Neutron Gun Reloaded: A Gerry Reith Reader | Gerry Reith, Denis McBee & Chip Smith
On April 7 1984, in the small city of Sheridan Wyoming, Gerard Bennet Reith died at his writing desk of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. He was 25.
While the details of Reith’s suicide remain hazy and subject to apocryphal embellishment, the work he produced during his apogee as a writer for a raft of underground publications left an indelible impression in the minds of those who discovered it. Consorting at the bleeding edges of what has since been described as the “marginals milieu” of the pre-Internet era, Reith traded arts and letters with a motley coterie of avant garde outsiders whose only alliance distilled to a spirit of freewheeling creative rebellion.
Athwart and among these misfits who inhabited and cultivated the mail-order demimonde that preceded Anonymous and the chans and cryptocurrencies and 3D-printed gun schematics and incel manifestos and myriad manifestations of digital mischief that would later complicate the Spectacle, Gerry Reith produced essays and criticism, poetry and prosody, broadsides and collages, but most notably allegories and metafictions. And his work invariably stood out. Reith’s best writing was marked by mordant wit and controlled experimentation, but the cumulative gravamen of his protean literary and epistolary endeavors was to interrogate and celebrate the prospect of freedom in a universe governed by venal agendas and brute entropy.
Neutron Gun Reloaded: A Gerry Reith Reader is the first collection of Gerry Reith’s writings to be published in more than three decades. In addition to reprinting the core texts signed for the 1985 Neither/Nor Press edition of Neutron Gun, this volume presents a broad selection of Reith’s lesser-known writings culled from long-defunct small circulation publications. Featuring a new foreword by Reith’s former publisher Denis McBee as well as an introduction by Nine-Banded Books publisher Chip Smith and a bibliography of Reith’s extant writings compiled by Bob Black, this is the definitive introduction to the largely forgotten work of a writer who lived and died before his time.
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