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"An ambitious exploration of self-identity set against the tapestry of contemporary Grateful Dead subculture."
-- Matt Hutton, The UVM Catalyst
"One of the best Grateful Dead-related books ever published."
-- RGW

Albion Books presents the first of its fiction titles: The Millennium Shows, a novel by Philip E. Baruth. Based on the short story "I Am These Dead" -- nominated by the editors of Denver Quarterly for a 1991 Pushcart Prize -- Baruth's novel follows a Deadhead named Story as he passes through a vibrant world of tie-dyes, music, and friendship on his way to the grandest of futurist finales: a show on New Year's eve, 1999.

Story remembers nothing before his first show. Carrying a credit card that has never been refused, he moves from show to show, through the small matriarchal societies that make up the world of the Deadheads. Life -- love, joy, memory -- is the music of the Dead. "My life is a set-list," the novel begins, but gradually Baruth reveals the layers of memory and lost identity that conceal Story's secret.

Baruth uses Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" as a model for Story's epic journey across the country. Like the sailor doomed to tell forever the story of the slain albatross, the archetypal Deadhead is compelled by a secret guilt to recount his tale endlessly -- a tale of clashing inter-city groups, lost young people, and the endless surveillance of helicopters, cameras, technology. The shows of the novel's title take place the weekend of the changing of the Millennium, the largest outdoor concerts ever held. They become a meeting ground for realism and fantasy, surrealism and painstaking detail.

The Millennium Shows is a true fusion of literary tradition and popular culture that is destined to become a cult classic.

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