THE ISLAND WILL SINK, by Briohny Doyle



Buy a copy here! Or: buy one from a bookstore, either by going into your favourite local shop, or by ordering one from their web store, e.g. from Readings, or Avid Reader, or Booktopia, or Gleebooks, or Macleans, or even ordering direct from our distributor NewSouth.


p.s. Are you looking for the ebook version




In a not-too-distant future perpetually on the brink of collapse, catastrophe is our most popular entertainment.

The energy crisis has come and gone. EcoLaw is enforced by insidious cartoon panda bears and their armies of viral-marketing children. The world watches as Pitcairn Island sinks into the Pacific, wondering if this, finally, will be the end of everything. Amongst it all, Max Galleon, anxious family man and blockbuster auteur, lives a life that he cannot remember.

What happens when you can outsource your memories – and even edit them?

When death can be reversed through digitisation, what is the point of living?

If the lines between real and unreal are fully blurred, can you really trust anyone, even yourself?
The Island Will Sink is not ‘just’ a novel. It is the most assured and innovative debut I have read in a long time, one that has me excited about the political possibilities of postmodern fiction.”
— Pip Smith, The Australian

Full The Australian review here.


“Science fiction fans will spot echoes of J. G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick in the narrative and quirky incidental moments (Max’s socks have an inbuilt compass and his house changes its settings when he enters). The Island Will Sink is groundbreaking enough to hope it might lead to greater interest in publishing Australian science fiction.”
The Saturday Paper

Full The Saturday Paper review here.


“Doyle can do humour, and has an engaging voice. The prose in science fiction may have to be information-rich, strenuously expository in its world-building, but Doyle never gets waylaid: she can find the poetry in the new world ... and the characters never seem as if they are overborne by the action or the conceptual framework. ”
— Owen Richardson, The Sydney Morning Herald

Full Sydney Morning Herald review here.


The Island Will Sink is a deep and demanding read. Doyle postulates a world in which climate change has hastened social change and political control and exacerbated the gap between the haves and have-nots, but one in which society has ultimately adapted to climatic deprivations.”
— Linda Morris, The Sydney Morning Herald

Full Sydney Morning Herald profile here.


“The world of Doyle’s novel, while practically unrecognisable from our own, is meticulously and cleverly realised, from housing, transport and the sad irony of ubiquitous sustainability propaganda, to the convergence of technology and the self ... Like Don DeLillo’s White Noise for the climate-change generation...”
— Alan Vaarwerk, Readings Monthly

Full Readings Monthly review here.


“The environmental issues, philosophical ideas and visual descriptions, as well as the emotional relationships with the children, are put together with almost sculptural elegance and the novel builds to a very exciting and irresistible finish.”
— Folly Gleeson, Newtown Review of Books

Full Newtown Review of Books review here.


“The story plays out with a cool sterility reminiscent of films like Equilibrium, a grand sense of opera as in Tree of Life, and deliciously-balanced surrealism (think Inception). Beautifully written and even darkly humorous in places, it puts speculative fiction, often considered the domain of a specific readership, within the reach of anyone. I want to read it again and pull together the threads I might’ve missed, and I can’t wait to read others’ reviews of this one as it meets with audiences. A very impressive debut.”
— Danielle Carey, Bookity Boo

Full Bookity Boo review here.


“The near-future is thought-out and realistic. It’s a little bit like every episode of Black Mirror rolled into one (minus sex with a pig), with a coherent and touching story and without all the brashness/crassness of Charlie Brooker.”
— Thomas Wilson, Goodreads

Full review by Thomas Wilson here.


“The worldbuilding is brilliantly handled and it’s a thrill to read a speculative and satirical story that’s so accessible...Doyle’s debut is funny, engaging, fast and fascinating, but above all, it reads as a warning. I was thoroughly rattled by its end.”
— Angus Dalton, Grapeshot
“It was like a really lovely, mean, cold sex scene – I was very into it ... Does that sound weird? Morning Dad!”
— FBi Radio's 'Book Club'

Listen to the full FBi Radio Book Club recording here.


“A disconcerting sense of alienation flows through Doyle’s novel… This same detachment also raises probing questions about memory, legacy and the emotional imprints we leave on others – and what of us is left behind when these imprints disappear.”
— Veronica Sullivan, Books+Publishing
“I love this book. This is the hottest mess of a debut – a dystopian romp, as cinematic as a roller coaster ride, and deep with ideas and heart. It has everything – an amnesiac director of fully immersive disaster movies, an all-knowing coma specialist, a pair of perpetually plugged-in children who know even more, and one sinking island. Picture the technology section of the The Economist as directed by Jill Soloway. I have no higher praise.”
— Steven Amsterdam, author of Things We Didn’t See Coming
“The structure is adventurous, dense and poetic … I thought of J.G. Ballard’s imaginatively coherent, hard-edged, full-fledged imaginings.”
— Luke Davies, author of Candy and God of Speed, screenwriter of Life and Lion
“Intelligent, fast-paced, deeply considered and great fun, The Island Will Sink is a hell of a speculative ride through a future both familiar and strange. Doyle’s hyperactive Anthropocene vision is nothing short of thrilling.”
— Jennifer Mills, author of Gone, The Diamond Anchor, and The Rest is Weight




Max Galleon. The world’s leading maker of entirely immersive cinema: blockbuster disaster films that give people the cathartic experience of global annihilation. A father to two children acutely distressed by the world around. A husband only theoretically. A brother to a comatose mystery man. And falling rapidly in love with a doctor who is not at all what she seems.

Convinced he has amnesia, Max relies entirely on electronic prosthesis to take care of the daily work of remembering. A photo-narcissist, he constantly edits the all-encompassing archive until his personal history begins to resemble one of his films – overblown, generic, and best met with skepticism.

In an amnesiac life remaking the same film infinitely is a voyage of discovery. Max likes to sit in novelty bars with his screenwriter partner Jean. But even without a memory Max knows that nothing is what it used to be, least of all nostalgia.

When sad-eyed neurologist Dr Gabrielle Stern proposes a way to connect Max with his comatose brother, he begins to explore the mysteries of inner space. In Max, Gabrielle sees the possibility of a beautiful future in which painful memories can be easily altered or erased. In Gabrielle, Max sees romantic subplot.

But Gabrielle’s interest in the brothers runs deeper, connecting them all to a suspiciously cinematic barn on the outskirts of civilisation, once home to controversial drug cult ‘The Sleepers’. What happens next is like something from a movie.

THE ISLAND WILL SINK pans from Establishing Shot to Romantic Subplot, through Action Sequence and a Director's Cut Ending, slipping in and out of film convention, raising questions about how we interpret narrative in a screen-saturated culture.

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