It is the near future, not that far from where we are now, a place where water has become a scarce commodity

The city demands water, it is bought in on the Water Train and guarded by man and machine against sabotage.

Dry rivers mean that there is not enough water. Icebergs are calved and dragged south. A new Ice Dock is planned and then expanded, it will evict more people than was first thought. The city tenses as the protests start.

In this stark new world, people are trying to live; a marksman whose wife is dying, a woman meeting a lover. A man collecting limpets off the rocks, a boy looking for his brother who is searching for his dog.

All are uncertain about this bleak future.

This short dystopian novella is quite something. Jones writes with surgical precision, twelve short chapters fill in more detail about the harshness of this place through the eyes of his characters. He paints an outline sketch of a society that is on a knife-edge between surviving and failing, whilst still have very human and believable characters.

I thought it was a stunning book and I love the cover too. It has a sense of urgency in the writing. I think because it was conceived for radio first, and the limits of time in that medium, both constrain and liberate his writing.

Paul Cheney 4/4

Stillicide by Cynan Jones
Granta Books 9781783785612 hbk Oct 2019