Edge of the Known Bus Line

Etchings Press, University of Indianapolis

ISBN 978-0-9988976-0-8

134 pages

Published May, 2018

In Edge of the Known Bus Line, a woman’s daily commute takes an abrupt turn when she’s dropped off in a grotesque shantytown. The townsfolk live in huts and tents scavenged from broken trinkets. They eat dead rats and human flesh. They’ve developed cult-like religions about miracle bus routes that will someday set them free. The narrator searches for a way out of this surreal hellscape while dredging up a few nightmares of her own.

“Disturbingly hilarious and weirdly affecting, Gapinski’s novella is a stunning fable about what it means to live in late capitalism, an answer to our great predicament: how, indeed, do we ‘carve something dead into something that matters’? Hallucinatory, savage, but ultimately hopeful, Edge of the Known Bus Line is a bloody bible for our times.”

–Maryse Meijer, author of Heartbreaker

“Part Kafka-esque dystopia, part Lord of the Flies, part modern allegory, James R. Gapinski’s novella Edge of the Known Bus Line takes us on a one-way trip to the end of civilization and the beginning of what it means to be human.”

–Melissa Reddish, author of Girl & Flame

“It’s the protagonist’s steely determination to fight her way out of her circumstances that makes Edge of the Known Bus Line compelling, fierce, and ultimately human.”

–Liz Kellebrew, review in Pif Magazine

“This is a bus we’ve all been on, and this is a town we all carry around with us. The only question is: will James R. Gapinski let us out where we want, or where we deserve?”

–Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels

“The apocalyptic nightmare that James R. Gapinski conjures is unsettling from the start. The road signs, dripping yellow paint, could be from a horror movie, and the air shimmers with heat and menace. There is a black hole that consumes people and spits them out covered in sores and with fatal conditions. The rituals of this society are hard to interpret, and a failure to conform has dire results. We are led through this strange world by a freelance butcher who becomes an unlikely hero in a rotting state where dead ravens litter the landscape and starvation is endemic. This horrifying, bleak tale is also blackly comic. Swallow it whole.”

–Laura E. Joyce, author of Luminol Theory