by Mike Hilbig
Judgment Day & Other White Lies is a short fiction collection that deconstructs whiteness by retelling versions of Greek, Roman, and Christian myths, concepts, and characters through a contemporary lens that reads whiteness into history as a force of destruction for white characters (in addition to those they oppress). From an alternative biblical Genesis about apes having orgies while on magic mushrooms to create western civilization (as told by the kinds of philosophers who have to be stoned themselves), to a retelling of the Oresteia where the white heavy metal musician Orestes is helping his aging mother Dawn commit suicide, to a white graffiti writer, magician, and cultural mis-appropriator named Per-C who fundamentally alters reality by painting fantastical ‘Dusa portraits all over the city of Houston, to the eponymous story Judgment Day that primarily concerns the mind-altering-collapsing effects of a hallucinogenic on a Christlike white man who has two sets of memories stuck in his head, these stories show the tragicomic consequences of what happens when white people identify with the white lie of an identity that lives a fiction to maintain power.
Mike Hilbig graduated in 2017 from Sam Houston State University with an MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing. He lives in Houston, TX and teaches English at the University of Houston-Downtown and at Lone Star College.
Cover by Crowcrumbs, a designer, illustrator, and artist based in Houston, Texas. She studied design and studio arts at the University of Houston.
What people are saying about Judgment Day & Other White Lies
The stories in Judgment Day & Other White Lies are quintessentially Mike Hilbig, his deft artistic imagination at work (and play). . . . The stories engage in a kind of Romantic revolution. But Hilbig’s is a post-Romantic strategy designed both to turn the natural into the supernatural and the supernatural into the natural, and to deconstruct, destabilize that Romantic experiment—a postmodern impulse I believe Coleridge himself would find deeply compelling. . . . These are stories underpinned by wisdom and humor, which are simultaneously a powerful cultural critique—the call for a reckoning.”
—Robin Davidson, author of Luminous Other and Poet Laureate of Houston, TX from 2015-2017
Judgment Day & Other White Lies is a kaleidoscopic collection—sharply intellectual, at times hallucinatory, but always grounded in deeply felt and richly imagined human drama. In these stories, the mythic and the mundane collide and remix in startling ways, feeling both timeless and contemporary. The transfigurations that Hilbig’s characters undergo are rendered with such precision and empathy that the reader can’t help but feel transformed as well.
—Nick Lantz, author of You, Beast
A thoroughly enjoyable work by Mike Hilbig on the interconnectedness of race, gender, religion, and spirituality … and Houston! A writing style that’s at once Milan Kundera like, and original, with a voice that speaks for and to our tumultuous times.
—Amit Verma, author of A Quiver in the Purlieu