A dark and incisive collection of speculative short stories set in an alternate future of interstellar space travel, robots, mythical creatures and the uncanny
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”
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“Imaginative, precise and always fun. Courttia Newland invites us into new worlds with deftness and imagination, storytelling and creativity that has no rival in the UK. Another future classic from one of the most important writers of British literature”
“A rich, diverse collection of short stories”
“An extraordinary collection – vital, strange and brilliant”
“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!”
Courttia Newland is the author of eight books including his much-lauded debut, The Scholar. His most recent novel, A River Called Time, was longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize. He coedited The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, and his short stories have featured in various anthologies and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. As a screenwriter, he has written episodes of Steve McQueen’s 2020 BBC series Small Axe.