Borderless came out three years ago. I can't believe how far this novel has travelled and how readers have responded to it. Thank you for bringing so much enthusiasm to a thriller exploring how the internet is transforming geopolitics and identity.
And now, books I love that you might too:
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green is a tremendously compelling adventure packed with at least as many big ideas as plot twists. Hank somehow manages to weave everything from the promise and perils of internet fame to embattled democratic institutions and aliens reinventing life as we know it into a fun, surprising, voicey thriller that feels like a more-real-than-reality snapshot of the zeitgeist.
How to Live by Derek Sivers subverts the self-help trope of providing "the formula" for success by offering 27 bold, compelling, contradictory formulae. In doing so, Sivers challenges you to recognize life's inherent complexity without using it as an excuse for inaction. This book is a wisdom multitool.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard is a memoir of a year spent exploring a remote valley in rural Virginia. By bringing exceptionally keen attention to bear, Annie’s luminous prose does more than bring the newts, butterflies, thunderstorms, and poplars she encounters to vivid, violent life, it offers you new lenses through which to see your own world and all the wild wonder it barely manages to contain.
Bonus recommendation: The Maintenance Race by Stewart Brand is an exquisitely balanced story about a 1968 solo sailing race around the world, a feat that had never before been attempted. The tale sucked me in from the first sentence and inspired me to apply its ideas to my own life and projects.
In other news:
I interviewed Andy Weir about writing his tremendously compelling sci-fi novel Project Hail Mary: “Heroes are whoever's left when everyone else runs away.”
From my work-in-progress: "Did you forget about her, too? Careful, Caroline slips memory’s bonds as expertly as cruder handcuffs. She is a wraith in a world of golems, the panpipe in a symphony orchestra. When she is there, you cannot deny her, but the moment you turn away, she vanishes."
ICYMI, I went on Mary Kay Magistad’s podcast to talk about the creative process behind Borderless.
A Swing, a Miss, and a Burrito: “To whomever needs to hear this: I just took a big swing, gave it my all, and missed. I'm not gonna lie, it sucks. The details don’t matter, but this does: If I had known it would work at the outset, it wouldn't have been worth doing—that’s art. Now, please excuse me while I go eat a burrito... and get back to work.”
Rugby: “I played rugby in high school. I wasn’t very good, but it taught me that if you really care about something, you have to be willing to take hits for it. In fact, really caring about something means being willing to take hits for it.”
Thanks David Beard for the Veil shout-out in National Geographic. Solar geoengineering raises so many deep questions about our climate future, and I hope readers appreciate a sci-fi thriller that riffs on what it means and why it matters.
I'm currently writing my 11th novel, and, somehow, figuring out a story never gets easier. This breakdown of the screenwriting process for Toy Story 3 is super insightful and a gift to storytellers working in any format. Thanks to Josh Anon for sharing (fun fact: Josh spent a decade at Pixar and has contributed incredibly helpful notes on early drafts of all my novels.)
From my conversation with Eva Hagberg Fisher about writing How to Be Loved: “I had to find the heart of the story, which was really my transformation from someone who was loved but couldn’t feel it, into someone who could feel it. And once that became the central catharsis, everything else—eventually, with tremendous rewriting and editing—fell into place.”
Writing fiction feels much more similar to reading fiction than to writing nonfiction—a sense of complete immersion, of slipping into another world, of movement, of falling through time, of being forever on the verge of something ineffable yet transcendent. Share on Twitter.
If you enjoy this newsletter and want to support it, become a paid subscriber and tell your friends. Every month, I recommend books, both fiction and nonfiction, that crackle and fizz with big ideas, keep us turning pages deep into the night, challenge our assumptions, help us find meaning in a changing world, and make us think, feel, and grow. In an age of digital abundance, quality is the new scarcity. The right book at the right time can change your life.
When I'm not reading books, I'm writing them. If you savor the promise and peril of new worlds opening up, if you prefer hard questions to easy answers, if you seek adventures that will transport you and leave you changed, then you're the kind of person I write for. You can find my novels right here. Bon voyage, fellow traveler.
Eliot Peper is the author of Veil, Breach, Borderless, Bandwidth, Neon Fever Dream, Cumulus, Exit Strategy, Power Play, and Version 1.0. He publishes a blog, tweets more than he probably should, and lives in Oakland, CA.
“Death, despair, and hope—this sci-fi thriller has it all, plus plenty of scientific grounding to contemplate how solar geoengineering might play out on a planet struggling to bring global warming under control.”
-Gernot Wagner on Veil
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