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Venomous Lumpsucker

On sale

14th July 2022

Price: £20

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781473613553

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‘A novel that delights, dazzles and moves in equal measure’ Financial Times

‘Brutally satirical and grimly hilarious’ Daily Mail

The irresistible new novel by the Booker-longlisted author Ned Beauman – a darkly funny and incisive zoological thriller for the age of Extinction Rebellion.

The venomous lumpsucker is the most intelligent fish on the planet. Or maybe it was the most intelligent fish on the planet. Because it might already be extinct. Nobody knows. And nobody cares. Except for two people.

Mining executive Mark Halyard has a prison cell waiting for him if that fish has gone for good. And biologist Karin Resaint needs it for her own darker purposes. They don’t trust each other, but they’re left with no choice but to team up, pursuing the lumpsucker across the strange landscapes of near-future Europe. On the way, they are drawn into a conspiracy far bigger than one ugly little fish.

Gripping and singular, Venomous Lumpsucker is a comedy about environmental devastation that asks: do we have it in us to avert the tragedy of mass extinction?

And also: do we really need to bother?

‘A hilarious, terrifying novel in which Ned Beauman captures brilliantly the contradictory blend of urgency, paralysis, panic and resignation the climate emergency and its attendant mass extinctions inspire’ Chris Power

What's Inside

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Martin Macinnes, author of INFINITE GROUND
A comic caper about our insanely decadent world careering through ecocide, Venomous Lumpsucker is bracingly, excoriatingly funny on our idiocy and the unquantifiable loss that we enable. It's also savagely, forensically serious on the reality of mass species loss, as illuminating as it is entertaining. It reads like P. G. Wodehouse crashing into Philip K. Dick, with a touch of Iain M. Banks. Of course, it's smart and timely, but the writing is often very beautiful, and the ideas and their implications vertiginous.
Chris Power
Venomous Lumpsucker makes the death of the natural world way more fun than it should be. This is a hilarious, terrifying novel in which Ned Beauman captures brilliantly the contradictory blend of urgency, paralysis, panic and resignation the climate emergency and its attendant mass extinctions inspire. The book left me hoping - but doubting - that Beauman is a lot less prescient than funny.
Elvia Wilk
Ned Beauman is a speculative genius, and Venomous Lumpsucker is an incredible invention. Like a ravenous creature, this book eats up all the great existential crises of the present moment and spits out an insane, hilarious, terrifying future that I, for one, completely believe will come true. Most of all, Beauman grapples head-on with that world-sized heartbreak of species extinction unsparingly and bravely. This book holds all the great pleasures of the best science fiction-novely, hyperbole, technical prowess-but with unusual humor and sensitivity to what it feels to live in this moment. Beauman could not be a more versatile writer. I will read anything he writes.
Jake Arnott
Wildly funny and inventive. A suitably Swiftian satire for the extinction age.
Joanna Kavenna
A wild, absurdist quest; a wild satire of our absurd times. Seriously funny, playfully philosophical: a brilliant novel about nothing less than the future (or otherwise) of humanity. I loved it.
Stephen Bush, Financial Times, Best books for summer
An endlessly inventive, witty and bleak literary thriller set in the not-so-distant future, when environmental collapse has wrecked much of our ecosystem. Running the gamut from strange culinary practices to shady corporate dealing, it'll make you laugh and make you think.
Sunday Times
You might be forgiven for thinking that a novel about impending ecological disaster and mass extinction won't be a barrel of laughs. Yet that combination is exactly what Ned Beauman serves up in Venomous Lumpsucker . . . the novel is as intelligent as it is funny.
Alex Preston, Financial Times
A novel that is both funny and profound, full of extraordinary ideas and brilliant set pieces, but also generous and poignant . . . Venomous Lumpsucker was worth waiting for: a novel that delights, dazzles and moves in equal measure.
Nikhil Krishnan, Daily Telegraph
[Beauman] has always had the curious knack of wrongfooting his readers with a beating heart where one has expected only cleverness . . . Beauman is able to push his fantastic conceits just that one uncomfortable step further . . . the ideas themselves are powerful, and earn their keep within the fictional frame
Daily Mail
Brutally satirical and grimly hilarious
Fascinating . . . An astute, whimsical send-up of the logic of contemporary capitalism, in which more and more elaborate technology is invented to counteract the very disasters that technology has spawned . . . Beauman has an enviable talent for crafting sentences, and an offbeat mind when it comes to analogies and metaphors.
Literary Review
Beauman writes beautifully on the level of the sentence... Beauman's world-building is impeccable, the narrative voice (part Douglas Adams, part Thomas Pynchon, part Jonathan Swift) is often appealing.
Daily Mail
An offbeat, high-wire satire of environmental capitalism and big tech
Full of fun and big ideas, [Beauman's] conceptually tricksy novels crackle with comic zip, alive to the past as well as the present . . . His mischievous intelligence can be felt everywhere
Stuart Kelly, Spectator
Exhilarating . . . the novels do not just have propulsive plotting but the ideas are high-octane as well . . . It could not be more timely. Yet every page has a turn of phrase, a witticism, a wry observation or smart simile that beguiles the reader into taking the serious material seriously.
Books of the Year, Sunday Times
A laugh-out-loud novel about mass extinction (yes, really) . . . this novel is well-paced and warm-hearted, culminating in an ambitious and memorable ending
Kevin Power, Guardian
Enormously pleasurable . . . a near-faultless technical performance . . . Beauman is a master of English prose, a highly self-conscious creator of sophisticated entertainments who almost never makes a false move on the page . . . It's Beauman's best book yet - and that's saying something
Jamie Buxton, Books of the Year, Daily Mail
Scabrously funny and satirical
Simon Ings, The Times
Confirms his reputation as one of the foremost satirists of his generation
New York Times
Venomous Lumpsucker has a utopian future of sorts, but we hardly notice it. In this novel by Ned Beauman, the human species is on trial; the prosecution is at once clinically precise and distractingly funny
A madcap adventure story set in a dystopian world ravaged by climate change
Toronto Star
Beauman is a lively writer with a knack for sharp descriptive language . . . But it's passing observations that futurists will really enjoy, like drugs to kill one's pleasure in food, or facial recognition software for tracking the spread of a cattle plague . . . it's these little things that make Venomous Lumpsucker a special pleasure
Wired Magazine
Beauman's dark comedic writing tears apart the carbon offset industry, while using sharp storytelling to make big climate ideas easy to digest
Chicago Review of Books
Screamingly, bleakly funny . . . Beauman has a superlative knack for quotable, witty, and wince-inducing lines, stuffing every page with the kind of exhilarating humour borne of both despair and empathy. A thriller motivated by deep-sea mining destruction and mass extinction, a gut-punching satire of the failure of the carbon offset project: unfortunately, it's the beach read we deserve. Fortunately, it's a savagely entertaining one
Locus Magazine
A sharp-edged, high-tech, globe-spanning, deeply speculative tale of the near future . . . filled with brilliant characters ranging from the most venal to the most noble. The book is exciting, unpredictable, and thick with ideas; yet at the same time meditative, fated, and simple as a Zen koan