R.E.M.'s public image has always been tightly controlled. Icons of anti-celebrity rock, who became huge celebrity rock stars, they were, according to the story, the first US post new-wave band who were both commercially successful and cool. Drawing on exclusive interviews with Mike Mills, Peter Buck and other members of R.E.M.'s nuclear family, Fiction re-evaluates the music and career of a group who sold almost no records for the first half of their existence, then became 'the biggest rock group in the world' in the second half.