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The City-States Cycle


150 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB

Trade Paper, $14.95 (CA $19.95) (US $14.95)

Publication Date: August 2021

ISBN 9781946154576

Rights: WOR

Meerkat Press (Aug 2021)
Meerkat Shorts


eBook Editions Available

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In New Babylon, leader of the Western alliance of the city-states, armament mogul Kurt Wagner has a secret dream: to build a space station to save mankind

Little does Kurt know that he is the target of competing plots involving geopolitics and black magick. In the background, a film director with a political conscience, a bodyguard with a secret mission, a driver with an occult hobby, and a talking bird are trying to make sense of their world, hoping to see their wishes come true—which they will, but not in the way they might have expected. 


"Paperclip is all about the politics and the addictive Synth—a perilously psychedelic drug that bends reality. It's about magick and betrayal, about polls and a new beat of all-female African insurgents. . . . Doubinsky's ice-cold killer instincts strike bullseye in this darkly comedic dystopian escapade, as hallucinogenic as its very characters. A beautiful madness." —Aurealis Magazine

"Seb Doubinsky merges, mashes, and smashes genre conceits and conventions creating a new world in the City-States Cycle, a hodge-podge of what's most interesting about our world, but more enigmatic the harder you squint at it. Through this dark carnival mirror—always politically righteous—we confront our true selves. Paperclip is a wild ride worth taking." —Jordan A. Rothacker, author of The Death of the Cyborg Oracle

"The smartest, subtlest novel you'll devour like a pulp fiction thriller this year. Seb Doubinsky weaves a parallel dream world that sheds light on our own with wit, nuance, and suspense. I haven't had this much fun since the Illuminatus Trilogy. Provocative, evocative, and mesmerizing. Doubinsky is one of a kind and Paperclip is a rollicking trip through the looking glass." —Douglas Wynne, author of His Own Devices

"With his latest novella, Paperclip, Seb Doubinsky invokes within the gleaming near-future city-states ancient gods, forbidden rites, and deadly Magick. Polemical and wry, captivating and surreal, with a scope vast beyond its modest length, Paperclip is at once as unassuming and as darkly significant as the humble loop of steel wire at the story's heart." —J. Ashley-Smith, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Attic Tragedy & Ariadne, I Love You

"Paperclip, Seb Doubinsky's latest, and best, installment in his visionary City States Cycle, pretends to be a satiric slice of dystopian life told from genially conflicting viewpoints—reality-aversive tech magnates, gullible documentarians, disenchanted bodyguards obsessed with black magic. It pretends to be a philosophical bird called Waldo flying above the clouds, and not a suicidal Everyman caught up in forces he can't control. But make no mistake, Paperclip is savage. It is also hilarious. And above all, it is true." —J.S. Breukelaar, award-winning author of The Bridge & Collision: Stories

"Driven by crisp plotting and enticing backstories, Seb Doubinsky's Paperclip is a lightning-paced, razor-clawed satire of late capitalism. In a world in which reality's spoils go to dope-soaked arms dealers convinced their bombs are a public service and depressive 'Golden Star' directors slumming it up in the developing world, it seems chance, surrealism, and magic(k) may be the only forces arrayed on the side of life itself. Yet, somehow, once this astonishing cast of characters—some good, some evil, but all with humanity—passes through Doubinsky's literary sieve, what emerges is a lithe, experimental thriller reminiscent of PKD, Vonnegut, and, at times, even Kafka; a book that will have readers wondering until the very end just who will come out on top." —Kurt Baumeister, author of Pax Americana

"In Paperclip, Doubinsky gives readers a glimpse of the full spectrum of life—from the leather backseats of the ultrapowerful to the poisoned beaches of the poor and war-beaten. Only Doubinsky could so masterfully intertwine tales of synthetic drugs, black magic, and dystopian politics with moments of frail beauty and the golden hypocrisy of fame. A wise, witty, disturbing travelogue through a fictitious world that is a mirror-image of our own, Paperclip is a triumph." —Philip Fracassi, author of Beneath a Pale Sky

"Paperclip is a rarity: a brilliantly structured experimental novella that's as readable as it is intelligent, situated in a constellation with works by Cortazar, Pyncheon, and Vonnegut, building to a climax that manages at once to be overdetermined and also unforeseen." —Michael Cisco, author of The Divinity Student and Antisocieties

Author Biography

Seb Doubinsky is a bilingual writer born in Paris in 1963. His novels, all set in a dystopian universe revolving around competing cities-states, have been published in the UK and in the USA. He currently lives with his family in Aarhus, Denmark, where he teaches at the university.