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New Treasures: Zero Bomb by M.T. Hill

Saturday, May 25th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Zero Bomb-small Zero Bomb-back-small

Cover by Julia Lloyd

M.T. Hill used to write under the name Matt Hill. Under that name he published the 2017 Philip K. Dick Award nominee Graft, which we covered back in 2016. Lots of folks really liked that book; Edward J Rathke called it “a brilliant eulogy for our ruined future” and Publishers Weekly said it “captures the dark underbelly of Manchester in visceral prose… [a] refreshing take on a futuristic mystery.” His follow-up Zero Bomb was released in March, and is already winning accolades. Here’s an excerpt from Paul Di Filippo’s Locus Online review.

The byline M.T. Hill is a not-too-opaque screen for the writer Matt Hill, whose two previous books under that name have been The Folded Man (2013) and Graft (2016). I mention this fact only because his third novel, Zero Bomb, is so good that you will want to snatch up copies of the first two, as I just did… It features a not-unfamiliar and especially au courant theme — near-future societal and technological collapse — but presents it in so poignant and authentic and original a manner… that it feels fresh, insightful and powerful.

Part I opens in the year 2030, and focuses on a man, approaching middle age, named Remi. Due to a family tragedy — the death of his young daughter Martha — Remi suffers a mental breakdown and abandons his wife Joan and every aspect of his successful life. He becomes more or less a vagrant temp-worker, gets hooked on the drug spark, recovers, and begins to lift himself out of the pit of despair and nihilism. When the tale really kicks off, Remi is a bike messenger in London… One day his current errand is short-circuited when a driverless car attempts to kill him. After that, the deluge. Remi is contacted by a cybernetic fox, who, we eventually learn, is named Rupal, and is one of the more charming personages in the story. The fox delivers a package to Remi with instructions for delivery. Arriving, coerced, at his destination, Remi discovers he has been enrolled willy-nilly in a conspiracy to topple the civilization of “automatic England…” The whole conspiracy is modeled on an old SF novel from 1971: The Cold Veil, by Laurel M. Brace. In fact, Brace might still be around and leading the movement. Part II leaves Remi behind and gives us an abridged sample of The Cold Veil itself. It’s a spot-on rendition of such an artifact from a different era.

Zero Bomb was published by Titan Books on March 19, 2019. It is 303 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback and $3.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Julia Lloyd. Read an excerpt at Tor.com. According to Hill’s website, Zero Bomb and his upcoming novel The Breach (Titan, March 2020) “share a fictional northern town called Dillock… but they’re otherwise standalone.”

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