I usually try and get at least one book by an author I’ve not heard of this at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and ended up getting two this year  ‘The Teleportation Accident’ by Ned Beauman and ‘Zone One’ by Colson Whitehead.

‘The Teleportation Accident’ first then. It’s the tale of Egan Loeser, a theatre set designer in 1930’s Germany and bluntly nhis attempts to getting a shag, specifically with one Adele Hitler (no relation).

The story moves from depression era Germany to post war United States with a stop over in Paris. It’s a whimsical story with many of Loeser‘s acquaintances from Germany popping up in the States with some espionage and even a serial killer thrown in. Part of the mystery is whether teleportation is really possible.

There are passages where the story flies by but others where it drags a little but it’s ultimately an uplifting tale. Definitely worth investigating if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track.

‘Zone One’ is a weightier story, ostensibly a zombie novel but in actual fact an examination of our society. The central character is Mark Spitz (not his real name) who is both a survivor and a fatalist and the novel follows his struggle to survive after Last Night when a plague infected a large proportion of the world’s population.

Efforts are being made at reconstruction following and the interim government is trying to reclaim part of New York from the dead. Spitz ends up as one of the sweepers, civilians used to mop up the remaining stragglers who escaped the first sweep by marines.

Spitz’s story, and those of his companions along the way, are a mirror for the times both in the destroyed present and through flashbacks. It’s largely a bleak story with shafts of pitch black humour (being dead doesn’t change people!) but it’s a compelling story which packs quite a punch at its denouement.

Definitely worth checking out.