“In Tellers Rick Moss has given us a Matryoshka doll of a book — stories nesting inside stories nesting inside stories. Taken one at a time, each of these stories has a lesson. Taken in pairs, patterns emerge. Taken as a whole, there may just be a lesson or two here for all of us about love, life, failure, redemption, technology, mythology, families, and even social justice.
“Some could find Tellers a bit dystopian — a portrait of lives lived on the fringe in a time when society is polarizing and fragmenting. Others will find it utopian, the Colony being a sort of post-Industrial Walden Pond where people who could easily be socioeconomic and political casualties somehow manage to find each other and build, if not an Eden, a family of sorts — albeit dysfunctional. I prefer to think about it as a lesson in mythologizing and storytelling, replete with examples both positive and negative.
“Tellers is a reminder that we all have our own stories, a need to share those stories, a need to hear other people’s stories and perhaps a collective need to aggregate our disparate individual stories into a common story or myth. This is, at its heart, a book that examines the story of stories and the need to believe and its costs and consequences. Like Orwell’s Animal Farm, I suspect Tellers is a book that exists on many levels, depending on who is reading it and where their life has taken them. And, that quality is an invitation to reread — over and over again — not because Moss’ story changes, but because you do.” — Ryan Mathews, futurist and best-selling author
“People are their stories. In fact, history is the aggregation of millions of individual stories into a collective narrative which attempts to embrace the substance, style, direction, purpose of all those individual stories.
“In this highly unique and creative novel, we are thrust into the primeval dystopia of an underground world created by the disintegration of social structures and destructive symptoms of a civilization in collapse. Each person is both a listener to stories of others and a ‘teller’ of his or her own story. Here stories are not just biographical exercises, but the very essence of survival itself. They are the social bond of an alt-community, the mechanisms for coping and redemption, a path for finding meaning.” — John Rachel
“Rick Moss’s Tellers is a literary visual tour de force. This second novel by the author is original in structure and style with richly-layered and diverse set of characters. Turning on the notion of storytelling as healing medium, it weaves foreboding imageries of painful memories and dystopian futures with those of hope, birth, and rebirth. The dialogue is alive, gritty, and cuts to the core. Moss maintains a tight narrative and a quick pace as the story advances in parallel from and to a fateful event.
“…It is replete with contradictions that are inherent in the story of humanity throughout the ages and yet is very appropriately situated for a 21st century society. It can be read on multiple levels, as a breezy story of suspense or a jarring statement on society at juncture. Regardless, It’s a wonderfully written book with a unique voice that keeps you wanting more from the author.” — Mohamed Amer
“Tellers is a novel best read twice. Once for the page turning story line of well developed characters engaged in a twisted tale of action and intrigue. You will find yourself wanting to speed read through to see how the characters mesh and where their story leads. The second time for the deeply nuanced allegory of family, society and the impact of our collective actions on those institutions — indeed, on the world itself. The second time to make you think.
“… Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange); Tom Wolfe (Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) and Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) come to mind. Novels you go back and read again every ten years or so because each time you do the thinking leads you to new insight into your current situation and environment. Today’s read of Tellers may evoke thoughts of the Branch Davidians at Waco and our relationship with institutions of authority . Perhaps it will cause you to contemplate the effects of pollution and climate. Or, as we digest the recent political season, to simply reconsider the importance of ‘the narrative’ in our lives. But it will make you think.” — Ben Ball
“Rick Moss has written a frenzied, hair-raising novel about a group of peripheral characters who use storytelling as a way to recover some sense of sanity in a sanity-disabled world. The characters are distinct as fingers on a hand but all converge into an open palm of fantasy-laced autobiographical storytelling in a commune in upstate New York. The dialogue reminds me of Elmore Leonard’s: tough, simple, true. …
“It is a brave book that reaches back in history to the MOVE movement, which blew up part of downtown Philly, and forward to a future urban utopia.
“It is an unsettling work for unsettling times.” — Edward Brash, poet, editor