- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-3273-4
- Pages: 328
- Publisher: Manchester University Press
- Price: £20.00
- Published Date: October 2018
- BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Fiction & related items / Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Literature, Science fiction: apocalyptic & post-apocalyptic, FICTION / Literary, FICTION / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
- Series: The Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess
Puma - disentangled from the three-part structure of The End of the World News and published here for the first time in its intended format - is Anthony Burgess's lost science fiction novel. Set some way into the future, the story details the crushing of the planet Earth by a heavyweight intruder from a distant galaxy - the dreaded Puma. It is a visceral book about the end of history as man has known it. Despite its apocalyptic theme, its earthquakes and tidal waves, murder and madness, Puma is a gloriously-comic novel, steeped in the rich literary heritage of a world soon to be extinguished and celebrating humanity in all its squalid glory. In Burgess's hands this meditation on destruction, mitigated by the hope of salvation for a select few, becomes powerful exploration of friendship, violence, literature and science at the end of the world.
'[Burgess] throws out a continuous firework display of erudition on a limitless range of topics - from astronomy and musicology to the chemical formula for monosodium glutamate and the rhythmic sounds of sexual intercourse.'
J.G. Ballard, 'Senses of an Ending', The Guardian, 28 October 1982, p. 16
'[Puma] is not the scorching apocalypse of Lawrence or Yeats but a love song to what would be lost if the world went away: all its colours and tastes and smells and finally forgivable mistakes. It is an old song but a good one.'
Text of Puma
Appendix 1: Textual variants
Appendix 2: Burgess's comments and science fiction writings
Paul Wake is Reader in English Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University