A History Maker

By Alasdair Gray

Synopsis

In the 23rd century, the Public Eye, a television-like device that lets everyone see what everyone else is doing, has turned warfare into a spectator sport. One of particular interest involves the Scottish border regions' fight with the English. Wat Dryhope, leader of the Ettrick clan, pretends to surrender his clan's standard during a climactic battle, only to resume attack and win a draw. The trick gives him heroic standing and revolutionizes the rules of battle, setting off a global change in human combat. Though he seeks a more peaceful existence for his people, Dryhope's performance in warfare makes him the "history maker" of the novel's title.

Year of Publication

Review

* As ripping yarns masquerading as political/social metaphors go, A History Maker is in a field of its own. GQ * Fantasist, Realist, Parodist, Postmodernist - in just over a decade Alasdair Gray has become no mean literary history maker himself. Scotsman * A History Maker sees Gray at his most playful. The reference points are all over the place, just waiting to be unpicked and savoured - from Scott to Orwell to 70s sci-fi classic Rollerball. Gray drags them all together to form a clever, form-bending and brilliant read. Big Issue * A satire on Utopian fictions ... Gray's Scottish border fantasy jokes at its own expense all the better to examine the inherent flaws in a future that might work ... very entertaining indeed. -- Liz Heron Times Educational Supplement

Author Biography

Alasdair Gray is an old, asthmatic Glaswegian who lives by painting, writing and book design. He is currently working on a book about his visual art, A Life in Pictures, copiously illustrated, to be published by Canongate in 2010.