It’s time for blueblood Bernard Johnson to leave his boring life behind and go on The Vacation, a yearlong corporate-sponsored odyssey. But instead of seeing the world Bernard is captured by terrorists, becomes a key figure in secret drug wars, and, worse, doesn’t once miss his secure American Dream.
Here’s what they’re saying about Vacation:
"Readers looking for light horror genre reading may be disappointed at the effort and attention required to explore this brief, yet dense book, but those who accept the challenge will be rewarded with an engrossing 'vacation' into the world of post-modern, phenomenological, existential, but nonetheless truly enjoyable fiction."
—Scott Lefebvre for
Icons of Fear
"It packs a dizzyingly, stomach lurching, punch to the brain...It's one of the rare books that once I finished it, I started to read it again pretty much straight away."
"Some will find it too challenging, much like Mark Z. Danielewski's The House of Leaves, only a hell of a lot shorter. But for those readers who are seeking something different in the current all too predictable genre fictions, Shipp delivers a vision of strangeness and truth, and a character who could be the everyman in all of us who sometimes find life too complicated and overwhelming. It is easy to feel the author's confusion and cynicism with the real world, but it's how he helps Johnson find his own sense of peace by tale's end that displays the author's maturity and compassion. I hope to see much more from this fresh voice in literature."
"This is a fun book! It's gruesome in spots, wildly psychotic sometimes, and yes, irreal, but also fun."
"Mixing fun, social issues, and heartache, Shipp's novel is a well-rounded and entertaining read...a diverse, unpredictable, and intelligent read. Two thumbs up!"
—Midwest Book Review
"Shipp's prose is stripped down to pure muscle and anger. But there's a polished literary tone at work here as well, with lots of heavy-duty references to highfalutin' litrachur. It's like finding T. S. Eliot's early punk-rock record. Vacation is remarkably polemic and didactic, but Shipp's conviction is convincing. He directly addresses the myriad forms of injustice in a plot that is part nightmare, part science fiction, part literary essay. "
—The Agony Column
"This is a headtrip worth taking, and a short, fast-paced one at that. It's full of lines and passages worth more than a few post-it notes, but really, the whole thing is worth a reread. There's something energetic and purposeful about every string of words in here, telling the reader when to stop and go and pause for a minute...Get your hands on this one now."
"Vacation is a wild romp through the fertile imagination of Jeremy Shipp."
— Bradley Sands, author of It Came from Below the Belt
"Vacation irresistably reminds the reader of Chuck Palahniuk's acerbic social commentary, but with less gore and more science fiction trappings. The novel deftly points out discomfiting truths about American society and the global tourist industry while keeping the reader entertained by Johnson's misadventures through a world in which nothing is what it seems. Jeremy Shipp delivers a first novel that is surprisingly readable and thought-provoking; one worthy of being included in a college course on dystopian fiction."
"Jeremy C. Shipp's Vacation is a surreal, bizarre, and utterly captivating tale. This ambitious story covers a lot of territory: it's disturbing, funny, thoughtful, and even touching. A wildly unpredictable first novel from one WEIRD author. "
—Jeff Strand, author of The Sinister Mister Corpse
"It's rare to find a work that claims to be a mind-bender actually live up to its claims, but Jeremy Shipp's Vacation does just that. Imagine the finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey set in a deceptively everyday world that quickly— and effectively—jumps into William S. Burroughs territory by way of Donald Barthelme...and even that comparison won't prepare you for the head-trip that awaits you in these pages. The mundane turned mystical turned metaphysical turned indescribable. This is a genuinely one-of-a-kind trip, and one you won't want to miss. "
—Gary A. Braunbeck, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award-winner, author of Prodigal Blues, Destinations Unknown, and Mr. Hands
"None of the usual accolades work for Jeremy Shipp's Vacation. The reader is not amazed, astounded, or aggrieved - the reader is achingly curious, alarmingly moved, and at the end, astonished by the vision and darkness and redemption. No one writes like Shipp, and that's a great thing."
—Susan Straight, author of A Million Nightingales
"I'm convinced Jeremy Shipp is a little bit crazy, in the best possible way. Vacation is edgy, surreal, and original. This is one of those books that alters your brain in a way similar to Philip K. Dick. A very good first novel."
—Jeff VanderMeer, author of City of Saints & Madmen and Shriek: An Afterword
"I don't think there has been a more aptly titled book in recent memory than Jeremy Shipp's Vacation. This sprawling psychological pseudo-fantastical surrealistic mind-trip of an adventure story demands that you step out--far, far, far out--of your comfort zone, and embrace the possibilities of a universe that may be a dream, a nightmare, or just wishful thinking. Vacation is a headfirst dive into the rabbit hole, assuming those rabbits lined their burrow with mirrors, because as bizarre as this novel ultimately appears to be on the surface, there's very little here that we won't find in ourselves, assuming we're brave enough, and know how and where, to look. For now, we will have to content ourselves with author Shipp's efforts to do that very thing on our behalf."
—Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Currency of Souls, The Turtle Boy, and The Hides
"This is an intriguing, challenging, literate, provocative novel I'm not sure I understand and suspect I'm not meant to… I recommend it to those who find reality boring; it may make them see it in new ways."
— Piers Anthony, author of the Xanth series
“Vacation is a potent social theory, a spiritual hopscotch from start to finish. With interesting scenarios and thought-provoking dialog, it is a compelling reason for fans of psychological fantasy to look up Jeremy Shipp.”
— Jesse Gordon, author of The Reformed Citizen