Above the Ether

by Eric Barnes
Release date: June 11, 2019
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fictiondystopia

A mesmerizing novel of unfolding dystopia in a world very like our own, for readers of Emily St. John Mandel's Station 11 and Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood.

In a future very like today, Above the Ether follows six sets of characters moving through a landscape and a country just beginning to show the signs of change. A father and his young children fleeing a tsunami after a massive earthquake in the Gulf. A woman and her husband punished endlessly for the loss of both their sons in the wake of addiction, watching a fire slowly burn closer to their family home. A brilliant investor, assessing opportunity in the risk to crops, homes, cities, industries, infrastructure, working in the silent comfort of her office sixty floors up in the scorching air. A doctor and his wife stuck in a refugee camp for immigrants crossing the border. Two young men working the rides in a roadside carnival, one escaping a violent past, the other a racist present. A man who runs a chain of nondescript fast-food restaurants.

While every night the news alternates images of tsunami destruction with the baseball scores, the characters converge on a city far away, where the forces of change have already broken — a city abandoned, left to be scavenged as the levee system protecting it slowly fails — until, in their vehicles on the highway that runs through it, they witness the approach of what looks to be just one more violent storm.

(updated 2019-06-11)

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