four books on peak oil and one science fiction novel, The Fires of Shalsha,
as well as the weekly peak oil blog The Archdruid Report. A native of the
Pacific Northwest, he now lives in an old red brick mill town in the north
central Appalachians with his wife Sara.
IN THE INTRODUCTION to his novel, Greer notes: "There's a certain irony in the fact that this tale of the deindustrial
future first appeared in serial form as a monthly blog post on the internet,
that most baroque of modern industrial society's technosystems. That said,
I'm grateful to all those who read, praised, and criticized the story in its
original form, and thus contributed mightily to whatever virtues it may
SO BE IT. It's a fantastic novel, and in my opinion the most important cli fi novel of the 21st century. Read it and weep ...for the future!
Just to whet your appetite for the massive cli fi tome of a novel, here's the first few paragraphs of STAR'S REACH....... And I will not give away any spoilers, as to what STAR'S REACH is and means. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE COLLCTIVE FUTURE OF HUMANITY.
The Place of Beginnings and Endings
ONE WET DAY on the road that runs alongside the Hiyo River toward
Sisnaddi, Plummer told me that every story in the world is just a
scrap of the only story there really is, one big and nameless tale that winds
from the beginning of things all the way to the end and sweeps up
everything worth telling in between. Everybody has some part in that story,
he said, even if it's just a matter of watching smoke from a battle over the
next hill or listening to news that's whispered in the night. Some people
wander further into the story and then wander right back out of it again,
after they've carried a message or a load of firewood that settles the fate of
a country or a dream. Sometimes, though, somebody no different from any
of these others stumbles and falls into the deep places of the only story
there is, and gets picked up and spun around like a leaf in a flood until
finally the waters either drown him for good or toss him up gasping and
alive on the bank.
Plummer said all of that between one mouthful of cheap Tucki
whiskey and the next, as we sat and waited out the rain under the shelter of
a ragged gray ruin left over from the old world, and I nodded and said
nothing and decided he was drunk. Now, though, I'm not so sure.
Yesterday I got to the one place on Mam Gaia's round belly I'd given up
expecting ever to come, and nearly got reborn doing it. As the five of us
who made it here sat in the darkness and waited for nightfall and wondered
if we would live to see morning, the thought came to me more than once
that this journey I'm trying to write out just now is part of something a
mother of a lot bigger than the travels of one stray ruinman from
Shanuga -- bigger, for that matter, than the different roads that led each of
us here, bigger than Shanuga or Meriga itself.
(c) Copyright 2014 John Michael Greer
KEY WORD - RUINMAN
AND THE NOVEL ENDS THIS WAY:
There are three pieces of paper pasted on the inside back cover of the
original notebook. The first is a handwritten note, which seems originally to
have been pinned to the outside of the front cover:
My dear Lissa,
This is the manuscript I told you about. You may read it if you wish, but please
don’t make a copy of it or show it to anyone else in the guild, and give it to (a
word or name carefully blotted out with ink) as soon as possible. She’ll see to it
that it gets to the place it needs to be.
With all my thanks and gratitude,
Eleen darra Sofee
Below this is a handwritten label:
Received into this collection on 14 Janwer,
24th year of Sharl sunna Sheren’s Presdency
Below this is a printed label:
This manuscript, accession number 2878,
has been placed in the special collections
of the Central Archive of the Guild of Rememberers
on the occasion of its public dedication
on the twenty-second day of Toba
in the sixteenth year of Trey VII,
Presden of the Union of Great Meriga
being in the ancient calendar
October 22, 2821 A.D.
BRIAN KALLNER ends his very positive thumbs up review with:
Star’s Reach has a didactic purpose, of course, and the plot and characters exist to make Greer’s points......... It [is] an entertaining read......and a thoughtful speculation of what our descendants might see.
When not working a day job in Dublin, Kaller writes a weekly column for an Irish newspaper, blogs at "Restoring Mayberry" (http://restoringmayberry.blogspot.ie) and writes freelance pieces for the American Conservative, Front Porch Republic, the Dallas Morning News and other publications.
Most importantly of all, he raises a daughter.
Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/biographies/brian-kaller-homesteading-journalist-in-ireland.aspx#ixzz3EPhtF5lT
1. JMG, Congratulations! ''Stars Reach'' did not inspire me as a world I would want to be living in, but it was a beautiful story. It's heartfelt and absolutely captivating! The way you wove the narrative back and forth across time was brilliant and the end brought a tear to my eye. It actually mirrored an experience I had in a research library years ago from the opposite side, taking a book off of a shelf and holding history in my hands.
I was so thankful that I didn't discover it until late last year as waiting for chapters year after year would have been absolute torture. I will be getting a copy as soon as the budget allows. I want it in my library and I'm curious about the final form it took.
I can't help but think it will be a huge success if only people know about it. Mention the places it is for sale and I will seek it out to give a glowing review. Thank you for this gift of many hours of pure pleasure and suspense!
2. When I started reading Star's Reach in the blog posts, it reminded me in various (often subtle) ways of John Crowley's Engine Summer. Which has long been my single favorite work of fiction of any era or genre. This was before I learned (from various ADR comments) that you're well versed in John Crowley's works. And before I got accustomed to that species of synchronicity being par for the course around here.
I have a print copy on the way. I wish a hardcover were available.
If this is the literary success it had (from reading the first two thirds) the potential to be, I'll be recommending it and/or gifting it to a number of people and groups who I think will appreciate it.
The appeal for me (as I see it now, pending reading the rest and more careful review) is that there have been thousands of novels about the aftermath of nuclear or environmental devastation, but few of them are physically realistic and even fewer allow their characters to fully inhabit their worlds. The rest indulge in being "cautionary" and yes, I mean that as a negative, because it invariably means the characters are too busy demonstrating (if not outright preaching) what we shouldn't'a or should'a done back here in their past, to believably live their own lives on their own terms.
In the portion I read online, only one brief scene in Star's Reachstrayed into something like traditional "cautionary" territory. I'll not spoil anything here, but I think most readers will recognize the scene I refer to and agree that it stands out, even though most will probably disagree that it's any kind of flaw. (A discussion for a later time, perhaps, if I haven't changed my mind by then.)