Sly Bang

Larissa Shmailo


ISBN 978-1-947980-98-3     220 pages        $18.00


What do you do when there is a, “Army of serial killers, mad scientists, and ultra rich sociopaths” after you?


Why, you summon your alter, “Larissa Ekaterina Anastasia Nikolayevna Romanova, tsaritsa of all the Russias,” and embark upon Larissa Shmailo’s cornucopiac literary odyssey, Sly Bang, of course.


From Nietzsche’s “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”, and Lady Gaga’s meat dress, to sadistic cult leaders and space Nazis, this sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, is chock-full of surprises at every turn. I mean, the lead character, Upper West Side, Manhattanite Nora, is a multiple personality FBI agent/possible alien, with an affinity for serial killers, who telepathically communicates with giant prehistoric birds, AND as luck would have it, writes uncannily brilliant poetry (journal entries).


In my opinion, the (quintessentially Shmailo) Interlude is where Sly Bang lives and breathes - It is the much anticipated doorway through which the reader officially exits suspended disbelief, and enters Nora’s world - her *real* world - introduces, through beautifully crafted poems, the backstory of Nora; a tragic tale of horrific abuse, betrayal, and ultimately, survival.


This stretch of writing - which jets the reader back to World War II, Nora’s camp family history, is nothing short of masterful, and reminiscent of Shmailo’s previous offering, Patient Women. The poem, Warsaw Ghetto, itself, is well worth the price of admission.


Generously infused throughout with humor, ebullient psychosexualism, and quasi-hypothetical political scenarios, this manic mind-trip, where alternate realities collide, full-force, culminating in orgasmic fits and fantastical flurries, Sly Bang, is a bit like eating chocolate cake on a roller coaster. Crazy. Delicious. Chaos.

     K.R. Copeland, author of Love and Other Lethal Things

Larissa Shmailo's sci fi thriller Sly Bang'is a twisted and compelling thrill ride of a novel that not only transcends the form of that literary genre - it blows it up. It's a novel about an attempt to destroy the universe by reverse engineering the Big Bang. It deals with taboo subjects and is raunchy, funny and brutally intense.

     Michael W McHugh


Sly Bang rewrites, rethinks, and reimagines how we conceive "narrative." This slippery novel is a major step forward towards a radiant and explosive language.

     Dean Kostos

On reading Larissa Shmailo's "Sly Bang" by Darryl Wawa

at Unlikely Stories


If you are looking for something to get out of your ordinary line of  thinking, Larissa Shmaillo’s Sly Bang ought to do the trick.

"Shmailo’s technical skills pop on every page. She is in control of this insanity from the start, and to prove it she floods us with new icons created one after another like stamped plastic ducks. She creates an assembly line of literary riches. Genres and forms bend in and out with ease."


"The book takes direct aim at the fantasies of some males, making them so extreme that their absurdity becomes crystal clear."

     Jefferson Hansen at Rain Taxi

Larissa Shmailo’s Sly Bang is a futuristic hallucinogen of a novel that pervades your consciousness. Our heroine Nora could be the love child of Barbarella and Hunter S. Thompson if she grew up to be a telepathic FBI agent. Her story will make you wonder if all wars are truly fought on the battlefield of the psychosexual female libido.

      Cecilia Tan, author of Slow Surrender


Sly Bang is astounding! The “typhoid mary of rape and murder,” having been determined by alien pterodactyls to be “the only non-Nazi in the universe,” teams up with a skinner-alive of pubescent virgins and ardent collector of Rothko daubs. Together they wage war against an Ialdabaoth who intends, just for kicks, to atomize the universe by means of particle accelerators. Hyperspatial scene-shifts are conveyed by telepathy or supercomputer-assisted dialogue that bristles with snappy one-liners paced faster than a meth rant. Somehow, across these solar system-spanning pages, supercharged as they are with psycho-, neurobio- and quantum-physical erudition, the plot comes across vivid as anything Tolstoy ever evoked with his most considered panoramic prose. Larissa Shmailo’s Sly Bang is like nothing that has ever been seen, or heard, anywhere.

      Tom Bradley, author of Useful Despair


In this breakneck, futuristic, socio-sexual-psychological thriller, Larissa Shmailo tells the story of Nora Volkhonsky, a smart FBI agent targeted by multiple evildoers. As bad guys and worse guys close in on her, Nora’s main goal is to survive. She is helped somewhat by her “telepathic” powers, but her experience is often more dream than reality. “Who was sending these clangs and hoodoo messages? Who was receiving hers? Who wanted her insane or dead?” Fasten your seatbelt as you ride along a wicked highway with Sly Bang’s tough, spirited heroine.

      Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Border Crossings


Larissa Shmailo is a poet, novelist, translator, editor, anthologist, and critic. Her poetry collections are Medusa’s Country#specialcharactersIn Paran, the chapbook A Cure for Suicide, and the e-book Fib Sequence; her other novel is Patient Women. Her poetry CDs are The No-Net World and Exorcism, available through Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Deezer, and other digital distributors. Shmailo’s work has appeared in Plume, the Brooklyn Rail, Fulcrum, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, the Journal of Poetics Research, Drunken Boat, Barrow Street, Gargoyle, and the anthologies Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, Words for the Wedding, Contemporary Russian Poetry, Resist Much/Obey Little: Poems for the Inaugural, Verde que te quiero verde: Poems after Garcia Lorca, and many others.


Shmailo is the original English-language translator of the world’s first performance piece, Victory over the Sun by Alexei Kruchenych, performed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Garage Museum of Moscow, the Brooklyn Academy of Art, and theaters and universities worldwide. Shmailo also edited the anthology Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry and has been a translator on the Russian Bible for the American Bible Society.


Shmailo’s work is in the libraries of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and New York universities, the Hirshhorn Museum of the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the New York Museum of Natural History, and other universities and museums.


She received honorable mention in the Compass Award for Russian literary translation in 2011, the Elizabeth P. Braddock poetry prize in 2012, and the Goodreads May 2012 poetry contest; she was a finalist in the Glass Woman prose prize in 2012, and a semifinalist in the Subito Press/University of Boulder prose competition. Larissa also received the New Century Music awards for best spoken word with rock, jazz, and electronica in 2009, as well as the best album award for Exorcism. She has read at the Knitting Factory, Barnard College, the New School, New York University, the Langston Hughes residence, and for American Express/Share Our Strength.


She blogs at

Please visit her website at