Scotland Before the Bomb Cover

In 2060, Scotland was annihilated in a series of merciless nuclear strikes from Luxembourg. In response to a curious public’s growing hunger for a definitive history of the long-lost nation, M.J. Nicholls provides the most complete account available of Scottish life starting with the failed independence referendum of 2014. Reflecting how 21st-century Scotland split into numerous nation-states with radically different societies and systems of government, this work of painstaking research and archivism is divided into chapters corresponding with those several regions, whose fates, though ultimately conjoined in irreversible darkness, took divergent paths to the inevitable during the brief but colorful period of Scotland’s ill-fated fling with freedom. This volume will unearth the enigma that was Scotland before the bomb.


“There is no more difficult task for a writer than a comic novel. An epic poem is nothing compared to it. Many have tried, most have failed. P.G. Wodehouse made it look so easy for so long that Evelyn Waugh called him not merely the greatest humorist, or the greatest comic novelist, but the greatest writer of the 20th century. Let that statement sink in for a bit. It is not nearly as ridiculous as it might seem at first glance. Then get a cold, damp cloth and mop your fevered brow, for you will need to have your wits about you when you dive into Scotland Before the Bomb by M.J. Nicholls. Open it anywhere. I defy you to find a page without laughter in it, and what’s more, laughter that resonates. This is without question the comic novel of the year, quite possibly the decade. It is humor on a grand scale, and also humor down to the tiniest, most absurd, radioactive details. Nicholls employs a fiendishly clever premise straight out of Borges by way of Spike Milligan—a novel disguised as post-apocalyptic reportage—to send up almost every current hallucination and article of faith held dear by the citizens of his beloved, bedeviled homeland, not to mention greater Europe. Like every significant work of art, this one is very much of its time while also being carefully crafted to last into a different, and one hopes better, era.”

Kurt Luchs