Nick Mamatas returned to California in August of last year to become an editor at Viz Media, founding its Haikasoru imprint of Japanese novels in translation. When friends asked him why he was taking a day job after fifteen years of freelance writing, he told them that health insurance would help him pursue his true goal becoming a cage fighter. Mamatas studies tai chi, but the better analogy for his writing, as showcased in his new short story collection, You Might Sleep…, is actually that cage fighting joke itself.
Mamatas’s stories employ an unpredictable array of viewpoints and perspectives, from the wry and bemused to the heartless and bleak. Maybe it is his belief in socialism or a communal love for human beings, maybe it is even because he ended up in speculative fiction even though much of his work is grounded in real world concerns—but the stories are often about people with crazy ideas, some of which turn out well and some of which turn out badly. Reading outside of the confines of the speculative genres allows You Might Sleep to have a wonderful balance of day-to-day concerns (like having to get a day job because the economy is rough) and pulpier concerns (like a cult novelist shucking writing to fight for money).