Mortarville tells the story of a man named “John Smith,” ordinary in every way except for one: he was born from a test tube. With this richly imaginative premise, Grant Bailie takes us on an incredible journey through John’s life, from a childhood spent in a secret underground government facility with other test-tube boys, who are prepared for life in the outside world by reading comic books and watching television shows, to his bond with a gorilla named Abigail. After John’s fellow artificial inmates riot and destroy their underground home, John, now an adult, takes up residence in Mortarville, a decaying industrial city, where he lives the most mundane of existences, working a job as head of security in a mall. However, no matter how hard he tries to fit in to the real world, John cannot shake his past, and in the end, it is that past which literally carries him away. An amazing and fantastical work that marries the innocence of Pinocchio with the futuristic horror of Brave New World, Mortarville explores the fundamental question of what it means to be human in a world that is losing its humanity.
Grant Baile’s first novel, Cloud 8, was called “mad, fascinating, and really quite moving” by Kirkus Reviews, and “tender and introspective” by Boston’s Weekly Dig. A resident of Cleveland, Grant’s short fiction has been published in numerous places both print and online, including McSweeney’s.