GNOMON. Damn. How I do talk about this without spoiling it?
GNOMON is the new book by Nick Harkaway. It’s the best thing he’s ever written and it makes my writing look like the work of a fetal alcohol syndrome case. You want to know how good GNOMON is? I hate him for it. Haaaate. I had a little hategasm just typing those words.
Imagine a highly-democratised total-surveillance state in the near future. I mean, extraordinarily fine-grained democratic action by and for the people, which also oversees an utterly transparent national surveillance operation. Refusing to participate will get you noticed. If you refuse an interview on the subject, your mind will be read – a process that is not only painless but also has health benefits!
And then someone dies under the process. An inspector is placed on the case to discover how such a rarity could happen. This involves taking the read into her own head, to relive the interviewee’s experience.
There’s something impossible in the read. There’s something impossible in the dead woman’s head.
This book has more than one book in it. It is an astonishing piece of construction, complex and witty and, frankly, evil. Yes, Nick, I am looking at you right now. There are some downright evil moments in this book.
It’s science fiction, but also historical fiction and social fiction and just plain odd fiction. It is a magnificent achievement and the book everyone will be talking about when it comes out in November. He’s never written a bad book, but this is the one that’ll see him mentioned in the same breath as William Gibson and David Mitchell (CLOUD ATLAS). Two names I evoke for very specific reasons.
This book seriously just destroyed me with joy.
GNOMON, Nick Harkaway (UK) (US)
Taken from last week’s edition of my newsletter, which you can subscribe to at this link here.