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.

Advance Praise for Edge of the Known Bus Line

“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

“The apocalyptic nightmare that James R. Gapinski conjures is unsettling from the start . . . 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 Ellen Joyce, author of The Luminol Reels

“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

“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

Press for Edge of the Known Bus Line

“Gapinski’s surrealist novella doles out dark comedy, visceral detail, and deft commentary in equal measure . . . Brilliant and brutal; a thrilling story surrounding complex, nuanced considerations of nihilism, optimism, and our own existential reality.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This novella is warped, bizarre and downright mental — key things for a great read.”

–Pamela Scott, The Book Lover’s Boudoir

Edge of the Known Bus Line . . . sticks with you long after you’re finished reading.”

–Jess Combs, Combing Through the Pages

“The book is vivid and visceral, awakening all my senses and occasionally turning my stomach without ever entirely turning me away. I was far too compelled by the story to put it down . . . Every word in this book serves its purpose. The novel has been crafted and edited to perfection.”

–Jo Niederhoff, Seattle Book Review

“A wonderfully creepy and frightful book . . . Four-and-a-half stars for making my skin crawl but leaving me wanting more at the same time.”

–Chris Hayden, San Francisco Book Review

“Excellent writing, wonderfully twisted plot, and completely enthralling.”

Reads and Reels

“[Edge of the Known Bus Line] he novel is a harsh critique on humanity and at times a brazen reflection on our own culture, but it’s also a poignant one.”

–Michael Barron, Atticus Reviews

What booksellers are saying about Edge of the Known Bus Line

“A horrible little adventure, funny, dark, and weird, just the way I like ’em . . . It’s a story about survival, about holding onto hope against all odds that there’s someday an escape from the life you’ve been dropped into, about the way that hope alienates you, and about the monster you might become. Oh, and it’s about tripping on psychedelic spider venom. This one goes by fast, but it sticks with you and leaves you thinking, maybe being a monster isn’t the worst thing.”


–Chris Lee, Boswell Books

“Haunting, apocalyptic, survivalistic and surreal are some of the words that come to mind after reading this breakout novella in which the author’s imagination, born of a dark and creepy place for sure, shows us both the best and worst human nature has to offer in unforeseen and extreme circumstances. I absolutely loved this nightmarish tale, with its lovable anti-hero, a girl who grew up on a farm and now works as a butcher at a deli; its grisly, ashen, hellish, craggy world; and its ephemeral, perfect writing. I can honestly say I’ve never encountered a book like this; it is refreshingly original, and I highly recommend it.”

–Samantha Kolber Pyatak, Bear Pond Books