Out 2 June 2020.
Shortlisted for the Nommo Awards
Shortlisted for the BSFA Awards
Coverart by Ruby Gloom shortlisted for the BSFA Awards
Cover by Ruby Gloom.
Paperback, Hardback and E-book also available to pre-order on all Online Retailers.
Club Ded is an exhilarating psychedelic-noir, the second novel from Nikhil Singh, author of Taty Went West, which was shortlisted for Best African Novel at the inaugural Nommo Awards.
Brick Bryson, iconic African-American 90s action star, is fresh out of rehab and shooting the doomed sci-fi blockbuster CLUB DED with his old drinking buddy, bad boy, #metoo’d director, Croeser, in South Africa. But all is not as it seems.
Behind the scenes, operatives of Oracle Inc., an elite, all-female information gathering organisation, have gone rogue. Utilising their vast criminal resources, they’re pushing the interests of a street-level psychedelic drug-cult - spearheaded by the mysterious ex-Nollywood director Fortunato, and his underground ‘reality- revolutionaries’. As the subtropical, fish-derived drug begins to exert an apocalyptic influence in secret, the fabric of time itself begins to unravel.
Set in Cape Town, Club Ded expands the Afrofuturist genre while it is still being formed, focusing on the methodology of creation in the media world of the city.
“Nikhil Singh is the compelling, razor sharp and hallucinogenic voice of nascent and imminent African futures. In Club Ded, he rides a wild and filmic dialectic between America and Africa, all handled with scabrous surety and emotional force. Nikhil is a writer to be experienced, not just read.”
Nick Wood, author of Azanian Bridges and Learning Monkey and Crocodile
“Club Ded is a laugh out loud riot. And yet each staccato chapter retains a gravitas that builds and builds to provide a Pynchonesque future vision of South Africa and the larger African continent with its aging action movie star, neurotic film director, beautiful sirens, paparazzi, charismatic wanderers, talking chimps and alien creatures. Nikhil Singh has outdone himself with this new novel - his dialogue is as sharp as ever, his new world grim but intoxicating. Club Ded is so f...d up, so hilarious and so brilliant.”
Billy Kahora, Former Editor, Kwani? and author of The Cape Cod Bicycle War
Content Warning: Themes of violence, sex and drug use.
Club Ded - Hardback
"Club Ded is a kaleidoscopic look at the processes of creation and art through the dual lenses of realism and Afrofuturism. The cultural clash between Bryson and Fortunanto microcosmically reflect the complexities of relations and exchanges between the US and South Africa. It feels as though author Nikhil Singh is on an academic discourse against generalisation and stereotype: comparisons in ideals of American commercialism and ‘African’ mysticism. Singh bolsters the narrative with a penetrating understanding of contemporary South Africa, and subtle, but astute, use of social commentary. He writes unapologetically about issues such as poverty, racism, substance abuse and classism. With incredible humanity, all characters are flawed. If not relatable, they are believable. Singh creates mystery in a steady release of plot. With no real clues to puzzle things together, the narrative is unclear for a large part of the book, yet Singh successfully retains the reader in actively focusing their attention on what proves to be key information. Club Ded is a self-aware novel. Singh makes a calculated contribution to Afrofuturism in questioning why the literary movement is positioned in contrast to Eurocentric speculative fiction. This book is an exhilarating dive into psychedelic futures. An excellent read for lovers of gritty speculative fiction." Aurealis
5* "This book was an engrossing, wild ride which may not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of postmodern, it's very much worth your time" Wole Talabi on Goodreads.
"This is where Club Ded dances; on the line between camera and shot, between director and writer and actor. Capetown re-imagined as a set, as a playground, as a canvas for a painting made of hallucinogens. Ideas are thrown at the page with the same density as the heat that hangs in the air but they never overwhelm. Singh holds there, in the liminal ground between a dozen different ways to create a novel which is noir, comedy, science fiction, conspiracy thriller and more. The collision between creative methods, between cultures, between moralities, all of it happening on every page as the band plays faster with every hit. It's heady, intoxicating, challenging stuff. But that's the plan, as Singh clearly delights in showing us. Club Ded is complex, ambitious, disturbing and bleakly funny. " The Full Lid, 19 June 2020.
"Club Ded is an important novel, one that has plenty to say about the times we live in. The times we live in are also simultaneously tethered to the past and to the future and so, Club Ded is a work that will influence newer voices and also references some voices of the past, voices from different mediums, owing to the author’s consummate absorption into so many different artistic fields...It is a Nikhil Singh masterwork.
Everybody wants part of some pie and sincerity and authenticity shrink, which is exactly the kind of practice Club Ded works against, that sycophancy of entertainment value and put-upon moral stances that pose as art and criticism. In the fashion of both classic film noir and the early 1920s hardboiled American pulp fiction that played a part in its inception, as well as gritty French existentialist novels and films that immediately preceded American film noir, Club Ded ruthlessly exposes so much of the hypocrisy going around in so many facets of post-truth life. The novel deflates our digital age ‘morality’ and shows that the worms that were underneath the veils a hundred years ago in works like The Maltese Falcon (the novel) are still there, but bigger.
Truly, it could not have chosen a better place than Cape Town for such exposing....Read Club Ded. There’s nothing like it going around at the moment." Riaan Oppelt in Herri - Issue #6