Blog Tour (Excerpt): A History Of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel

Publisher : Tor (February 2, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250262062
ISBN-13 : 978-1250262066

“[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.

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..

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The Excerpt

Excerpt from
By Sylvain Neuvel Publishing 2021

Germany surrendered the same day we arrived in Moscow. The highest-ranking asshole left alive signed the German Instrument of Surrender—good name for a piece of paper—and poof. Nazi Germany ceased to exist. Just like that.
I thought it would mean … more to me. I don’t know what I thought. That it would put an end to all the suffering, restore my faith in humanity, something like that. I think they just ran out of people to kill. The dead are still dead, the burned still burned. The war in Europe is over but it rages on in the Pacific. More bombs, more death, more bodies floating in rivers.
They’ll put some Nazi leaders on trial, but the rest of them aren’t going anywhere. The policemen who shot families on the street. The baker who told the Gestapo his neighbor was a Jew. The kind people who stood by and did absolutely nothing. They’re all there. I’m still here.
What I really hoped for was to feel like myself again. I thought it would erase what I’ve seen, what I’ve done. But you can’t make the past go away. The war has smeared all of us, and those stains won’t come off in our lifetimes.
Oh, and I fucking hate Russia. Mother said I would. Of course, she said it because she knew I’d want to decide that for myself. I thought: It can’t be that bad. I’m sure I’ll find something to like. New place, new friends. It’ll keep my mind busy. Maybe I can stop thinking about what I did. Maybe I can stop thinking about Bad Saarow. I helped her pack. I didn’t whine, not once. Now I can’t say she didn’t warn me.
She never said anything about moving into a haunted house. Our place was built at the end of the century. They call it “Art Nouveau.” I doubt it was ever “nouveau.” When electricity came along, they stapled the wires on the walls and ceilings and painted over them. The lights flicker whenever I walk by. I swear, we live with the spirit of the previous owner and he’s just as pissed as I am about the water heater. My guess is he killed himself after staring at green walls for too long, that or the seizure-inducing roses on the kitchen wallpaper.
I barely understand why we had to leave. I sure as hell don’t know why we had to come here. Mother said we’re going to build rockets, but there had to be better places than this. The Soviets torched everything west of here to slow the Germans’ advance, and the Germans burned it all again on the way out. There’s nothing left. No farmland, no livestock. There’s nothing to eat, anywhere. Moscow’s just fog and slyakot, mud and melting snow taking over the city streets. The people are great, though, except one in seven is dead and the other six are famished.
It’s the Soviets that defeated Hitler. For every American soldier who died, the Soviets lost eighty. We haven’t met anyone here who didn’t lose a close friend, a husband, a brother. They’ll rebuild everything, of course, with slave labor: two million prisoners of war and just as many Soviet dissidents Stalin had arrested. No wonder these people are paranoid. This whole place is a prison without walls. And if you don’t play nice, you get sent to the one with walls, and forced labor, and death.

Copyright © 2021 by Sylvain Neuvel

Photo Credit: James Andrew Rosen

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.”

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