Moose romance, sentient trains, and you
My novel The Terraformers comes out on January 31, just a week from now! I can't wait to show it to you. Pre-orders matter a lot -- they are used by booksellers and the media to measure a book's potential success -- so if you're interested in the book, please consider ordering it this week from your favorite indie bookstore.
When people ask me what The Terraformers is about, I always start by saying that the book is a multi-generational story. That's because it's a character-centric tale about environmental change. By definition, that required a long time scale, where the continent-spanning projects of one generation are picked up by the next. My characters are all part of the Environmental Rescue Team (ERT), a group of far-future first responders and environmental engineers whose credo is "everything in balance."
My characters are … a little strange. They include a lovesick moose, a flying train, an investigative journalist cat, and a hominin who grew up inside a volcano. They don’t always do the right thing, but they care deeply about serving the public good.
An interstellar real estate development company tasks them with building an Earth much like ours during the Pleistocene epoch (roughly 15,000 years ago). That's when things get complicated -- and a slow revolution begins.
I wrote this book because I wanted to build a better world. Not a perfect world, where heroes serve up justice and the bad guys disappear – just a humble rocky planet around a yellow star, where a group of mostly-nice but occasionally problematic people figure out a peaceful way to prevail against warmongers and interstellar real estate developers. I like flawed goodness because I can believe in it, and I hope you will too.
If you want to get a taste of what the book is like, you can read an excerpt here. You can also listen to an amazing scene from the audiobook, where the sentient trains sing. I'm really thrilled that The Terraformers has already gotten starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. And it's been listed as a most-anticipated book of 2023 by Buzzfeed, New Scientist, Locus, Scientific American, Polygon, Ms. Magazine, Goodreads, and more. Even more cool: This week, I'll be on Science Friday talking about it!
Live! Book Tour!
It's happening. I'm about to go on my first in-person book tour in 3 years. I'll be doing events in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle, and then heading to Boston for a few days so that I can do a reading at Harvard Bookstore and attend Boskone. Plus, there are two virtual stops so you can tune in from anywhere in the world! (Some events require tickets -- links to all the events are here.) I'm also going to be at some book festivals and cons later this year, so always keep an eye out for new events on my website, or by following me on Mastodon.
Other Stuff! Explore Lost Cities in My Online Class at 92NY!
If you want to take a deep dive into archaeology with me, I'm teaching a two-part online class at the famed 92NY (92nd St. YMCA) on lost cities. I'll be drawing on work I've done over the past decade as a science journalist covering archaeology, as well as research from my book Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age.
Though cumbersome, smelly, and full of conflict, people started to build cities roughly 9,000 years ago. We'll explore how people were drawn to cities for some of the same reasons people are today. Then, we'll learn about why ancient people abandoned cities that were at the center of their civilizations, and what modern-day city planners can learn from urban histories.
This course takes place live, online, with a recording of each session available to all participants for later viewing. $80 gets you two 1.5 hour classes (this includes a lecture and discussion with students), plus access to the video later. Sign up here!