That night saw me lying in bed drawing up the lengthiest catastrophic fantasy I had ever created. My childlike coping mechanism, my method of diverting real pain into stories, had returned. What was the worst that could possibly happen to me and my then five-year old son, I thought? What if the utilities were cut off? Electricity and gas, followed by communications? What about the water stopping too? What if London fell into chaos and my son and I were forced on the run to hide in the safety of our little hamlet in Northamptonshire? And what if, once we got there, things were not better, but far, far worse?
In that one hour, although I did not know it at the time, I had dreamt up the entire plot to my debut, This Fragile Earth.
Susannah Wise is an actor and writer who grew up in London and the Midlands.
A childhood spent outdoors inspired her love of nature and tree climbing.
The death of her father in 2015 was the catalyst for THIS FRAGILE EARTH. His preoccupation with astronomy and the beauty of the night sky formed the jumping-off point for the story. Susannah studied at the Faber Academy, graduating in September 2018, during which time she wrote a second, more peculiar novel.
Both books have been longlisted for the Mslexia prize.
She lives in London with her partner and son.
June 3rd, 2021 - 'Unboxing video! Cannot describe the feeling of getting to hold a beautiful finished copy of "This Fragile Earth" in my hands.'
'This is an intense, engaging and beautifully written first novel'
Lisa Tuttle - Guardian June 11th, 2021
What would you do to protect your family if the world stopped working?
Not long from now, in a recognisable yet changed London, Signy and Matthew lead a dull, difficult life. They’ve only really stayed together for the sake of their six year old son, Jed. But they’re surviving, just about. Until the day the technology that runs their world stops working.
Unable to use their phones, pay for anything, even open the smart door to their flat, Matthew assumes that this is just a momentary glitch in the computers that now run the world.
But then the electricity and gas are cut off. Even the water stops running. And the pollination drones – vital to the world, ever since the bees all died – are behaving oddly. People are going missing. Soldiers are on the streets. London is no longer safe.
A shocking incident sends Signy and Jed on the run, desperate to flee London and escape to the small village where Signy grew up. Determined to protect her son, Signy will do almost anything to survive as the world falls apart around them. But she has no idea what is waiting for them outside the city.
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'A compulsive page turner ... The science behind the author's dystopian vision of the future is impressive, but it's the movements of the heart that mark this book as a standout.'
'A fabulous, thoughtful, hugely original apocalyptic novel. Highly recommended.'
'Poignant and perfect. This Fragile Earth shows us exactly how breakable-and reparable-our world is. Not to be missed!'
'What a mind-bending brilliant read. Beautiful and thought provoking, a powerful tribute to the bond between mother and child, LOVED it.'
'Susannah Wise's first novel is a dystopian triumph: dark, compelling, and all too believable like an extended episode of Black Mirror, it reminds us of the power of love.'
'Excellent, wonderfully detailed world-building and the very human, very relatable story of trying to save the ones you love tugged at my heart-strings in a sometimes unbearable way.'
'A remarkably original first novel, beautifully written, about a future that could be just around the corner.'
'A very British disaster epic. Echoes of John Wyndham. Resonances for today.'
'This Fragile Earth is smart, with a fantastic sense of foreboding and anxiety, of ordinary lives about to go horribly off the rails... intelligent and accessible, restrained and suspenseful; hugely impressive work from a new writer.'
'This superbly accomplished debut is dark and compelling but ultimately filled with hope. I couldn't put it down.'
'I absolutely DEVOURED this book. It has everything I love - great characters, intrigue, action, heart, drama and hope. Cannot recommend it enough. It was so nice to read something so gripping it got me off my phone for two days.'
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