Nothing is going right for Romie Futch, a South Carolina taxidermist. His wife is gone; his mortgage overdue, and his nights lost to drunken web-surfing. But The New and Improved Romie Futch is the result of his enrollment as a research subject at the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience. Romie and his newly enhanced brain return home to revolutionize his taxidermy and win back his wife. As he looks for specimens for his new elaborate works, he becomes obsessed with “Hogzilla,” a huge wild hog. Drawn into an underworld of biotech operatives, FDA agents, and environmental activists, Romie investigates Hogzilla’s origins.
Julia Elliott, winner of a Pushcart Prize and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, has written for Tin House, the Georgia Review, and other publications. The Wilds, her debut story collection, was chosen by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Buzzfeed, and Book Riot as one of the Best Books of 2014 and was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. She is working on a new novel about Hamadryas baboons, a species she has studied as an amateur primatologist. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she lives with her daughter and husband.