Publisher : Tor (February 2, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250262062
ISBN-13 : 978-1250262066
Praise for A HISTORY OF WHAT COMES NEXT
“[This series] is filled with virtually limitless narrative possibilities.” ―Kirkus
“An extraordinary twist on the space race and a paean to what smart, strong women can accomplish. I’m always over the moon for Neuvel’s stories!” ―Delilah Dawson
Sylvain Neuvel proves once again he deserves the title of the hottest new SF writer of the 21st century ― and this time he does it by looking back at the storied development of rocketry in the 20th. Clever and compelling, with a succession of kick-ass heroines propelling events along via mayhem and murder behind the scenes, A History of What Comes Next blasts off on page one and will keep you enthralled until the end. ―Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of The Oppenheimer Alternative
“A highly crafted and unique look at the space race, through the eyes of those who exist only to ensure its success… Neuvel’s intriguing first-contact story is set through centuries of manipulation and pursuit. It’s a promising start to what looks to be a dark and exciting trilogy.” ―Library Journal
“The balance of wry narration, wired action, and delicate worldbuilding make for deeply gratifying reading. Fans of alternate history and intelligent sci-fi will love this.” ―Publishers Weekly starred review.
A HISTORY OF WHAT COMES NEXT
By Sylvain Neuvel
Tor.com Publishing 2021
What’s a little girl like you doing so close to the front lines? That’s what he said, in German, of course. It’s a very good question, though “little girl” is a bit of a stretch. I’m nineteen years old, not five. We did always look younger than our age. Anyway, I think a better question is why I walked up to the SS instead of sneaking in. It seemed like a good idea not five minutes ago. Relax, Mia. This is going to work.
Needless to say, I didn’t want to come. It’s 1945 and it’s fucking World War II. Pardon the language. I’ve been hanging out with American GIs for a month. Still, I was seven years old when I left Germany. I never dreamed I’d see it again. I don’t remember much, but I thought … I hoped being here would feel—I don’t know—special. Childhood memories, familiar smells, anything.
They flew me into France with US soldiers from the XXI Corps. A bunch of rude loudmouths, swearing and spitting everywhere. I liked them the minute I saw them. They snuck me into Germany through an unmanned gap in the Siegfried Line. I walked a dozen miles through farmland before I found a German farmer willing to drive me to the nearest town deserving of a train station. From there I spent—I don’t know exactly—what felt like a decade on a near-empty train making my way northeast.
I slept through Bremen and Hamburg. The Allies pummeled Hamburg to dust. I didn’t want to see it. Not the crumbled buildings, not the shattered lives. Certainly not the dead. I’ve seen the war in black-and-white. Fifty thousand civilians burned alive is not something I need in living color. I stayed awake for barley. And beets. Beets and barley and the endless sound of train tracks. Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack.
I watched people come in and out. Little vignettes of human resilience. Children in soldier’s uniforms hovering between tears and laughter. Haggard nurses leaving one hell for another. A man and his boy fleeing the night raids. Like most, they don’t speak, except for the occasional “Put your head down, son” when gray-green greatcoats and jackboots plod the aisle. Ordinary people in extraordinary times. We all stare at the yellow fields, pretending none of this is real. Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack.
We crossed a small bridge near Rostock. There was a body floating in the river below. A woman. She was drifting facedown, her red polka-dot dress bulging with air. She could have been anyone. Sixteen or sixty. All I know is she was dead and no one seemed to notice her but me. I kept waiting for someone to see her. They didn’t. I stared for as long as I could. I twisted my neck backwards, hugging the window until she vanished behind us. I had to see her. I don’t know why. I couldn’t let her … not matter like that.
Copyright © 2021 by Sylvain Neuvel
Showing that truth is stranger than fiction, Sylvain Neuvel weaves a scfi thriller reminiscent of Blake Crouch and Andy Weir, blending a fast moving, darkly satirical look at 1940s rocketry with an exploration of the amorality of progress and the nature of violence in A History of What Comes Next.
Always run, never fight.
Preserve the knowledge.
Survive at all costs.
Take them to the stars.
Over 99 identical generations, Mia’s family has shaped human history to push them to the stars, making brutal, wrenching choices and sacrificing countless lives. Her turn comes at the dawn of the age of rocketry. Her mission: to lure Wernher Von Braun away from the Nazi party and into the American rocket program, and secure the future of the space race.
But Mia’s family is not the only group pushing the levers of history: an even more ruthless enemy lurks behind the scenes.
A darkly satirical first contact thriller, as seen through the eyes of the women who make progress possible and the men who are determined to stop them..
Sylvain Neuvel dropped out of high school at age 15. Along the way, he has been a journalist, worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California, and furniture across Canada. He received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago. He taught linguistics in India, and worked as a software engineer in Montreal. He is also a certified translator, though he wishes he were an astronaut. He absolutely loves toys; his girlfriend would have him believe that he has too many, so he writes about aliens and giant robots as a blatant excuse to build action figures (for his son, of course). His debut, Sleeping Giants, was described by NPR as “one of the most promising series kickoffs in recent memory.”