Certified B Corporation Badge


Good Business Book Club: Venomous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman

5 January, 2024

“Cli-fi” is an increasingly popular genre: a sub-genre of science fiction that deals with the impacts of climate change and global warming. It doesn’t make for the cheeriest of reading, of course, but its popularity is unsurprising given that stories are how we make sense of the world, and the reality of life on a much warmer planet is no longer a fiction but the stark reality of our near-term future.  

But what about “bio-fi”? Yes, we made that up, because it is currently very much a niche subgenre, but in the year that we expect (and hope) biodiversity and nature loss will finally get the attention it deserves, it’s one we expect to hear (and read!) more about.  

And what better way to start your bio-fi reading than with one of last year’s stand out novels, the wonderfully named Venomous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman? It depicts a world where the climate crisis is a fact of life, the last giant panda has been dead for 12 years, and corporations can buy their way out of trouble when their actions result in species extinction through purchasing extinction credits. The smarter the animal, the more credits you need. There is a thriving market in consultants, agents, and various financial wizards making sure that industry can continue unchecked, even as the consequences of mass extinction start to bite. And when Mark Halyard finds himself on the wrong end of a short-selling scam, the race is on to track down the final remaining venomous lumpsuckers (fish that could just be the most intelligent fish on the planet, if they still exist) rather than end up in jail.  

The novel covers a lot – cyber(in)security, financial crime, corporate malfeasance, the consequences of certain referendum results for future generations, what happens to high-end food when animals start to become extinct (spoiler: nothing good), the meaning and value of life, and mermaids. It’s bleak as it comes, but it’s also very very funny, and very clever.  

If you’ve got a Christmas book token (still the best gift, in our view) and want something both educational and entertaining, we’d highly recommend it. Five stars from the Good Business team!  

By Claire Jost

You might also like