Nick Wood

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Nick Wood is a South African-British clinical psychologist and Science Fiction (SF) writer, with over two dozen short stories published previously, many recently collected (alongside essays and new material) in LEARNING MONKEY AND CROCODILE (Luna Press, 2019). Nick’s debut novel AZANIAN BRIDGES (NewCon Press), was shortlisted for four Awards, viz. the Sidewise (Alternative History), Nommos (African), BSFA and John W. Campbell for Best SF Novel of 2016. Nick has also published over a dozen articles and chapters within clinical psychology, his latest commission for Clinical Psychology Forum is a journal piece, focusing on ‘Writing Science Fiction to Avert Climate Catastrophe’. Cue WATER MUST FALL (NewCon Press, 2020).



BY Nick Wood • POSTED ON April 15, 2020

In this novel, two White South Africans and a Black American must open themselves to change in a near-future dystopia of chronic water shortages and a corporatocracy.

In 2048, life revolves around water. In South Africa and the Federated States of America, the FreeFlow Corporation holds immeasurable power. The wealthy few have enough to drink. They hoard their privilege while the rest of the population struggles to subsist. White South Africans Graham Mason and Lizette Basson live in a gated compound in KwaZulu-Natal. Graham, a hack journalist stuck in his ways, is looking ever more cynically to hold on to what little he has. His frequent absences give his wife time to reflect on their relative prosperity. Lizette becomes involved with the Imbali Township Co-op—an impoverished but socially active collective of traditional landowners holding their shantytown against the bulldozers of corporate “gentrification.” As the world reaches its tipping point, can Graham and Lizette’s marriage survive? Arthur Green is a Black American working for the Environmental Protection Agency, Water Division, in California. Art and his colleagues are fighting a losing battle to protect state-controlled water reserves from corporate malpractice. Art’s efforts are all-consuming but hopeless. When one of his co-workers is killed by corporate heavies—the “Men behind the Gold Curtain”—Art is forced into witness protection. Can he survive to testify and, in doing so reconcile with his estranged wife and daughter? Wood writes in the first person, past tense, cycling a chapter at a time through Graham’s, Lizette’s, and Art’s stories. Whereas the prose is straightforward, the plot and setting create a dense tangle of characters and ideas. Earth in 2048 evidences some futuristic developments—cerebral implants and emergent artificial intelligences—but for the most part forms a depressing, oppressive endpoint for current-day trends. The SF story unfolds slowly and provides little hope. But the author does propose a way forward. Art represents a Black America that has risen above the prejudices leveled against it. Lizette stands for open-mindedness at any age. Graham is a most unlikable character, but even he is forced to change. Together, they speak to unification beyond borders. The message is an important one, albeit not always pleasant to digest.

Well-considered social SF—an engrossing, foreboding, and uncomfortable offering.

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-912950-61-4

Page count: 284pp

Publisher: Newcon Press

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Water Must Fall

Awards, Press & Interests

Favorite author

Ursula Le Guin; Octavia Butler


Cape Town and London




In a modern day South Africa where Apartheid still holds sway, Sibusiso Mchunu, a young amaZulu man, finds himself the unwitting focus of momentous events when he falls foul of the system and comes into possession of a secret that may just offer hope to his entire people. Pursued by the ANC on one side and Special Branch agents on the other, Sibusiso has little choice but to run.


Nick’s stories have delighted readers across the world and have appeared in publications such as Interzone, Albedo One, Omenana, among others. His debut novel Azanian Bridges was shortlisted for the BSFA award. Embark on a journey where science meets African culture, through psychology, alternate history and disability.

The Stone Chameleon

It is the year 2030 and fifteen-year-old Kerem moves to Cape Town with his mother and father. Shy and anxious, he is finding it hard to make friends and fit in at his new school. A vicious gang, with bodies genetically altered to look like animals, is taking over the neighbourhood. Together with his pet chameleon, Kerem faces his fear of the gang. And with his new friends, Phulani and Lindiwe, he hunts for an extraordinary stone that may save them all - but the gang is looking for it too! Kerem knows he must find the stone chameleon first.
Published: Nov. 15, 2004
ISBN: 0636062554
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