New Treasures: The Destructives by Matthew De Abaitua
Matthew De Abaitua’s first novel for Angry Robot, If Then, was called “Stunningly original and superbly well written… everything science fiction should be aiming for,” by Nina Allen. In his review in Locus magazine, Paul Di Filippo said “This is the kind of post-apocalypse, after-it-all-changed novel that the Brits do with so much more classy, idiosyncratic style than anyone else. It is full of magisterial weirdness, logical surrealism, melancholy joy and hopeful terror.”
His follow-up novel, set in the same world as If Then (and sharing a single character, Alex Drown) is The Destructives, released in paperback in March. From what I’ve read so far, it seems packed with the same gonzo weirdness that made If Then such a success. Well worth checking out.
Theodore Drown is a destructive. A recovering addict to weirdcore, he’s keeping his head down lecturing at the university of the Moon. Twenty years after the appearance of the first artificial intelligence, and humanity is stuck. The AIs or, as they preferred to be called, emergences have left Earth and reside beyond the orbit of Mercury in a Stapledon Sphere known as the university of the sun. The emergences were our future but they chose exile. All except one. Dr Easy remains, researching a single human life from beginning to end. Theodore’s life.
One day, Theodore is approached by freelance executive Patricia to investigate an archive of data retrieved from just before the appearance of the first emergence. The secret living in that archive will take him on an adventure through a stunted future of asylum malls, corporate bloodrooms and a secret off-world colony where Theodore must choose between creating a new future for humanity or staying true to his nature, and destroying it.
The Destructives was published by Angry Robot on March 1, 2016. It is 415 pages, priced at $7.99 in paperback and $6.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Raid71. See more details at the Angry Robot website.
It seems that post-apocalyptic stories and novels are filling the space left by the (thankfully, finally) decline in zombie and vampire works. Not a he improvement, as far as my reading tastes are concerned, but perhaps one day – with anything that can be imagined to write about – writers will find something less trite and grim about which to write.
Perhaps it’s not authors who are to blame, but editors, who are choosing post-apocalyptic tales over vampire urban romances?
And editors buy what sells, after all. So maybe it’s readers who are to blame for shifting trends, as much as writers? That’s the way it seems to me, anyway.
Bit sad, that the author failed to name the sequel “Else”.