“Ryan Ridge’s verbal prestidigitation suggest a more rueful Mark Leyner, and he can make you both laugh and wince, but he can also kick up your pulse with a storytelling urgency that thrums under the attractively fragmented surfaces. His hard-boiled punchlines are rooted in geography and yearning and real American sadness.” —Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Feral Detective
In New Bad News, the frenetic and far-out worlds of fading celebrities, failed festival promoters, underemployed adjuncts, and overly aware chatbots collide. A Terminator statue comes to life at the Hollywood Wax Museum; a coyote laps up Colt 45, as a passerby looks on in existential quietude; a detective disappears while investigating a missing midwestern cam girl. Set in Kentucky, Hollywood, and the afterlife, these bright, bold short-shorts and stories construct an uncannily familiar, alternate-reality America.
Lit Hub, “10 Story Collections You May Have Missed in May”
Southwest Review, "10 Must-Read Books of 2020"
Chicago Review of Books, "10 Small Press Story Collections You Might Have Missed"
Southern Review of Books, “The Best Southern Books of May 2020”
CRAFT, “New Books: May 2020”
The Quivering Pen, “Fresh Ink: March 2020 Edition”
"Ridge offers a new collection of stories, reminiscences, fragments, and fables that are firmly in his wheelhouse of finding whimsical humor in the everyday world. . . . [U]npredictable postmodern jests with more than a little pathos underneath the levity."
"[Ridge] expresses a distinctly American voice reaching out of myriad pop-culture remnants. . . . [and] creates a gallery of enigmatic oddities that will enchant readers of poetry and experimental literature."
"We owe a debt of gratitude to the Louisville, Kentucky-based Sarabande Books for swooning and selecting Ridge’s story collection New Bad News as the fourteenth annual publication in the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. The collection deftly counterbalances flash fiction as brief as a single well-stocked sentence with lengthier pieces, escalating with fever dream pacing into pop-culture-laden experimental explorations of Americana and narrative itself."
—"Ryan Ridge’s New Bad News Upends the Familiar,” Southern Review of Books
"Plenty of anonymous people populate these pieces, but Ridge includes the famous, too: Jackson Browne, Charlie Chaplin, Elliott Smith, Arnold Schwarzenegger. For someone raised in Kentucky who lives in Salt Lake City he knows a lot about California’s demons and dreams; the five sentence 'Echo Park' and its follow-on 'Echoes of Echo Park' reverberate (sorry) with La-La Land longing."
—Lit Hub, “10 Story Collections You May Have Missed in May”
"The latest release from Sarabande’s Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature, New Bad News is like an anarchic Twitter feed run amok, full of feverish absurdities and off-kilter pop-culture references. With neon-buzzing prose, Ryan Ridge captures an America of wax figure museums and cam girls, the characters within lurching like Frankenstein’s monster towards a clarity that remains forever out of reach."
—"10 Small Press Story Collections You Might Have Missed," Chicago Review of Books
“Everything awaits inside, kitchen sink leak synth included: the quickest wit in the West; tinsel town’s hissing mirages; dreams deeply American; cheap beer good and cold; downbursts of social commentary; scalpel-fine finessing of the human condition; wisdoms poached and wisdoms boiled and wisdoms deviled and wisdoms parboiled. Readers are encouraged to keep a cry-laugh hankie very, very handy.”
—"10 Must-Read Books of 2020" by Abraham Smith, Southwest Review
"New Bad News can’t be pared down into simple bits. It contains humor and pathos and wit and word games and characters you root for and some you root against. It sits at its own table. Sips on its juice and gnaws on its Snickers while the rest of us try to figure out what makes it so damn cool."
“Packed with soul-pathos and crackpot humor, Ridge’s latest is a must-read for our times. In fact, you might call this one downright prophetic. Everything awaits inside, kitchen sink leak synth included: the quickest wit in the West; tinsel town’s hissing mirages; dreams deeply American; cheap beer good and cold; downbursts or social commentary; scalpel-fine finessing of the human condition; wisdoms poached and wisdoms boiled and wisdoms deviled and wisdoms parboiled. Readers are encouraged to keep a cry-laugh hankie very, very handy.”
—"Tectonic Punchlines: A Conversation with Ryan Ridge,” Southwest Review
“Ryan Ridge’s verbal prestidigitation suggest a more rueful Mark Leyner, and he can make you both laugh and wince, but he can also kick up your pulse with a storytelling urgency that thrums under the attractively fragmented surfaces. His hard-boiled punchlines are rooted in geography and yearning and real American sadness.”
—Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Feral Detective
"New Bad News is a box of absolute treasures—funny, wise, full of surprises but instantly familiar. This fantastic book is one I'll come back to."
—Ramona Ausubel, author of Awayland and A Guide to Being Born
"New Bad News reminds me of Barry Hannah had he written a collection of short-short fiction. One of the most remarkable things about this collection is Ryan Ridge's ability to carve a lot into a very small space, which is what makes his work so unusual, so funny, and so smart. His prose is both beautiful and raw. I loved this book."
—Brandon Hobson, National Book Award Finalist and author of Where the Dead Sit Talking
"New Bad News is tenderness and mordancy awash with California moonlight and Kentucky ghosts, too. Ryan Ridge's strange transmissions glow like buzzing neon in the dim and make us feel less weird and alone. This! This is a book of brilliant, zappy echoes we can touch."
—Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss A War, Whiskey & Ribbons, and So We Can Glow
"Ryan Ridge's short short stories carry a sort of essence of the 21st century. His brief prose style parallels with our abrupt, social-media-driven way of communicating in the modern world. His tales capture the dark tensions behind everything from climate change to Charlie Chaplin tramp stamps."