Rian Hughes Plans Second Novel, The Black Locomotive, to Follow XX

When we ran a little bit of hype on the upcoming novel by Rian Hughes, XX: A Novel, Graphic, we only had the UK cover to go on, but the Design Observer website has highlighted the American cover below, as part of an interview of Rian Hughes from a design and typographical perspective.

#RianHughes Planning Second Novel, The Black Locomotive, to Follow XX
#RianHughes Planning Second Novel, The Black Locomotive, to Follow XX

Hughes tells the magazine

I'm hoping that if XX does well, I'll have the opportunity to create more 'self-authored' work. Next up is another 'novel, graphic' called The Black Locomotive, which has the benefit of being a lot shorter than XX. The elevator pitch is J. G. Ballard's Crash or High Rise meets steam engines. Watch for it in 2021.

#RianHughes Planning Second Novel, The Black Locomotive, to Follow XX

Will do, Rian, will do. For now, here's that pitch for XX.

The battle for your mind has already begun.

At Jodrell Band in England Observatory in England, a radio telescope has detected a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin—a message that may be the first communication from an interstellar civilization. Has humanity made first contact? Is the signal itself a form of alien life? Could it be a threat? If so, how will the people of Earth respond?

Jack Fenwick, artificial intelligence expert, believes that he and his associates at tech startup Intelligencia can interpret the message a find a way to step into the realm the signal encodes. What they find is a complex alien network beyond anything mankind has imagined.

Drawing on Dada, punk and the modernist movements of the twentieth century, XX is assembled from redacted NASA reports, artwork, magazine articles, secret transcripts and a novel within a novel. Deconstructing layout and language in order to explore how idea propagate, acclaimed designer and artist Rian Hughes's debut novel presents a compelling vision of humanity's unique place in the universe, and a realistic depiction of what might happen in the wake of the biggest scientific discovery in human history.

Propulsive and boldly designed, XX is a gripping, wildly imaginative, utterly original work.


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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