(Novel, by Alessandro Manzetti,
English translation by Daniele Bonfanti
Independent Legions Publishing, 2018)
Welcome to New Belmarsh Penitentiary, a space farm of human meat, where Slicers dispatch fleeing captives and organs are mechanically excised from the flesh and kept alive. Torture and death in a thousand variations await the dying and the damned.
After the impact of radioactive, disease-bringing meteorite Uxor77 (presenting a new Year 0), a slow but unrelenting apocalypse is triggered. Earth is poisoned, agriculture compromised. In an already over-exploited environment, this leads to a global food crisis. Only the rich can afford what little vegetables and meat remain clean. Cannibalism is just around the corner.
In the year 41 post-Uxor, countries like New France are heavily militarized and entire districts out of control, such as South Paris 5, governed by the criminal boss Big Blue, an “artist” who collects sadistic human installations. The wealthy dine at illegal cannibalistic restaurants like Le Sphinx Tatoué, where they can have sadistic sex and unorthodox meals with “disposable” prostitutes, while mutated rats compete with human wretches on the streets for scraps of food.
New Moon Corporation is making a profit out of this mess, experimenting with new drugs and breeding humans to produce meat for the rich. To this end, NARAKA, aka New Belmarsh Penitentiary, is built on the Moon, a way to control the spreading criminality by removing from the planet the worst scum of Earth. This includes Kiki Léger, former South Paris 5 prostitute turned professional assassin. In Naraka, inmates are slaughtered, packaged, and delivered to Earth in cans, while a lunatic pedophile priest makes up a new heretic religion. Even worse things happen in the lower layers of the underground, hive-like structure …
Tranlsation by Daniele Bonfanti. English version editing by Daniele Bonfanti and Michael Bailey. Cover art by Wendy Saber Core, internal illustrations by Stefano Cardoselli.
Praise for Naraka:
“I am unable to think of a more original novel in any genre. Each paragraph is a delectable new treat in what you should think of as a diabolical Whitman’s Sampler from Hell. I’ve never taken LSD and now I don’t have to; after finishing NARAKA, its hideous, chimeral imagery raced ceaseless Tartarean circles in my brain, like a spew of appalling living things, and I was helpless to stop it. This book is a must-read for fans of any type of heavy-weight non-mainstream fiction, an unparalleled literary carpet-bombing that will warp your mind for some time to come.” — Edward Lee, author of THE BIGHEAD and WHITE TRASH GOTHIC
“Alessandro Manzetti’s NARAKA is a dark, frightening and heartbreaking novel that takes an unflinching look at evil and courage. Highly recommended!” — Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of GLIMPSE and V-WARS
“Alessandro Manzetti’s NARAKA is a wildly original tour de force, a feverish and fascinating nightmare of a novel that gets under your skin and nests there in an alarmingly unsettling way. Many works deal with the darker sides of existence and what it means to be alive, to be human, or something other than human—anything but human—but I have honestly never read anything that does it quite the way Manzetti does it in NARAKA. Raw and deeply disturbing, I can guarantee you NARAKA is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Not to be missed.” – Greg F. Gifune, author of SAVAGE and A WINTER SLEEP
“Welcome to New Belmarsh, Naraka, a space farm of human meat where Slicers dispatch fleeing captives, organs are mechanically excised from the flesh and kept alive, and torture and death in a thousand variations await the dying and damned who reside here.
A gut punch of a novel that brings to mind–and then exceeds–the hellscapes of Dante and Bosch, read NARAKA at your own risk: its images will infiltrate your being and take root in your mind. You cant unvisit Naraka or unsee its unholy delving into what author Alessandro Manzetti so aptly calls “the unaware bestiality of the human race.” – Lucy Taylor, author of THE SAFETY OF UNKNOWN CITIES
“A stark, brutal vision of a future shrouded in darkness and steeped in blood. This is sharp-edged science fiction that claws deeper into your brain with every word you read.” — Tim Waggoner, author of THE MOUTH OF THE DARK
“Naraka” is a term in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology generally translated as “hell.” Naraka, the novel, is a brutal, vivid, hi-tech portrait of a future world where life is cheap, food is scarce, and cannibalism has become the order of the day. One of the major strengths of Naraka lies in its language, which whirlwinds forward with a kind manic intensity that sweeps the reader along with it. Manzetti is a gifted poet, and many of the prose passages here could stand alone as poetry. Highly recommended for literary aficionados of dark and explicit horror.” — Bruce Boston, SFPA Grandmaster, author of DARK ROADS
“This is a wild ride through a new kind of hell. Visceral. Reminiscent of Clive Barker. I don’t know how else to describe it.” — Michael Bailey, Bram Stoker Award Winning Author