Shiner's Glimpses back in print, free download: brilliant, haunted rock-n-roll novel

Wonderful news: Lewis Shiner's classic, World Fantasy Award-wining novel Glimpses is back in print for the first time since 2001, and Lew has released it as a a free PDF download to commemorate the re-release. The new edition is handsome and beautifully typeset.

Glimpses is one of my favorite novels of all time; a haunting and sweet story about an alienated, lonely stereo repairman who discovers that he can slip into parallel dimensions in which the great, never-recorded rock albums (lost Beatles, Beach Boys, Hendrix, etc) may yet be made, and can bring recordings of the music back on his reel-to-reel. It's a rare novel that can capture the raw energy of rock and roll, but Glimpses has this and a tense, thrilling story besides.

The free download is part of a larger project that Shiner calls The Fiction Liberation Front, through which he is gradually releasing his entire backlist. The reprint is from Subterranean Press, who have also just brought back Lew's debut novel Frontera, as well as much of Lew's earlier titles.



  1. Well hot damn, good going Lew! Though I’m pretty sure I’ve got my original copy of Glimpses around here somewhere . . .

    Glimpses is a VERY moving, beautifully written and inspiring work of imagination. Highly worth checking out if you aren’t already a fan.

    What’s with the ‘definitive edition’ though? What changes had to be made to the earlier version?

  2. Thanks, I am fan of Beatles, Classic Rock, alternate history, and fiction.
    As a Beatles fan I know much of the studio sessions have been released (not every single take of every song, sometimes they took more than 100 takes to record, for example on the song “I me mine”). To me, more interesting than studio versions are live concerts of good quality officially unreleased in DVD (Shea Stadium and Munich 1966).

    In the case of Hendrix there is a huge amount of unreleased unknown studio versions, a good example is the recently released Valleys of Neptune (the best version of “Hear my train” released).
    Hendrix and The Beatles had something in common, infinite creativity, always doing something new, not repeating the formula ad nauseum.

    I am 30, and dont know how to explain it but I feel a strong connection to everything related to the 60s, where is my time machine?

  3. Just here to say that ‘Frontera’ is one of my favorites from the cyberpunk era and is definitely worth a read too.

  4. Will have to get this! I have never read it, and I loved both Slam and Frontera for very different reasons.

  5. I’m really excited to see Shiner’s work starting to come back into print! It has always completely baffled me (as well as effectively damning any sympathy I might have had towards the mainstream book publishers) that an award-winning, cyberpunk pioneering, awesome writer like Shiner always has his work out of print.

    I interviewed Shiner for my book Mythmakers & Lawbreakers, and since my publisher let me do it creative commons, you can actually download just the interview with Shiner if you’re interested:
    (whole book is here: )
    He’s a hell of a smart guy.

  6. Good. I hope a new audience develops for Shiner’s work. Loved Deserted Cities of the Heart, Frontera, & Slam. Especially Slam.

  7. I agree with magpie killjoy on the bafflement.

    I always found Shiner’s work a lot warmer and mroe messily human than that of that of either Stirling or Gibson (the two giants of cyberpunk). It’s only a feeling not a critical judgement – something like listening to sound through valve amplifiers as opposed to electronic ones. Perhaps this is a both a reason why he has been relatively neglected and why he deserves a wider readership.

  8. Sounds really cool and right up my alley and I’d like to check this out, but what’s with all the missing pages in the .pdf? I’m on pg 15 and there’s been 3 or 4 already. Anyone else with this problem?

  9. Thanks, everybody, for the good words.

    @anon#10–I just checked the PDF again, and it looks good here. Try downloading again.

    @chumpmeat–Here’s some of the stuff I fixed in the new edition: 1) John is not playing a sunburst Strat on “Long and Winding Road”–it’s a Fender VI bass (actually baritone guitar). 2) The correct name of Danny Hutton’s hit is “Roses and Rainbows,” not “Roses and Rainbows Are You.” 3) Van Dyke’s then-wife spelled her name Durrie, not Durry. There are a bunch more, but that gives you an idea. There were a ton of typos that made it into the first printing. I fixed a bunch, and introduced at least a couple of new ones. I’ll keep fixing the PDF, by the way, so if you find anything, please let me know at

    @Flying_Monkey–Being compared to a tube amp vs. solid state is one of the great compliments I’ve ever had. Thanks!

    1. Very glad to make your day, Lewis. And you get the terminology right – clearly you’re more of a musician than I am, which also shows in your work!

  10. Glimpses is one of my all time favorite books. Unfortunately the local library doesn’t carry any of Shiner’s books, so I am very excited to read his other works.

    Heck, even my father like Glimpses, and he wouldn’t touch fantasy with a ten foot pole.

  11. Loved this book when it came out. Gave it to a friend who is way into music (plays in bands, went to more concerts than I did in late 60s, early 70s, and a LOT more once I got married, had kids, etc (70s until now)). He was blown away.

    Nice side note: Smile being released at some point after I read the book.

  12. This really is a wonderful book. Don’t know where my original copy is but I’m excited to reread it now.

  13. I once bought 3 copies of this book so that I could loan it out without fear of loosing my copy. Thanks to James Gardner above for turning me on to this novel in the first place.

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