midnight's simulacra

a novel by nick black

read part imusings
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It was at first about the science. It became about the cash. Then it was about personal LSD supplies, and then the world's LSD supply. We didn't intend to become a nuclear power; doing so proved counterproductive.

But understand, please: it was always about the science.

four illustrations: MM on roof, MF in lab, MM in discussion, M at computer

Michael Luis Bolaño is the scion of Mexican oil wealth gone to rut in Texas. Sherman Spartacus Katz is the hyperliterate son of evangelical eccentrics from the North Georgia mountains. One hopes to restore what's been lost, the other to attain what never was. Together they train as engineers; together they study forbidden teachings. By graduation, they're formidably competent, audacious to a fault, ungovernable.

Need illicit precursors? Biosynthesize them in yeast. Need souped-up wheelchairs? Disarm the governors. Need enriched uranium? CO₂ TEA lasers in the garage. Where there's a black market, they disrupt it. Where there's no black market, they create one.

midnight's simulacra is a hysterical, scientifically rigorous, slow burn of a thriller, a modern picaresque, a portrait of autists as young men, and unlike any other novel you've read.

code stoned. debug sober. document drunk.
and never trust the nuclear regulatory commission.

A story of rogue engineering.

front, back, spine covers

direct purchase

Ebook ($10 + tax)

Of course there's no DRM. I'm currently distributing the ebook as PDF and EPUB3 (Amazon distributes a KF8, converted from my EPUB via black box). Buying the ebook gets you both formats, in perpetuity, including access to updates. You'll receive download links immediately following checkout.

Signed hardback ($40 + $8 shipping)
Signed trade paperback ($20 + $5 shipping)

I currently have both hardback and paperback stock. Orders will go out ASAP.
The hardback's cover is case printed. There is no dust jacket. I use local printer BookLogix. Their print quality is outstanding, better than most of what I've seen from the KDP/Ingram complex (print quality of both KDP and Ingram has been better than expected, though they show some variation from facility to facility). I cannot yet bill beyond the borders of the USA; hit me up and we can arrange something shady involving paypal.

I'll sign copies, and write whatever inscription you'd like. You can specify an inscription at checkout. If you do not specify anything, or you try to get cute (any "inscribe a complete and consistent formal system blah blah", "inscribe a sentence which cannot be inscribed", "inscribe the decimal value of π", "i invest NAME with power of attorney" type of Gödel/Chaitin/Kaufman horseshit), results are undefined, and I'll write what I damn well please.

If you don't want your print edition signed, I'd recommend purchasing from Amazon, as you're likely to get cheaper and faster shipping.

If you think the book costs too much, there are plenty of BitTorrent trackers where you can get it for free. I like myanonamouse. I'd hope in that case that you buy it if you like it, or perhaps bring me a warm meal, or at least cry out at the moment of your next orgasm "midnight's simulacra was the shiiiiiiiiit!" If you purchased a printed copy, please download the PDF with my blessings.

over 5,000 copies sold!

484 pages.
paperback dimentions: 5.5x8.5 in, 576g (isbn: 979-8-9895236-1-0)
hardback dimensions: 6x9 in, 809g
(isbn: 979-8-9895236-0-3 on amazon, 979-8-8691196-1-2 elsewhere)

partial bibliography

I'm sure I've missed a few.


Where no edition is specified, assume first edition.


Personal communications


  1. part i: verwirrung—chaos
    1. coming of age in confusion
    2. sherman katz gets himself expelled
    3. michael bolaño indulges in small pleasures
    4. elephant seals

  2. part ii: zweitracht—discord
    1. devesh choudhary is all about physics and rolls
    2. atrium vestae
    3. y'all've any more of that vee-cee?
    4. alexei orshanskiy thinks he can get you lemons
    5. pavlov’s hierophant and schrödinger’s hæresiarch
    6. vladimir cel tredat takes up a collection
    7. ergot
    8. welcome to my lab; we’ve got Taq polymerase

  3. part iii: unordnung—confusion
    1. cloud wandered lonely as a daffodil
    2. max-cashflow min-cut theorem
    3. if you eat that i think it is going to kill you
    4. erica marelli grows tired of bivalves
    5. anarbek tursyn busts a move
    6. the chemical history of an eightball
    7. uranium

  4. part iv: beamtenherrschaft—bureaucracy
    1. greg moyer gives some bad advice
    2. a stamped-in network of paths
    3. overall there is a smell of fried onions
    4. vancouver! vancouver! this is it!
    5. it’ll raise the tone of your trap
    6. oriana marino speaks in riddles
    7. feedback loops are Bad Shit, to be Avoided
    8. my mistakes are many, but less terrible than god’s

  5. part v: grummet—aftermath
    1. usurper
    2. prima luce

  6. epilogue

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