Snowball's Chance (Anniversary with Neversink)

order from Amazon

More than a parody of Orwell’s work, Snowball’s Chance is a cutting satire of American capitalism, exceptionalism, foreign policy, and interventionism. Playing by Orwell’s rules, Reed gives us our own farm fable, and ... classic work.

—Jordan A. Rothacker, Lithub

Some books double as a matchstick: if struck in the right conditions, they can cause a wildfire. ... In the three weeks following 9/11, John Reed wrote a riposte to the Cold War fairy tale; the brilliance of Snowball’s Chance being that it expands upon Orwell’s parable to include terrorism, making the story a workable paradigm for the current global context. 

—Brett Rawson, The Rumpus

The novel transcends its particular circumstances … Snowball’s gambit is to turn the farm into a giant spectacle of happiness, and his Animal Fair represents more than just a place: it names an entire ethos. 

—Craig Epplin, Guernica

Written in lucid, wise, funny, fable-prose, this book brings to mind Spiegelman’s Maus—the use of a playful metaphor to reveal truths we might otherwise refuse to see.  

—Jonathan Ames

A wicked illusionist.  

—Graham Reed, Los Angeles Journal

A swift and satisfying read, viciously funny.  

—William Georgiades, New York Post

In other words: What did the victim do to deserve it?  

—Cathy Young, Boston Globe 

Likely to offend almost everyone. … Witless parody.

—David Futrelle, Money Magazine 

John Reed is as fearless and honest as writers come.

—Greg Dybec, Critical Mob

Free John Reed!  Free the piggies!  

—New York Press 

A pig returns to the farm, thumbing his snout at Orwell ... the world had a new evil to deal with, and it was not communism.  

—Dinitia Smith, New York Times

It will take a great deal more than a fortnight's work by a smart-aleck anti-corporatist to undermine the most brilliant satire of the 20th century.

—London Telegraph 

Orwell’s sacred pigs get a proper roast.  

—Paul Duchene, Portland Tribune 

Reed has managed to take a dated masterpiece ... and revive it for the odd, casino-like social and political world we're mired in today; in the process he's created his own masterpiece. 

—John Grooms, Creative Loafing, Charlotte 

Reed's tale, crafted amid ground zero's dust, is chilling in its clarity and inspired in its skewering of Orwell's stilted style. Whether you liked or loathed the original, there's no denying Reed has captured the state of the farm today.

—Jay Macdonald, Fort Myers News-Press

This book has something to upset almost everyone who reads it, just like a good book should.

—Dennis Loy Johnson

A volatile new novel.  

—Arthur Salm, San Diego Union Tribune

The New York author has ignited a fierce literary debate; is it ever right to write a book modeled on a classic, that twists the original message into unrecognizable form?  

—David Robinson, Jacqui Goddard, Scotsman

Snowball’s Chance parodies Orwell’s Animal Farm, dragging it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  

—Edward Nawotka, Publisher’s Weekly 

Reed skewers our early 21st century (edgy, tragic, absurd) with a marvelously precise wit.

—Faren Miller, Locus Magazine

[Reed] not only shanghais Orwell’s story, but amps up and mocks the writer’s famously flat, didactic style–that fairytailish simplicity that has ensured Animal Farm a place in high school English classes for the last 50 years.

—John Strausbaugh, New York Press 

Fearless, provocative, and both reverent and irreverent at the same time.

—Robert Lopez, WordRiot

One of the keenest thinkers of our time.

—Shathley Q, PopMatters

John Reed ... is getting what he never knew he wanted, hate from right wing groups!

—Daniel Robert Epstein, SuicideGirls

Tales of Woe (MTV, 2010):

The Grotesque is alive and well ... a dash of Rod Sterling with a touch of Alfred E. Neuman. 

—Jesse Tangen-Mill, Rain Taxi 

A truly memorable and heart-wrenching book.

—Chris Arrant, Newsarama 

John Reed’s Tales of Woe presents a sprawling landscape of contemporary apocalyptic vistas painted in the sweeping vignette brushstrokes of a master artist’s hand. Reed, whose previous All the World’s a Grave alerted the world to a timbre of postmodern genius never before seen in American letters, cements his historical legacy with Tales of Woe.

—Rami Shamir, Evergreen Review 

Tales of Woe is a macabre compilation of 25 true stories of misfortune, pain and suffering presented in their naked, stark reality without resolution or justice. ...  Tales of Woe violently strips the silver lining off of tragedy and presents it as it is most often experienced—without hope. 

—Sean Patrick Kelly, New York Press

Novelist John Reed set out to write a book about abject misery and he has succeeded. This month MTV Press is publishing Tales of Woe, a title so appropriate to the unrelenting suffering the book details that there’s little to tell you beyond that. ...  Powerful, disturbing and unforgettably painful.  

—Calvin Reid, Publisher’s Weekly

Completely void of didacticism, hope, and redemption. Instead, Tales of Woe offers a parade of captivating, affronting stories that challenge and delight—er, disturb—the reader.

—Ben Mirov, Bomb Magazine

An imaginative, eloquent and even funny way of expressing outrage about human behavior  ... truly an accomplishment.  

—David Winner, The American

Fictionaut loves it LOVES IT ... True stories without any redeeming character whatsoever—just bleak, bleak, unremitting, and undeserved. 


Melville House

This unauthorized companion to George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a controversial parable about September 11th by one of fiction’s most inventive and provocative writers.  

Written in 14 days shortly after the September 11th attacks, Snowball’s Chance is an outrageous and unauthorized answer to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in which exiled pig Snowball returns to the farm, takes charge, and implements a new world order of untrammeled capitalism. Orwell’s “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” has morphed into the new rallying cry: “All animals are born equal—what they become is their own affair.”

A brilliant political satire and literary parody, John Reed’s Snowball’s Chance caused an uproar on publication in 2002, was denounced by Christopher Hitchens, narrowly dodged a lawsuit from the Orwell estate, and remains an all-time Small Press Distribution Bestseller. Now, a decade later, with America in wars on many fronts, readers can judge anew the visionary truth of Reed’s satirical masterpiece.