Derek B Miller’s place in the firmament is as yet undecided. His 2012 debut novel Norwegian By Night was an under-appreciated wonder, mixing poignancy, humour and deft, quirky characterisation. Its follow-up, American By Day, was almost as good, but his last book, the Iraq-set The Girl in Green, didn’t work at all for me.
Radio Life is a first foray into science-fiction, and tells of a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic planet which has descended into tribal warfare. At the heart of the dispute is whether the knowledge of the ancients (ie, us), which is stored in a secret Central Archive, should be used to reconstruct society or whether this technology would only destroy the world all over again.
Strong, central women drive the story, which is often witty and which always pulls you on to the next page. Radio Life is a return to form with (pun intended) knobs on.
Radio Life by Derek B Miller is out on January 21 (Quercus, £16.99)