If there were a literary award just for titles it would be difficult to imagine anyone beating Ned Beauman’s Venomous Lumpsucker this year.
The latest novel from the Booker-longlisted author is set in the 2030s after climate change has reaped exactly what it promises to sow. Mass extinction has become so common that there are severe penalties for anyone who causes an intelligent species to disappear, which is something that may or not have just happened with the venomous lumpsucker.
Beauman’s comedy of errors, which dares to inject humour into the most horrifying aspects of climate change and extinction, is undoubtedly the most original novel of the year. He has constructed a truly horrifying vision of our future, not because of the desolate landscapes or the acidic lakes, but because the people in charge appear to be as useless as they are now. God help us all.
Barry Pierce is a journalist and cultural commentator
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