Shortlisted for the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards
“Hill is a true innovator, a brilliant prose stylist and a writer with a high level of invention. Zero Bomb mixes intense human drama and political struggle to show that great SF exists as much on the streets of today’s Britain as it does in the stars.” – Jeff Noon, author of Vurt
“Conceived at the height of an unprecedented national crisis, M.T. Hill’s Zero Bomb is a violent, vital novel about virtue, loyalty, decency and love, even as we watch these timeless human attributes dissolve in the stomach acids of the World Machine. Think E M Forster’s The Machine Stops, written for the Westworld age, and you may just gain a fingerhold on this crazed colt of a book.” – Simon Ings, author of Wolves and The Smoke
“The fragmented story of Remi, a traumatised man struggling to remake his life, reminds me in its surrealism of Tom McCarthy’s Remainder. Intense and well observed, Zero Bomb delves into our fears and distrust of technology, and our political anxieties stoked by twenty-four hour news.” – Anne Charnock, author of Dreams Before the Start of Time
“A beautifully-written and profoundly dislocating book about a chillingly-plausible near future and its discontents. Absolutely essential reading.” – Dave Hutchinson, author of the Fractured Europe sequence
“An ambitious novel that effortlessly combines speculation, social commentary, metafiction, and a compulsively readable story. Thrilling, audacious and timely, M.T. Hill’s visions of the future feel closer to reality than they should.” – Helen Marshall, author of The Migration
“Zero Bomb is a novel on the bleeding edge of desperate times. Delicious shivers of strangeness – an allotment of limbs, a fox that is also a surveillance device – bring an old magic to a future Britain broken by zero hours contracts, algorithmic bosses, and 24/7 alienation. Using a bold structure, the novel reveals its mysteries across different facets of a compelling near-future North.” – Matthew De Abaitua, author of The Red Men, IF THEN and The Destructives
“Vivid and richly imagined, Zero Bomb is a passionate examination of who we are and a warning of what we could shortly become. I couldn’t put it down.” – Catriona Ward, author of Rawblood and Little Eve
“A moving portrait of a grief-stricken man questioning his very existence in a nightmarish post-Brexit England… Hill has created a hero for our times whose journey towards the truth is compulsively readable.” – The Guardian
“A rich tapestry of literary science fiction that combines metafiction, mystery, and a possible future that is at once terrifying and invigorating.” – Booklist
“Fresh, insightful and powerful.” – Locus
“Fans of rich worldbuilding will find this a plausible vision full of intriguing ideas.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Very good indeed.” – Interzone
“A fascinating novel, one which goes to unexpected places; and it stands as very different.” – Lightspeed
“Zero Bomb is ultimately a satisfying look at the future of labor, automation, human frailty and the duality of terrorist versus freedom fighter. Hill’s book is a startling depiction of a multitude of modern anxieties.” – Shelf Awareness
“A bold and alarming vision of an automated future and those who might resist it.” – Foreword Reviews
“Meticulously constructed.” – Starburst
“An inventive thriller about the increasingly blurred lines between machine and man.” – SFX
“Gripping… Grim in places, bitterly funny in others.” – SciFiNow
“A grimy near future dystopia with an unusual structure and predictions that feel uncomfortably accurate.” – GeekDad
“A combination of SF thriller and a haunting warning about the future that I think those who enjoy their science fiction with political bite and moral complexity should find very appealing.” – Runalong The Shelves
What it’s about
The near future. Following the death of his daughter Martha, Remi flees the north of England for London. Here he tries to rebuild his life as a cycle courier, delivering subversive documents under the nose of an all-seeing state.
But when a driverless car attempts to run him over, Remi soon discovers that his old life will not let him move on so easily. Someone is leaving coded messages for Remi across the city, and they seem to suggest that Martha is not dead at all.
Unsure what to believe, and increasingly unable to trust his memory, Remi is slowly drawn into the web of a dangerous radical whose ‘70s sci-fi novel is now a manifesto for direct action against automation, technology, and England itself.
The deal? Remi can see Martha again – if he joins the cause.