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Playlist | Toxxic by Jane Hennigan

Jane Hennigan




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March 2024
On Sale: March 12, 2024
400 pages
ISBN: 191520271X
EAN: 9781915202710
Kindle: B0C7TK28SG
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Jane Hennigan:
Toxxic, March 2024
Moths, March 2022

Only Love Can Hurt Like This - Paloma Faith

I love how desperate this song is. It sums up the dark side of love, highlighting how passion can be corrosive. And Paloma Faith’s low gutsy voice fits it perfectly. In TOXXIC, Tony is living in a sterile facility to protect him from the poisonous moths and lamenting his lost lover Logan, who was infected. Every time Tony gazes outside, every time he places his hand on the glass that separates him from the world, I imagine this song playing and Tony crying quietly to himself, missing the only man who made living in the facility, bearable. When he is eventually released, into a world that has no place for him, he begins to understand the extent to which he has been lied to by those who have power over him.


You’ll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and the Pacemakers

This musical classic and Liverpool FC anthem is played at the funeral of a well-loved character. It was played (and sung in throaty unison) at my own father’s funeral and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The soaring chords and hope-filled lyrics, courtesy of Rodgers and Hammerstein, are the perfect testament to a character who carried the story for so long and sacrificed so much. I wanted to send her off with this little part of myself. It’s also a message to Tony from his mentor - that even at his darkest moment she will be looking out for him.


Like a Bat out of Hell - Meatloaf

A group of men, newly released from their facility and blinking like newborn kittens in the brightness and confusion of the outside world, find themselves in a field of stone markers just outside a church. On enquiry, the men discover that each stone marks the grave of a dead human, buried underfoot. Horrified, it dawns upon them that they are standing in a field of corpses. Not having any prior experience of death or dead bodies, they panic and scatter. I imagined them running, Scooby-Doo style with this song playing in the background:


Like a bat out of hell

I'll be gone when the morning comes

When the night is over

Like a bat out of hell

I'll be gone, gone, gone…


It’s such a melodramatic, operatic, biker-rock fest bordering on parody. However, it’s still one of my favorite songs of all time (despite the depressing narrative).

In fact, I’ve requested it be played at my funeral.


People Are Strange - The Doors

I lean into how many women in TOXXIC view men as a different species. The men have been locked away for the last forty years, whilst women have rebuilt society. Now when Tony, Layton, Artemis and Daniel go into town for the weekly market with their foster families, the lyrics: People seem strange, when you're a stranger, women seem wicked when you’re alone, never seemed so applicable.

Despite these being outlandish circumstances, the situation Tony and Daniel find themselves is one we can all relate to - being the outsider going into a new school or job when everyone seems to know each other. Finding yourself in a place where you’re obviously different: wrong clothes, wrong accent, alternative viewpoints. Side eyes, or openly staring, awkward smiles, people speaking slowly, judgmental expressions, or a slightly pursed hostility around the mouth. I’m sight impaired and sometimes use a white cane. The moment that cane comes out, I join the land of the strange - a noted point of interest or pity to those around. I’m comparatively lucky - others are full-time residents of Strangeland, placed there by society’s strict norms.

The song's psychedelic melody, combined with its poignant lyrics, resonates with anyone who feels alienated or disconnected from society. It stands as a timeless anthem for the outsider.


Shallow - Bradly Cooper and Lady Gaga

Take two people who are slightly attracted to each other, put them in a room and tell them that under no circumstances should they fall in love. What could go wrong? Evie has never met a handsome young man before, thus she is blissfully unaware that, according to nearly every romantic novelist prior to the fall of society, she is almost certain to succumb to his brooding sighs and passionate outbursts. Unfortunately, the matriarchal society is having none of it, and Evie will be cast as pariah if she chooses Artemis.

Forbidden love forms a strong subplot in TOXXIC, where both lovers are looking to crash through the surface, where they can't hurt us, and swim well out of their depths in search of happiness.


(Bonus song)

Toxic - Brittany Spears

It has been pointed out to me that by calling my novel TOXXIC I have condemned everyone who hears of it to the classic Brittany Spears earworm - Toxic. Firstly, I was horrified (HORRIFIED!) to discover that this (very modern!) song came out in 2003. Yes, that’s right - twenty-one years ago. This is preposterous and cannot be true as I am surely not that old. However, it’s there on Wikipedia in black and white, so yes - twenty-one. Yikes!

You can’t write a book called TOXXIC without including at least some poisoning - so this is dedicated to the hypnotic and deadly Fliss - the addictive, moonshine hallucinogen, manufactured from the webbing of the Moths.


With a taste of a poison paradise

I'm addicted to you

Don't you know that you're toxic?

TOXXIC by Jane Hennigan


Forty years ago, the world changed. Men became crazed killers and threatened all humanity. Now the world might be about to change again, but will it be for the better?

Forty-four years ago, as any schoolgirl can tell you, the moth’s eggs hatched and an army of caterpillars spread their tiny toxic threads on every breath of wind.  Since then, men have been cloistered, protected from birth against the deadly poison.

But now there’s a vaccine - a way that men can leave the facility without dying or suffering from psychosis.  Emerging, into their new world, eyes wide with wonder at every new experience, the truth soon becomes clear.

This world was not made for men.  And they are not safe.


Science Fiction | Dystopian [Angry Robot, On Sale: March 12, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781915202710 / eISBN: 9781915202727]

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About Jane Hennigan

Jane Hennigan

Jane is a forty-something mother of two living in Surrey in the UK. She finally made it to university at the age of thirty-four, studying philosophy and English literature. After graduating, Jane began teaching English and philosophy, squeezing her passion for writing into any spare time she could find.





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