The Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess, published in hardback by Manchester University Press, is a new series which aims to bring all of Burgess’s novels and non-fiction books back into print. Each volume contains an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, extensive notes and annotations, plus previously unpublished materials drawn from the Burgess archives in Europe and North America.
In 1976 Anthony Burgess wrote an apocalyptic science fiction novel about a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth. A later version appeared in 1982 as one of three narratives in The End of the World News. Now, for the first time, Burgess’s text is published in its original form as a stand-alone science-fiction novel.
Puma follows the mixed fortunes of a diverse group of scientists, novelists, teachers and actors as they attempt to escape the annihilation of Earth and preserve the knowledge of the human race on a giant space-ark. The novel blends science fiction tropes with Burgess’s literary influences, such as Shakespeare and Rabelais, and his love of music.
Included here is the soundtrack of Puma which reveals the full range of the music feature in the text. Once again, this reveals the breadth of Burgess’s musical knowledge and includes familiar favourites such as Wagner and Mozart, and some more unexpected inclusions such as the Beatles, a band Burgess loathed but was seemingly unable to escape.