Murray Sandman has issues:
a debilitating stutter, shoes whose Velcro straps won't stay shut, a basement full of nasty chemicals, and a career as a pricing gun repairman that's fizzling out faster than a tired little meteor.
Oh yeah, and he's afraid of the sun.
Fortunately for Murray, his hometown of North Gaslin is host to Heli-Non, a heliophobia support group. This motley crew includes a self-hating musician, a secretive entrepreneur, a bunch of working-class folks, and mysterious loners like Joe Purple, who hides beneath a different mask each session. But when Murray is robbed of a set of prototype pricing guns, he finds himself unable to turn to the friends he's relied on for years. This time, Murray's going to have to step into the light all by himself.
Once his quest is underway, he quickly realizes that he's looking for more than just some plastic pricers-and that the huge ball of gas in the sky just might be the smallest problem he's got.
Praise for Heliophobia
"The sentences in Christopher X. Ryan's first novel are things of mystery and beauty. Boiled in Chandler, glazed in Thompson, dunked in Gibson, they go down smooth and sweet but also sharp and hard. I thought of books like Super Cell Anemia
by Duncan Barlow or movies like Only Lovers Left Alive
by Jim Jarmusch as I moved through the world they bring into such marvelous, middle-finger-raised focus. I'm excited for the work of this fine, fine writer to be entering the world. Heliophobia
is a fabulous debut and its author someone to watch."
"An impressive debut about a pricing gun repairman with a chronic fear of the sun, Heliophobia
is an odd and hilarious punk album of a novel that manages to be both dark and surreal but also remarkably danceable. A smart, weird joy."