Saturday, April 19, 2014

Star's Reach: A Novel of the Deindustrial Future

I'm delighted to report that my deindustrial novel Star's Reach, which appeared in episodes as a blog between 2009 and late last year, is now available in print and ebook formats from Founders House Publishing. I've suggested here more than once that narratives are among the most important tools we have for understanding and shaping the future; from that perspective, Star's Reach is a contribution to imagining a future that isn't locked inside the Hobson's choice between business as usual and overnight catastrophe that's frozen into place in the collective imagination of our time. If a story of adventure and alien contact in 25th-century neomedieval America appeals to you, you might want to give it a read!


Pinku-Sensei said...

Congratulations! Here's to adding it to the post-apocalyptic book list, even if what you describe is a decline and collapse, not an apocalypse. Here's the link to the main page.

For what it's worth, the site does include “The Pastel City,” “Hiero’s Journey,” and “Breed to Come,” all of which we mentioned in your last entry on science fiction. I have more comments about that entry and a collection of links to more pages of the site at my blog.

Degringolade said...

As before John Michael....nicely done, I went out and promptly purchased a copy...

As I read in a book long ago

"anyone can clap and cheer, but applause worth while can be found in a pile of soft, green folding money"

btidwell said...

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!

Philip Steiner said...

JMG, congrats! I've already ordered my copy.

lotharlorraine said...

Hello John Michael.

I read your amazing book about UFOs and must tell you are a very talented writer.

I'm sure that this novel would be a great read :-)

lotharlorraine said...

However there is one point which seems rather non addressed, namely how two non-psychotic persons can experience exactly the same hallucination at the same time.

If such UFOs are really produced by our mind, it seems to be an extended consciousness rather than that of material science.
Would you agree with that contention?

Okay, sorry for the short digression.

Does this novel of yours also contain the problem of oil's shortage?
As a progressive Christian, I recognize myself neither among fundamentalists nor among hardcore atheists, and I have the feeling this might be your case too.

Carl said...

Hi JMG, I'll try to get it ordered for the Napa,CA library. They just got in Green Wizardy last week, so I'm sure they'll order Star's Reach too. Looking forward to reading it this summer. Carl

MawKernewek said...

Well done, I will be getting myself a copy in due course!

If any of you know Welsh, there has been a book "Ebarbofiant" published recently by Jerry Hunter.
link (in Welsh) link.

This is set in a world which has been affected by climate change, and literacy has apparently died out, and the odd thing about the book is it is actually written in an idiosyncratic spelling system of the Welsh language.

Dwig said...

Ahh, good! I'm looking forward to another visit with Trey & Co.

Hmm, in lieu of the end-of-chapter discussions with our "little band" of Merigans, how about a Google/Yahoo/whatever group where we can reconvene?

Darren Urquhart said...

Congratulations JMG. Just purchased via Amazon.

I came across this article ("US Navy 'game-changer': converting seawater into fuel") recently and thought it relevant to your recent essays.

It ticks a number of boxes on your checklist for what we should expect to see in the media over the coming years.

First, a frank assessment of the energy situation from Vice Admiral Philip Cullom of the US Navy.

I suspect his quote relates to the energy equation for the Navy but he could also be referring to our civilization as a whole.

"We are in very challenging times where we really do have to think in pretty innovative ways to look at how we create energy, how we value energy and how we consume it.

"We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel".

Second, a gee-whiz solution:

"US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater."

The big qualifier is revealed in the final line of the article:

"Researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board."

The comments are interesting too, ranging from conspiratorial claims of big oil and others suppressing alternative fuels; calls to consider the plankton that will be killed in the process (!); and enthusiasm for the idea to loosen Amereica's dependence on Arab Oil, if only the government doesn't step in and ruin the idea. A few voices ask the big question of how much energy in for how much energy out.

Robert Martini said...

Immediately purchased it through the kindle store!

Congratulations, I hope it become quite a hit. If your right about peak oil and resource limits become a part of mainstream discussion in the future, I think you will start to snowball in popularity hard here in the next decade or two!

Best Wishes,

d said...

Great I'm looking forward to getting a print copy

Yupped said...

Thanks JMG, and congratulations. Just ordered mine, in good old fashioned paperback.

Cathy McGuire said...

Congrats! Well deserved. I loved reading it online, but I will get a hardcopy because it often was hard for me to track the details - and they were great details!

John Michael Greer said...

Pinku-Sensei, I'll drop 'em a note. Thanks for the suggestion!

Degringolade, thank you!

Btidwell, it's currently available from Amazon and direct from the publisher, at the link I included in the post. Many thanks!

Philip, thank you.

Lothar, you'll want to look up the very substantial psychological literature on folie a deux. As for peak oil, in the novel it's a long way in the past, but yes, it's there.

Carl, thank you!

MawKernewek, I'm delighted to hear about the Welsh novel! I've long had a desire (which I don't expect ever to see fulfilled) to see some of my books translated and published in the Celtic languages.

Dwig, that's a fine idea. My usual internet person has started a Yahoo group,; you can subscribe to it at this URL, or simply by sending an email message asking to subscribe to Memberships have to be approved, to keep spam artists at bay, so it may take a bit for your subscription to be approved -- still, it's faster than sending a letter by canal boat to Cago...

Darren, exactly. Nobody's talking about where the energy is going to come from -- because if they did, they'd have to face the fact that it's not going to come from anywhere at all.

Robert, thank you! I certainly hope so.

D, by all means -- they're available for sale.

Yupped, glad to hear it. That's my preferred option, for what it's worth.

Cathy, trust me, it wasn't easy for me to keep track of the details, either!

Mean Mr Mustard said...



Only having Long Descent and Ecotechnic Future, looks like I need to catch up with your prodigious output since then... I feel a bulk order coming on, but that definitely won't be via Amazon.

I'd be interested to read about how many hours you put in every week to your research and quality writing, not to mention the discipline you keep to sustain that, week in week out. Along with being a Archdruid and everything else!



Varun Bhaskar said...

I'm waiting for it to appear on the shelves in a library near me. Hopefully soon because I've read an excerpter from it and it looks fantastic!

I'm still trying to get my story written for the contest. Don't know if I'll get it done on time because I have waayyy too much on my plate just now.

In other news, peak oil is edging backing into the main stream.

From the Daily Dish (another blog written by a bearded wiseman):

Myriad said...

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 Reach strayed 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.)

John Michael Greer said...

Mustard, I write six to eight hours a day, most days, and spend maybe half that amount of time in reading. As for discipline, well, you learn that if you've ever done magical training!

Varun, that's good to hear. My guess is that once the fracking bubble pops, peak oil is going to be all over the place for a couple of years, before the next round of delusions covers it up for a while.

Myriad, I'll be interested to hear which scene that was. The author of a book is rarely the best judge of what parts of it work and what parts don't!

Doctor Westchester said...


Founders House is only selling your paperback through Amazon and not directly (boo, since I know where Amazon gets the discount). Trey will have a place on my bookshelf.

Hope you get your end-of-American-Empire novel out soon as well. If our foolish behavior on the borders of Russia doesn't change soon, we might actually achieve something interesting in this country....

Michael Petro said...

Adding to the congrats. It was a great on-line read, and I'm sure the editing pass that it took to get it in print only improved it.

Cherokee Organics said...


About time! hehe! Just ordered it from Amazon and look forward to finally reading your story when it shows up. I've never read it on the Internet - not even one word (low tolerance for the Internet on my part, sorry).

It will be a much more pleasant experience settling down with the book and a nice cup of tea (plus much lower energy requirement).

What a truly amazing time we live in that a person can order a book from the US and it gets delivered here at the bottom of the world in a remote mountain range within a just a few weeks. 100% too good.

PS: El Nino is moving on in here...



Phitio said...

Dear JMG,
it seems that the book "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline, is placed on earth in 2048, a earth plagued by irreversible energy resource scarcity and climate change disasters. I did not finish the book yet, but maybe you can add it to the "post peak" literature.


D.M. said...

Great! I have been looking forward to reading this. I am sure it will have much grist for the mill of my mind.

Gregory Austin said...

Hi JMG! I've been following your site for a little over a year now and it has done wonders to change my outlook on what's going on in the world. So many thanks for your dedication and hard work.

I took your story contest to heart and I've finally finished my entry. It's 1 of 12 stories set in a post-industrial Texas that I hope to write over the coming months.

Link here:

Again, thanks for all that you do and congrats on the book! Cheers from Austin.

James Eberle said...


I have an entry for the short story contest. It is called "The Ninty-four Forties". Check it out at:

It is right under the 7,500 word limit. Hope that's OK, and thanks for making this contest possible.

fyreflye said...

Thanks for the ebook version. I've reached an age where I need a way to increase the font size. I'll see if I can get the Sonoma County Library System to order the print version.

Myriad said...


Okay, without spoiling anything for anyone, I can specify that the event that stood out to me (as I'm sure it was intended to, but perhaps not in exactly that way) was in a relatively early scene and involved an extreme form of punishment.

It's not completely implausible in the setting, and it's justified in an understandable way, yet overall in the balance, it struck me as an Archdruid making a point. That's purely an aesthetic judgment (and as I said, one I expect others will likely disagree with), based only on the online text.

More important is the vaster background that that scene stood out against, a world that's not pretty but radiates a profound beauty that emerges from its honesty.

I think I'll be able to manage more worthwhile comments a week or two from now, after I've read the entire final version.

JohnP said...

Hi there JMG, I ordered a paperback and read it over a long weekend in NC. It was both thoroughly entertaining and very thought-provoking. I hope we'll see more fiction from you in the future!

Sarah Self said...

Have a nice vacation! Your essays have a strange hope about them that points out that different is not destruction. I appreciate you pulling me out of that thinking.

Chris G said...

A review, Happy Mother's Day. :)

Mccarthy Catherine said...

I bought it as an ebook and read it yesterday and today and just finished it. Thoroughly enjoyed it and the themes it explored. Would love to see what happens next to Trey or Berry... I would willingly revisit this world.

Lexie Devine said...

Hi John Michael,
I'm delighted to see that Star's Reach has been published. I have so enjoyed various instalments I've read here, and I'm sure it will be as much of a delight to read as The Fires of Shalsha was.