We’re in Sonoma this weekend and I’m sat by the pool with one objective: finish Ray Nayler’s electric, goosebump-inducing novel The Mountain in the Sea. I’ve been sat in the sun for far too long but I can’t stop turning the page, can’t stop thinking about this frightening, potential future that Nayler has drawn here.
I bounced off this book a few times and it’s hard to say why. I think I struggle with a lot of sci-fi novels in their opening chapters because I feel lost at sea a bit: why are these people wearing masks that camouflage their appearance with neon-strobes? What happened to the USA? And why is everyone acting like everything’s okay when everything is clearly awful?
Anyway, after a few pages it all clicked and I fell completely in love with this thing. Nayler’s book is about language and aliens and being alone and terrifying factory ships that dominate the oceans with rail guns and rogue AIs buried deep in their hulls. It’s the rarest kind of novel; where the world feels complete and right from the start you’re panic-reading page after page in the hopes of getting a glimpse of your future.