A River Called Time by Courttia Newland Summary
A monumental speculative fiction story of love, loyalty, politics, and conscience, set in parallel Londons. "Newland...imagines a world where colonialism never happened at all...It's speculative fiction that genuinely made me speculate." --Wired "Newland has produced a text that piques and provokes, providing a guidebook to worlds both uncomfortably familiar and radically new." --Strange Horizons "An immersive speculative novel set in a dystopian city that’s facing an uprising." --Foreword Reviews "This mystical coming-of-age tale...is sure to please fans of thought-provoking speculative fiction." --Publishers Weekly "This is an ambitiously imagined book that, by removing the European lens on African cultures, creates a new reality that allows us to question how we view our own. Complex and multilayered, this novel opens the door to the possibilities of noncolonial worlds." --Kirkus Reviews "Courttia Newland is a formidable writer...And his latest work, A River Called Time, is an extraordinary piece of speculative fiction...Newland offers a brilliant remix of history...This may be a work of speculative fiction but its critical lens is present and prescient." --Financial Times, reviewed by Imani Perry "No one can doubt the sheer energy and verve of Newland’s vision." --The Guardian (UK), Book of the Day selection "Class, race, different iterations of self, the power of the imagination, Afrofuturism, politics, spirituality, physics and philosophy--it's all here in a high-concept novel blending sci-fi and speculative fiction with the self-critique of memoir." --The Herald (UK) "Newland subtly and smoothly incorporates elements of Egyptian mythology into his alternative landscape, building an altered history that is entirely believable...This kind of thing is not easy to portray well in fiction, but Courttia Newland does so with a confident hand, leading the reader through different worlds with aplomb." --The Big Issue (UK) "The seventh novel from Newland, who also co-wrote Steve McQueen’s recent Small Axe film series, is set in an alternative London where the privileged live in a giant Ark, and in a timeline in which slavery and colonialism never happened." --BBC News "A brilliantly realized story." --i (UK), a Best Book of 2021 "Rooted in a decolonized narrative style where every turn of phrase brings forth the weight of its cultural implications, A River Called Time is a deeply thoughtful, surprising and rewarding read." --The Arts Desk (UK) "Mightily impressive...an extraordinary...exploration of history, identity and time." --Daily Mail (UK) "This is a splendid and complex book with many layers and is written superbly well...I have never read a book quite like this before." --NB Magazine (UK) The Ark was built to save the lives of the many, but rapidly became a refuge for the elite, the entrance closed without warning. Years after the Ark was cut off from the world--a world much like our own, but in which slavery has never existed--a chance of survival within the Ark's confines is granted to a select few who can prove their worth. Among their number is Markriss Denny, whose path to future excellence is marred only by a closely guarded secret: without warning, his spirit leaves his body, allowing him to see and experience a world far beyond his physical limitations. Once inside the Ark, Denny learns of another with the same power, whose existence could spell catastrophe for humanity. He is forced into a desperate race to understand his abilities, and in doing so uncovers the truth about the Ark, himself, and the people he thought he once knew.