More Praise for Cosmogramma:
"Courttia Newland’s collection of fifteen short stories, Cosmogramma, reads like Black Mirror or The Twilight Zoneturned into prose."
"The collection’s 16 stories interweave an unsettling familiarity with the strange, tackling themes such as the technological arms race, addiction, racism, state-sanctioned violence, and xenophobia, holding up a mirror to contemporary society and forbidding the reader to look away and take comfort in escapism...These visions of largely grim alternate realities and bleak futures will be appreciated by those who prize speculative fiction’s ability to tell uncomfortable truths about our present."
“Newland’s second venture into science fictional territories is a rich, diverse collection of short stories.”
“Short stories have long been the bedrock of science fiction, and this batch is full of fresh, intriguing premises around which entire novels could have been based.”
“A collection that pushes the edges of sci-fi and Africanfuturism. The stories in Cosmogramma deal with class, race, and power imbalance, and more than one of them ends in regime change and/or mass casualties at the hands of renegade robots and/or mutant children. Sound grim? It can be, but Newland’s cinematic storytelling and sense for justice often leave you feeling like things turned out the way they should.”
—Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the Best New Books of November 2021
"Newland's work is tender but urgent, grounded but visionary. Risks don't frighten him. These highly imaginative, often cautionary tales seem the product of a world governed by outrage, anxiety, and unease. You won't forget them in a hurry. Nor should you."
—Rupert Thomson, author of Barcelona Dreaming
"The stories in Cosmogramma are shot through with a sense of foreboding, a feeling that we as a species are heading for self annihilation if we don't get our act together and fast. In that sense, and in several others, the stories feel unsettlingly contemporary and can—and should—be read as a last call to action. 'The Sanofka Principle' in particular bent my mind out of shape, in a good way. Now there's a story that requires (and repays) close reading!"
—Stephen Thompson, author of Meet Me Under the Westway
Critical Praise for A River Called Time:
"A River Called Time is a masterful reimagining of the African diaspora's influence on England, and on the world. It's a grand tale and still an intimate portrait of loss and love. What glory and influence would Africa enjoy if colonialism had never occurred? Courttia Newland reshapes our vision of the past, present, and future by taking this one question seriously. The result is something truly special. No other way to put it, this book is true Black magic."
—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling
"No one can doubt the sheer energy and verve of Newland's vision."
A grab bag of speculative stories by British author Newland that stress themes of freedom, oppression, and obligation.
These 15 deeply imagined (if sometimes knotty) stories generally turn on humanity at risk of being undermined, either by technology or its own worst instincts. The title story is rich with imagery of children who can produce colors when they sing, until the story's ending suggests how that talent is ripe for dystopian exploitation. In “Percipi,” the makers of humanoids that are “more human than humankind” hubristically lose their grip on their creation, prompting both a civil war and ethical debate over who counts as a homo sapien. In “Seed,” the Earth is overwhelmed by giant plants, stoking violent responses that backfire. In the strongest stories, Newland wrestles at length with the moral consequences of these predicaments. “Nommo” centers on a couple on a relaxed island vacation who are summoned to help save a failing mutant underwater species, if they’re not too self-interested for the task. (“We do not make decrees or threats,” they’re told. “We are not human.”) And in “The Sankofa Principle,” a spaceship goes through a time warp that sends it to Earth in 1794, opening the question of what its crew can do to eliminate slavery. Newland’s writing is in league with a host of SF subgenres, from pulpy space opera to N.K. Jemisin–style Afrofuturism to Jeff VanderMeer–esque eco-fiction. But his chief skill is weaving those tropes into stories that are both wildly speculative and on the news, as in the Brexit allegory “The Difference Between Me and You” or the harrowing “Control,” which shows the grim endgame of anti-immigrant law enforcement policies.
Wide-ranging and deeply imaginative; Newland is equally at home in council flats and deep space.