Arts & Culture

Video: Scots author sets acclaimed new novel in the heart of Glasgow’s West End

By Ian Marland at

It is part set in the West End – but not the West End as you know it, and certainly not as you would want to know it.

Journalist and writer Phil Miller has based his second novel, All The Galaxies, in a dystopian Scotland – and a Glasgow fractured and torn by bloody political turmoil.

And some of the book’s key scenes are played out in the West End – in a period in time after terrifying events known as the Horrors.

Author: Phil is arts correspondent for The Herald newspaper

There is reference to a terrorist atrocity in Byres Road and the Botanic Gardens having been burnt to the ground.

Phil is the awarding-winning arts correspondent for The Herald newspaper.

All The Galaxies, published by Freight Books, is his second novel.

Phil told Glasgow West End Today: “There are so many references to the west end in All The Galaxies because I used to live here.

Familiar: One of the scenes is set in Ashton Lane off Byres Road.

“I know this area really well, Ashton Lane, Byres Road, Highburgh Road as well.

“When I wrote about the characters I included these locations because I knew them so well – how they felt and smelled and looked.”

He added: “Because I knew this area, I didn’t have to do too much research about this part of the city.

“Also there is an artist in this book and he works in a studio that I set in an imaginary place roughly around the Kelvin, so that’s in the book as well.”

The novel’s central character, John Fallon, is a disillusioned journalist on a failing Glasgow newspaper.

Bleak: The Botanic Gardens has been burnt to the ground in the book.

After a second failed independence referendum, Scotland is in turmoil, having broken into a number of autonomous city states.

Fallon’s son has gone missing in the chaos, and the book charts the protagonist’s emotional journey alongside a spiritual fantasy that runs through its pages.

“I think I wanted to depict a dystopian Scotland. I changed things that were familiar to me, so anyone in the West End will notice lots of landmarks, pubs and cafes but they have been changed, altered.

“And some of the horrible dark things that happen in the book, happen right here – the terrorist atrocity in Byres Road, Botanic Gardens have been burned down – so they had meaning for me, and I am sure they will for people who know the West End.”


Watch: Phil Miller talks about his second novel All The Galaxies.

WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT ALL THE GALAXIES:

‘a novel of intermittent brilliance… Miller is a writer of evident and very considerable talent’ Scotsman

‘It’s dark, it’s mysterious, it’s humorous, it’s thought provoking and its poignant….it’s a stunning book, it takes you on quite a journey.’ Grant Stott, BBC Radio Scotland

‘a wonderful mix of dystopia and supernatural, full of enough twists and turns to make sure the reader is always guessing what’s going to happen next. Yet for all its weirdness, at its core, this is a truly life-affirming tale of loss and love.’ Courier

‘With such a messy backdrop being the current norm for many places around the world, Philip Miller’s dystopian take acts as a comment on the fragile nature of the social order, forcing us to consider the careful but unpredictable balance at play in our societies.’ List

‘Philip Miller is both an accomplished storyteller and philosopher… All the Galaxies is worth your time. It will warm your heart, challenge your preconceived notions…’ Mulberry Fork Review

‘A riveting tale set in an entirely plausible future Glasgow. Elegant and enthralling. A wonderful read’ Denise Mina

Book: All The Galaxies is Phil’s second novel.

* All The Galaxies by Philip Miller is published by Freight Books, price £9.99.