The Starless Sea
Last week, after a harrowing labor, my wife and I welcomed our first child into this weird and wonderful corner of the Milky Way. Little Ash loves partying until four in the morning and smiling in his sleep—he is an agent of joy and chaos in our lives, and we are embracing both.
The only thing more overwhelming than caring for a newborn has been the outpouring of love and support from friends and family. Each of us is raised by a village, and we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be members of this particular extended community, of which you, dear reader, are very much a part.
Thank you for making a world that we are thrilled to explore with our son.
And now, a book I love that you might too:
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern takes you on an unforgettable adventure through a network of secret doors to an ancient library buried deep underground. Morgenstern mixes mythology, conspiracy, mystery, and self-discovery into a psychedelic cocktail that you won't be able to put down after taking your first sip. This is a book for book lovers, a story about stories, a quest for those brave enough to quest within—a magic portal disguised as a novel.
Things worth sharing:
On May 12th and 13th at St Joseph's Arts Society in San Francisco, Back Pocket Media is teaming up with Anthropocene Magazine and the Long Now Foundation to produce Climate Parables, a live show full of storytelling, music, and art that explore what it might mean to build a climate future you’d actually want to live in. Among many other attractions, the performance includes a stage adaptation of my short story Victory Condition. Tickets are on sale now and you can also watch the YouTube livestream on Friday May 12th. If you attend, I’d love to hear what you think.
Speaking of the Long Now Foundation—I’m a big fan and longtime supporter of their work—they’re looking to commission essays, reported features, interviews, book reviews, fiction, and poetry that inspires long-term thinking in a culture obsessed with quick wins, quarterly earnings, and endless news cycles. Write for them!
I just finished a revision of the new novel—here’s a diagram of the story structure.
With everyone talking about AI, it pays to remember that in an age of digital abundance, trust is the scarcest resource.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is the best novel I've read about creative partnership, so it was a blast to discuss the book withand Danny Crichton over on the Securities podcast—we go deep on the feedback loop between the narrative arc in a work of art and the creative arc of the maker.
Hugo Gernsback is best known as the namesake for science fiction's Hugo Awards, but in addition to publishing mind-bending tales in Amazing Stories magazine, he was an avid cataloger of DIY tools for amateur technologists, whichchronicles in this thought-provoking article.
There’s something irresistible about recursive media: blogs about blogging, threads about Reddit, videos about YouTube, and tweets about Twitter.
From my conversation with Ray Nayler about writing The Mountain in the Sea: "The human mind is as alien to us, in many ways, as the sea floor. We have difficulty, when speaking of consciousness, in even describing it on its most basic levels. Not only do we not know how it is possible that we think and feel and are alive—we can’t even agree on the definition of ‘alive’ or ‘think’ or ‘feel.’ And when it comes to things like understanding just how it is that communication works—how a weightless, non-material set of symbols can pass from one mind to another and sometimes alter the course of a whole world, but not strictly be composed of energy or matter at all—the mystery really seems impenetrable."
For the hispanohablantes, Mexican GQ riffed on an essay of mine about how science fiction can help you flex your imagination beyond the false constraints of the status quo.
Looking ahead, life is a series of side quests. Looking back, there was only ever the main quest.
Thanks for reading. We all find our next favorite book because someone we trust recommends it. So when you fall in love with a story, tell your friends. Culture is a collective project in which we all have a stake and a voice.
Eliot Peper is the author of Reap3r, Veil, Breach, Borderless, Bandwidth, Neon Fever Dream, Cumulus, Exit Strategy, Power Play, and Version 1.0. He also works on special projects crafting stories to inform, entertain, and inspire.
“A tightly-woven tale of espionage and self-realization. Do yourself a favor and check out Neon Fever Dream.”