NoFood is available in trade paperback and ebook from
- Aqueduct Press and its partner bookstores and distributors
- amazon.ca (ebook only)
- Barnes & Noble (ebook only)
In southern Ontario, it is available in trade paperback from
NoFood (Aqueduct Press, 2014) is a series of stories set in a society in which technology has eliminated the need for food. TGB (Total Gastric Bypass) is a giant leap forward for humans longing to transcend their flesh: it has fulfilled the desire of the rich to escape illness, boring sustenance routines, and disgusting bodily processes. But like all technological change, TGB unleashes a cascade of effects, social, political, and economic, effects drastically changing the lives of the characters in NoFood. For what is lost with the elimination of the drive to eat?
Molly Katz, Strange Horizons, August 2015 (excerpt)
The interlinked short stories in Sarah Tolmie’s NoFood (her second published work, after her debut novel The Stone Boatmen) depict a future in which a surgery called TGB (Total Gastric Bypass) has made food unnecessary for the rich…. I expected satire along the lines of the recent science fiction TV series Black Mirror—a pointed, acerbic critique with a relentlessly clear thesis about what the hell is wrong with the world. NoFood isn’t like that. It is a book that reminds me how broad the range of what we might call “satire” really is. Like the cult classic The Princess Bride, which was notoriously difficult to market to audiences due to its status as a not-quite-parody, NoFood is wonderfully aware of what is absurd about its world, but it is not interested in mockery. NoFood does not engage in ridicule, not even of the choice to be TGB. It simply explores a premise, warmly, affectionately, with room for doubt, but also with relentless precision. If the book has one unshakable conviction that surfaces again and again amidst the various ideas it entertains, it is that food exists at the center of what it is to be alive. But even here, why—what food does, what it means—unfolds so richly that I couldn’t hope to report the book’s findings in this review. Tolmie’s storytelling simply cannot be reduced down to argument.
The book does not argue for or against eliminating the biological necessity for food. Characters within the interlinked stories view the surgery from different perspectives. For one, TGB is a horror. For another, it makes food a language of love, rather than a crude necessity. For another, it is an ordinary part of life until complications from the surgery take the life of his daughter. For still another, TGB is a strange, almost mythical procedure—the province only of the rich, which he is not. In NoFood, TGB is a way into a new world, a way to rethink what the pleasure of eating might entail, to rethink what it means to eat food that someone has cooked for you, a way to reimagine what causes hunger. What does it mean for hunger to be a sign of love, or of grief?
Faren Miller, Locus, November 2014 (excerpt)
In NoFood, Sarah Tolmie (whose first novel The Stone Boatmen was one of 2014’s most promising debuts) transforms a sardonic novella into something more than an extended joke by making it a story suite: exploring an outrageous fad that captivates the super-rich, some decades in the future, from multiple viewpoints in six connected tales.
Total Gastric Bypass (TGB) may have been intended to cure cancer and other physical ills, but the only people who can afford the vastly expensive surgery won’t settle for utility when what they crave is fashion, raised to surreal extremes. The title story introduces the famed restaurant where zillionaires send their children when they come of age at 18, gradually revealing its true strangeness as Seychelles “dines” with her two most beautiful friends. Madness and genius struggle for dominance in NoFood’s chef, Hardwicke Arar, making him the ultimately vulnerable man whom the heroine loves (madly) in “The Last Supper,” set many years later.