Atlantic Books to publish bold new novel by Martin MacInnes

22nd March 2022

Atlantic Fiction Publishing Director James Roxburgh has acquired World rights for In Ascension by Martin MacInnes from Rachel Conway at Georgina Capel Associates. In Ascension will be published in HB, TPB and E-book in February 2023.

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 2021 he was selected by the Guardian/British Council as One of Ten Writers Shaping the UK’s Future. He lives in Edinburgh.

Leigh grew up in Rotterdam, drawn to the waterfront as a refuge from her unhappy home life and volatile father. Enchanted by the marine world of her childhood, she excels in postgraduate research on ancient algae. When an unfathomable vent appears in the mid-Atlantic floor, Leigh joins the investigating team; what she finds there will change her life forever.

Around the same time, a trio of engineers, unknown to each other, make a seismic breakthrough in rocket propulsion, announcing an almost limitless era of space exploration. Billions of dollars is poured into projects, and Leigh’s classified research on the ocean vent sees her recruited to develop an experimental food source for off-world travel. From her base in the Mojave desert, she’s drawn further into the space agency’s work, where she learns of a series of anomalies suggesting a beacon sent from the far side of the solar system. In responding to this beacon, Leigh embarks on a journey that will take her across the breadth of the cosmos and the fullness of a single human life.

James Roxburgh, Publishing Director for Atlantic Fiction, says:

‘I often ambush folk to tell them that Martin MacInnes is one of the UK’s boldest, most original writers at work today, and In Ascension is more stunning support of that claim. It’s a novel that takes our protagonist up into the outer reaches of space, but one that explores the basic experience of being alive with the same wonder and awe that we usually reserve for the stars; it seeks to radically decentre the human project and aims to put us back into a contract of humility with the world around us; it has a deep interest in the far limits of science that makes me think of Solaris or Annihilation (and a stunning, mobius-strip twist that reminds me of Arrival), but its fundamental curiosity in the moral stuff of what, who and how we are makes me think more of Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Richard Powers. It’s just an extraordinary achievement, and if the pages of the trade press can count as an ambushing, then, hi!, Martin MacInnes is one of the UK’s boldest, most original writers at work today.’