Film Essays, and Art

by on Jan.19, 2010, under Books, featured works



A cross between Nyctalops, Whispers, and Famous Monsters!

Originally published Halloween 2005, the goal of Chimera is to publish some fiction, literary essays, film criticism and publishing memoirs in a single package.

Contents include: Dave Curtis on James Turner’s Arkham House ; Stuart Galbraith IV on War of the Gargantuas; a 30-page John Stewart portfolio; an artist’s portfolio by German psychedelic artist Helmut Wenske; Stuart David Schiff on the Origins of Whispers; a small artist portfolio from Mark Tansey; plus: Sigmund Freud, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Flannery O’Connor, Patrick McGrath, Henri Fuseli, Max Ernst, and others. Oh yeah, there’s a lot of essays on film noirs Mildred Pierce, Woman in the Dunes, Detour, and Double Idemnity. Did we mention Michael Shea’s “The Autopsy” in a bizarre typographic treatment?

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