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In Ascension


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About the Author

Martin MacInnes was born in Inverness in 1983. He is the author of Infinite Ground and Gathering Evidence, and he is the winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and a Manchester Fiction Prize. In 2020 he was selected by the Guardian/British Council as One of Ten Writers Shaping the UK's Future. He lives in Edinburgh.


Astonishing... Beautifully written, richly atmospheric, full of brilliantly evoked detail, never sacrificing the grounded verisimilitude of lived experience to its vast mysteries, but also capturing a numinous, vatic strangeness that hints at genuine profundities about life. Nobody else writes like MacInnes, and this magnificent book is his best yet

Monumental... In Ascension rarely slips from G-inducing pace. It's that rare thing: a big, brawny novel of ideas that's actually readable. And for that considerable achievement, MacInnes deserves praise. It's no small thing, after all, to reach for the stars

I would sincerely hope to see In Ascension on various prize shortlists... Its intellectual daring is formidable. This is fiction which is both stellar and grounded; an exemplar of what the novel alone can still do
*The Scotsman*

A shattering investigation of nothing less than humanity's place in the cosmos
*Daily Mail*

A tremendous novel that takes you to surprising places so carefully that you don't notice until everything has changed
*The Times*

Mesmerising... Profoundly humane... In Ascension is epic in scale, diving to the bottom of the deepest ocean and then up to the furthest reaches of the universe
*Sunday Times*

To the handful of recent classics such as Richard Powers' The Overstory and Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future can be added Martin MacInnes' In Ascension... The richness of the novel is endlessly rewarding. In Ascension is a far-reaching epic that blends a deep scientific knowledge with a wide-eyed wonder at our place in the universe
*Financial Times*

In Ascension finds as much poetry in the human microbiome as it does in the grand revolutions of the planets. It is a love letter to life...a primer to marvel
*The TLS*

In Ascension is strewn with jaw-dropping ideas... I'm still chewing over them

Laura Jean McKay, Colson Whitehead and Emily St John Mandel are serious novelists...crafting extraordinary and original speculative fiction. To that list, add Martin MacInnes

I don't think I've ever read a book that was as profound and moving at every scale - the cell, the family, the universe. In Ascension is a remarkable, expansive, stunning achievement
*Karen Joy Fowler, author of Booth*

An awe-inspiring and gripping epic
*Graeme Macrae Burnet, author of Case Study*

Martin McInnes's imagination knows no bounds: he unites the unplumbed depths of the oceans to the infinity of interstellar space in his bravura, breathtaking, audacious In Ascension. No novel I know has conveyed, in such a shiveringly exciting and original way, that old truth: We are all made of stardust. Like Ted Chiang's 'Story of Your Life', and Jeff VanderMeer's 'Southern Reach Trilogy', this is an instant classic. Read it and feel awe and wonder.
*Neel Mukherjee, author of A State of Freedom*

A gorgeous, sombre epic, worthy of its precursors in Stanislaw Lem, J.G. Ballard, Olaf Stapledon and Stanley Kubrick. It will be of commanding interest to all whose ears prick up at those names, or any reader hungry to see the novel's cosmic and intimate dimensions reconciled with seemingly effortless grace
*Jonathan Lethem*

Nothing else in contemporary fiction compares to the mind state induced in you by a Martin MacInnes novel. You're simultaneously lulled by his prose, which is noiseless and unerring like some kind of billion-dollar lab tech, and maintained in a state of constant low-level disorientation by his completely unpredictable choices, his mysteries left audaciously unanswered. In Ascension is a wondrous, hypnotic book by one of my favourite working authors
*Ned Beauman, author of Venomous Lumpsucker*

An absorbing, serious, and wonderful novel. It will stay with you.
*Daisy Hildyard, author of Emergency*

An extraordinary novel - planetary and beyond planetary. The salt and blood, the tide and the bloom, the stuff of the world, will haunt you
*JM Ledgard, author of Submergence*

Truly incredible. Beautiful and moving. A masterpiece
*Lee Rourke, author of Glitch*

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