In his sharply crafted, unnerving first collection of speculative fiction shorts, Courttia Newland envisages an alternate future as lived by the African diaspora.
Robots used as human proxies in a war become driven by all-too-human desires; Kill Parties roam the streets of a post-apocalyptic world; a matriarchal race of mer creatures depends on inter-breeding with mortals to survive; mysterious seeds appear in cities across the world, growing into the likeness of people in their vicinity.
Through transfigured bodies and impossible encounters, Newland brings a sharp, fresh eye to age-old themes of the human capacity for greed, ambition and self-destruction, but ultimately of our strength and resilience.
Newland's work is tender but urgent, grounded but visionary. Risks don't frighten him. These highly imaginative, often cautionary tales seem the product of a world governed by outrage, anxiety and unease. You won't forget them in a hurry. Nor should you -- RUPERT THOMSON The stories in Cosmogramma are shot through with a sense of foreboding, a feeling that we as a species are heading for self-annihilation if we don't get our act together and fast. In that sense, and in several others, the stories feel unsettlingly contemporary and can - and should - be read as a last call to action. "The Sanofka Principle" in particular bent my mind out of shape, in a good way. Now there's a story that requires (and repays) close reading! -- STEPHEN THOMPSON It's no small feat to so immediately and repeatedly appeal to readers' hearts and minds, and Newland's mastery of short-format storytelling is sure to impress. Speculative fiction fans won't be able to put this down * * Publishers Weekly (starred review) * * Praise for A River Called Time: A real gem of a book . . . There are so many brilliant parallels drawn between the world we live in as well as gentle prods towards the reality we could create. Written in Courttia's evocative style, I was constantly thrown by the clever twists and turns. I had my hands on my face throughout the end of the book as shock after shock was delivered . . . an excellent, beautiful read that will make you think while taking your breath away -- DOROTHY KOOMSON A masterful reimagining of the African diaspora's influence on England and on the world. It's a grand tale and still an intimate portrait of loss and love. What glory and influence would Africa enjoy if colonialism had never occurred? Courttia Newland reshapes our vision of the past, present and future by taking this one question seriously. The result is something truly special. No other way to put it, this book is true Black magic -- VICTOR LaVALLE Courttia's writing is rich with passion and humanity. He manages to convey great depth without ever losing his lightness of touch. A rare feat only reserved for the few -- STEVE McQUEEN A vast and wildly ambitious piece of speculative fiction that asks what the world would look like if slavery and colonialism never existed * * Observer * * Gloriously enthralling. An immersive, ambitious reimagining of the city from a formidable British voice. Newland's magnum opus -- IRENOSEN OKOJIE A master storyteller returns with this piece of astonishing speculative fiction, interrogating social inequality, the complexities of truth and the very essence of what it is to be human, all in Newland's precise and powerful prose -- NIKESH SHUKLA If you want to know the story of Britain, it's really important to read Newland. There's a reason why the Oscar-winning McQueen is working with him -- LEMN SISSAY * * Observer * *
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