|Cover artist||Rick Lieder|
Bad Brains is a 1992 horror-dark fantasy novel by author Kathe Koja. It is her second published title, and was nominated for a 1993 Locus Poll Award, in the category Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel. Bad Brains was reprinted in 1993 in the United Kingdom by Millennium Books, and in Polish in 1996 under the title Urazy mózgu.
Recently divorced artist Austen Bandy, is so paralyzed by his wife's leaving that he can no longer paint. Coming to terms with his situation, by drowning his sorrows with beer, he then suffers a nasty fall in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, incurring brain damage. While in hospital, the strange nightmarish visions begin with powerful hallucinations and seizures, during which he sees and tastes a strange silver sheen over everything. Crazy with it all, he launches himself on a cross-country odyssey, in search of lost love, a cure, and an answer. All the while he questions whether he is descending into madness or filled with demonic possessors, as the visions play on.
The book is mostly about the demands of art on its creator and how far he's willing to go for it. Koja's novels all deal with artists and their relationship with their art: her first novel, The Cipher, was about a poet; Bad Brains was about a painter; Skin was about a sculptor turned performance artist and Strange Angels was about a photographer.