Explorers of the New Century

Explorers of the New Century

Updated: My review here.

There’s a new book coming from Magnus Mills apparently to be called “Explorers of the New Century,” but alas, it won’t be out until September of 2005. Mills is one of the only authors that I purposefully query Amazon for looking for new titles, so I was pleased to see this one is coming. I hate to judge a book by its cover, but since I also have a keen interest in exploration, I’m excited about the prospects for this one.

All of his books take place in cloistered little worlds populated with obsessive people going about their oddly mundane tasks. But there’s always something slightly off and mildly sinister lurking behind the scenes that’s never quite fully exposed. It’s hard to explain why this makes for such compelling literature (though in my mind that’s exactly what makes it so compelling.) Perhaps it has something to do with the dry, deadpan style Mills employs to express the quite pride the main character always shows in his manual labors.

Here’s the only bit of recent news I could find about the book and Mills out on the web:

It’s set on an imaginary expedition to reach somewhere called ‘the furthest point from civilisation’. The brilliance is in the portrayal of the internal politics of the two groups of explorers. […] Mills has not only moved publishers, he has also moved jobs. After driving the 137 and 159 buses out of Streatham Bus Garage, he became a postman, only, so the story goes, so that he could say he had become “a man of letters”. Now he subsidises his writing by driving a van for British Telecom and he’s still with letters - he delivers the internal mail from London to Oxford.

» Posted: Monday, January 3, 2005 | Comments (1) | Permanent Link


I, too, regularly search Amazon for news of any new Magnus Mills work, and was delighted to see ‘Explorers of the New Century’ advertised there as a ‘not yet published’ book. September 2005 seems a very long way away…Mills has made me laugh aloud more than any other author I’ve read - a fact which bemuses many of my friends - and their bemusement bemuses me. The scene in which the protagonist attempts to order groceries by telephone in ‘All Quiet on the Orient Express’ is the funniest thing I have ever read, and after reading ‘The Scheme for Full Employment’, I regulalrly attempt to take ‘an early swerve’ from work. I look forward to this new novel. In fact, I can hardly wait.

» Posted by Phillipa on January 8, 2005 11:38 AM