The Human Front

Winner of the Sidewise and Seiun Awards.

Ken MacLeod is one of the brightest and most progressive of Britain’s “Hard SF” stars who navigate exciting new futures to the delight of legions of fans around the world. His works combine cutting-edge scientific speculation, socialist and anarchist themes, and a deeply humanistic vision. Described by fans and adversaries alike as a “techno-utopian socialist,” MacLeod thrusts his characters into uncanny encounters that have included AI singularities, divergent human evolution, and posthuman cyborg-resurrection.

In his novella The Human Front, a young Scottish guerrilla fighter is drawn into low-intensity sectarian war in a high-intensity dystopian future, and the arrival of an alien intruder (complete with saucer!) calls for new tactics and strange alliances. Its companion piece, “Other Deviations,” first published in this edition, reveals the complex origins of MacLeod’s alternate history.

Plus: “The Future Will Happen Here, Too,” in which a Hebridean writer celebrates the landscapes that shaped his work, measures Scotland’s past against humanity’s future, and peers into the eyes of an eel.

And Featuring: our irreverent Outspoken Interview, a candid and often cantankerous conversation that showcases our author’s deep erudition and mordant wit.

Praise:

The Human Front has pretty much everything you could ask from a great story: character, insight, plot, that quality of description that transports a feeling, sensation, incident or landscape seemingly direct from world to mind, and revelation. It has substance. It should make your mind reel, and work.”
—Iain M. Banks

“Scottish author MacLeod bolsters his tight, brilliant 2001 alternate-history novella with two supporting essays and a lengthy interview, combining revolutionary politics, flying-saucer lore, and family dynamics in a slender but potent volume. The eponymous novella takes up the bulk of the book, tracing the life of Scottish resistance fighter John Matheson as he’s gradually radicalized. In his world, Stalin is gunned down by American troops and flying saucers serve as Allied bombers. Matheson’s revolutionary career takes a turn for the strange when he shoots a saucer down, taking its pilot prisoner and opening the door to a far deeper mystery. The essays—one on the novella’s setting and one on the landscape of fiction—lend depth and context to what is already an excellent tale, one that readers should be glad to see made readily available in the United States.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review.

The Human Front is a complete knock out—very funny, ingenious, and so densely political it might give you a headache. This novella has more ideas and better characters than most novels. It’s elegant, eloquent and laugh-out-loud funny. And that last quality by itself makes it worth the very weird trip.”
—Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

The Human Front is a feather-weight book, which packs a heavyweight punch. In terms of size, it’s a novella, but it includes more entertainment than many books that are four times its length.”
—Nathan Brazil, SF Site

“Science fiction’s freshest new writer…MacLeod is a fiercely intelligent, prodigiously well-read author who manages to fill his books with big issues without weighing them down.”
Salon

“Ken MacLeod’s novels are fast, funny and sophisticated. There can never be enough books like these: he is writing revolutionary SF. A nova has appeared in our sky.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson

About the Author:

Ken MacLeod is one of the brightest and most progressive of Britain’s new “Hard SF” stars who are navigating exciting new futures, to the delight of a growing legion of fans around the world. His award-winning works combine cutting-edge scientific speculation, socialist and anarchist themes, and a deep humanistic vision. Described by fans and detractors alike as a “techno-utopian socialist,” MacLeod delights in engaging recognizable characters in far-flung adventures across the boundaries of space and time.

Born in Scotland’s legendary Outer Isles, MacLeod graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in zoology and has worked as a computer programmer and written a masters thesis on biomechanics. A regular in British SF and progressive circles, he is married and has two children. He lives in South Queensferry, Scotland.

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