Back to the future

Ann Donald finds the republication of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 science fiction novel Three Go Back a culture shock.

Lewis Grassic Gibbon and red clay soil go hand in , hand. Rarely is the acclaimed writer ofA Scots Qurlir . linked with science fiction. However, as one Scottish publisher blows the dust front his I932 novel Three Go Back. an all-new, somewhat strange Gibbon is emerging.

The novel explores the nature of civilisation, with analogies ofa crumbling. stinking depression and a socially unjust world. It should appeal to both avid Terry Pratchett fans and devotees of Gibbon‘s Sunset Sung . It must be said, though. that the phrase ‘heavy going' had a tendency to pop into this head on a regular basis given the weighty passages of theorising that passed for conversation.

However. Ian Campbell. Professor in Scottish Literature at Edinburgh University, a sci-ii buff who

Scotland’s beloved lewis Grassic Gibbon will be seen in a new light with the publication oi his sci-ii iantasy

wrote the introduction to Three Go Back has no The whole book is Gibbon's lyn'cal and literary of mam’age. clothes or sexual shame. to a place doubts about the novel‘s appeal. ‘Like any sci-ii i celebration of his own political and diffusionist where people lived simple lives.‘ says Campbell. book it is an attempt to let you take in the science theories. To illustrate these. Gibbon uses a character And what ofthe book‘s relevance to a society on the almost unnoticed,‘ he explains. ‘while giving you the akin to himself, the Marxist-anarchist Keith, who cusp ofa new millennium? ‘I think there's a growing pleasure of fully realised chracters. a plot, proclaims midway through the novel: ‘. . . primitive disenchantment with the world of civilisation.‘ he excitement . . . and that putting off ofthe moment of man was no monster. it was the early civilisations replies. ‘Depression. boom and bust. fear of realisation that shows what a good writer Lewis and their offshoots that bedevilled him.‘ excessives ofcomputers and mechanisation. People Grassic Gibbon is.‘ For Gibbon in l932. the so-called ‘uncivilised past don't want to go back to the cave but they do want to Three Go Brick is a tale of three time travellers: inhabited by primitive man‘ seemed pretty damn make sure that human values aren‘t lost in the rush of Clair. Keith and Sir John Mullaghan, who are alluring given what he saw as a disenchanted and technology. I‘m sure that's what this book is about: propelled back to the lost idyllic land of Atlantis and - corrupt world, where the divide between the rich and i the endurance of human values against technology.‘ a time that Gibbon's Scottish Renaissance i poor was widening with every sunrise. ‘Tiiree Gr) i contemporary Edwin Muir described as ‘pre-Fall’ a liar-k is L.G.G.'s attempt to wipe the slate clean and Three Go Back by Lewis Grassic Gibbon is published time of innocence. 3 travel back to a place where people have never heard I by P0039011 at £7. 99.

' short story award, Dolan could boast a liie,’ explains Dolan. ‘People have to SHORT STORIES CV packed with his exploits in f coniorm in their outward world which television, theatre and education. The does not otten match a more success oi ‘Sleet And Snow’ has led to i imaginative or other world within.’ So, Polygon publishing a collection oi his in ‘Becorded lielivery’, a betrayed _ darkly humorous vignettes entitled a woman ponders the dire consequences Poor Angels And Other Stories. ‘I sent of revealing a iamily secret and ‘Poor them one story about three years ago Angels’ captures an ad-man’s dilemma

and I got a letter back saying that they in counteracting the soullessness oi Ten years ago, the idea that Scotland liked it and could i send them some his sterile career with the spltltllal could produce a literary movement more,’ recalls Dolan. ‘Thls went on tor protection provided by a stone angel. worthy ot the name seemed as acutely three years and iinally I contacted the For Oolan, his own literary pursuits bizarre as our prospects oi spawning a editor to ask: “Are your intentions are balanced by his commit"! Wk-

snooker millionaire and a popular honourable?” and she said she I At present he is based In Millie

leader oi the opposition. However, wanted to publish a collection.’ I working on education PM!!!” '0'

with names such as James Kelman, the result is a broad sweep dealing UNESCO. ‘Apart irom it being really

Janice Galloway soil Irvine Welsh with loss, the iragility oi lined to do this work. and I believe In .- s.

gaining status beyond Hadrian’s Wall, relationships, memory and deception it, it’s a iantastic privilege for at cm, 0mm imp” m o. in. mi “mi

a movement is lolly well what we and includes the startling revelation Wilt"? M 8818- ‘I 90‘ i0 '0"! "mt

have. Can the sale oi Chris llolan be that Mothuwell is the epicentre or interesting groups oi people. it's a Poor Angels And Other Stories by Chris

added to this list? Europe. ‘Vlhat unites the stories is the crest way of hell!!! III foul! with the WI" ’8 P1101130“ b! 70,790" 3' Ieiore scooping this year’s Mucous: tension between outward and Inward real world.’ (Bris- tle-elem) £199-

102 The List l5 Dec 1995-” Jan 1996