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The gone-away world - The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway - Goodreads



The great thing about a post-apocalyptic world is that pretty much anything can happen in it. So it is not excessively implausible when, in the middle of this eagerly awaited rambling fantasy-SF-horror-kung-fu novel, a troupe of mime artists turns up in a grimy bar and defuses the ambient threat of violence through the power of melancholic dumb gesture. It's a very funny scene. The danger, though, is that if anything can happen, the reader might not particularly care what does.

A gang of devil-may-care truckers is dispatched to put out a fire at a pipeline station. The pipeline dispenses a magical mist that prevents the post-apocalyptic world from dissolving completely into ontological chaos. So off the truckers truck. Vroom. Next thing we know, the trucker narrator is recounting how he met his best friend, Gonzo, in a sandpit when they were small boys. Cue an extremely leisurely flashback to explain how the world got all post-apocalyptic in the first place.

The narrator recounts his schooling, his training in kung fu (with Master Wu), his student-politics days and his work at a top-secret military installation where they are building a fancy weapon. Then he is sent off to war, the fancy weapon is used, and the world goes all post-apocalyptic.

Near-future Britain is not just a nation under surveillance but one built on it: a radical experiment in personal transparency and ambient direct democracy. Every action is seen, every word is recorded.

Diana Hunter is a refusenik, a has-been cult novelist who lives in a house with its own Faraday cage: no electronic signals can enter or leave. She runs a... Published 2017

Drop me a line! Forgive me if the response is not immediate - I tend to get rather behind. If something requires my rapid attention, please tweet me or get in touch through my agent, Patrick.

Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World is kind of a gonzo post-apocalyptic novel. One of the main characters is, in fact named Gonzo. But it’s also the story of how the world came to be this way, through the use of Go Away bombs that destroyed the world with no pesky fallout. Except for making the planet a place where nightmares become real.

The story starts with the narrator and Gonzo’s company of truckers and general bad-asses being called in to do a job, put out a fire, save the world. There’s a cataloguing of the various kinds of pencil-necks one finds in the world, ranked according to their dangerousness, and the idea that resonates through the book is introduced: being a professional means giving up your personhood to be part of a machine.

But then the first chapter is over and the trucks are rolling towards doom and glory and we drop back to childhood. We learn about being trained to fight ninjas by a daft elderly man, and having lots of sex as a political student, and absurd stupid wars featuring absurd terrible soldiers (and fearsomely brilliant ones) and terror and friendship. It’s awesome. And funny. And there are mimes.

The great thing about a post-apocalyptic world is that pretty much anything can happen in it. So it is not excessively implausible when, in the middle of this eagerly awaited rambling fantasy-SF-horror-kung-fu novel, a troupe of mime artists turns up in a grimy bar and defuses the ambient threat of violence through the power of melancholic dumb gesture. It's a very funny scene. The danger, though, is that if anything can happen, the reader might not particularly care what does.

A gang of devil-may-care truckers is dispatched to put out a fire at a pipeline station. The pipeline dispenses a magical mist that prevents the post-apocalyptic world from dissolving completely into ontological chaos. So off the truckers truck. Vroom. Next thing we know, the trucker narrator is recounting how he met his best friend, Gonzo, in a sandpit when they were small boys. Cue an extremely leisurely flashback to explain how the world got all post-apocalyptic in the first place.

The narrator recounts his schooling, his training in kung fu (with Master Wu), his student-politics days and his work at a top-secret military installation where they are building a fancy weapon. Then he is sent off to war, the fancy weapon is used, and the world goes all post-apocalyptic.

The great thing about a post-apocalyptic world is that pretty much anything can happen in it. So it is not excessively implausible when, in the middle of this eagerly awaited rambling fantasy-SF-horror-kung-fu novel, a troupe of mime artists turns up in a grimy bar and defuses the ambient threat of violence through the power of melancholic dumb gesture. It's a very funny scene. The danger, though, is that if anything can happen, the reader might not particularly care what does.

A gang of devil-may-care truckers is dispatched to put out a fire at a pipeline station. The pipeline dispenses a magical mist that prevents the post-apocalyptic world from dissolving completely into ontological chaos. So off the truckers truck. Vroom. Next thing we know, the trucker narrator is recounting how he met his best friend, Gonzo, in a sandpit when they were small boys. Cue an extremely leisurely flashback to explain how the world got all post-apocalyptic in the first place.

The narrator recounts his schooling, his training in kung fu (with Master Wu), his student-politics days and his work at a top-secret military installation where they are building a fancy weapon. Then he is sent off to war, the fancy weapon is used, and the world goes all post-apocalyptic.

Near-future Britain is not just a nation under surveillance but one built on it: a radical experiment in personal transparency and ambient direct democracy. Every action is seen, every word is recorded.

Diana Hunter is a refusenik, a has-been cult novelist who lives in a house with its own Faraday cage: no electronic signals can enter or leave. She runs a... Published 2017

Drop me a line! Forgive me if the response is not immediate - I tend to get rather behind. If something requires my rapid attention, please tweet me or get in touch through my agent, Patrick.


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