When the seeds rained down from deep space, it may have been the first stage of an alien invasion—or something else entirely. How much time do we have left, and do we even understand what timescale to use? As a slow apocalypse blooms across the Earth, planets and plants, animals and microbes, all live and die and evolve at different scales. Is one human life long enough to unravel the mystery?
Fiction and Excerpts 
Whatever happened to ESP?
Psi powers—telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, and other parapsychological activity—was one of the founding tropes of science fiction, up there with rocket ships, time travel, and aliens. John W. Campbell coined the term “psionics”—from psi and electronics—and encouraged his stable of authors to write about it. And so they did.
But after reaching maximum saturation in the 1950s, psionics began disappearing from SF in the 70s, became uncommon by the 90s, and are a rarity today. (That’s one of the reasons I wanted to write one. I miss them!) The five books below, as well as being some of my favorite novels, show how the subgenre evolved, and why I think it’s unlikely to go extinct.
Series: Five Books About…
Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.
On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources—and an unusual host of allies—to defeat the danger and find his mother.
Daryl Gregory’s Harrison Squared is a thrilling and colorful Lovecraftian adventure of a teenage boy searching for his mother, and the macabre creatures he encounters—available March 24th from Tor Books!
Harrison was the Monster Detective, a storybook hero. Now he’s in his mid-thirties and spends most of his time popping pills and not sleeping. Stan became a minor celebrity after being partially eaten by cannibals. Barbara is haunted by unreadable messages carved upon her bones. Greta may or may not be a mass-murdering arsonist. Martin never takes off his sunglasses. Never.
No one believes the extent of their horrific tales, not until they are sought out by psychotherapist Dr. Jan Sayer. What happens when these seemingly-insane outcasts form a support group? Together they must discover which monsters they face are within—and which are lurking in plain sight.
Daryl Gregory’s We Are All Completely Fine publishes August 12 from Tachyon, but you can (and should!) check out this preview below.
Transcendence ain’t all clouds and rainbows.
Plenty of people who have experienced the numinous—that ecstatic feeling that you’re in touch with something greater than yourself—may struggle to understand what has happened and what it means. This may be especially true if they’re rationalists.
Consider Barbara Ehrenreich, the activist and writer who is perhaps most famous for writing Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, and describes herself as a “hard-core atheist” and rationalist. Her new book, Living with a Wild God, is about several numinous experiences she had as a teenager, but was never able to talk about before now.
Check out Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty, a mind-bending thriller available April 22nd from Tor Books!
It begins in Toronto, in the years after the smart drug revolution. Any high school student with a chemjet and internet connection can download recipes and print drugs, or invent them. A seventeen-year-old street girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a new Church that preys on the underclass. But she is arrested and put into detention, and without the drug, commits suicide.
Lyda Rose, another patient in that detention facility, has a dark secret: she was one of the original scientists who developed the drug. With the help of an ex-government agent and an imaginary, drug-induced doctor, Lyda sets out to find the other three survivors of the five who made the Numinous in a quest to set things right.
- Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Flowers of Vashnoi 30 mins ago
- Martha Wells Meet Murderbot in Chapter One of Martha Wells’ All Systems Red 2 hours ago
- James Davis Nicoll Did We ALL Write a Book About Space Elevators? (And Other Coincidences in Science Fiction) 3 hours ago
- Aidan Moher You Don’t Need to Understand Magic: The Gathering to Fully Enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s Children of the Nameless 4 hours ago
- Amy Ewing Five SFF Books that Subvert Gender Roles 5 hours ago
- Alex Brown Pull List: Captain Marvel and Miles Morales: Spider-Man Get Back to Basics 6 hours ago
- Sarah Fine 5 Books in Which Superpowers Have Unfortunate Side Effects 3 days ago
- Did We ALL Write a Book About Space Elevators? (And Other Coincidences in Science Fiction) 22 mins ago on
- Oathbringer Reread: Chapter Sixty-One 29 mins ago on
- Five SFF Books that Subvert Gender Roles 36 mins ago on
- Pull List: Captain Marvel and Miles Morales: Spider-Man Get Back to Basics 40 mins ago on
- Five SFF Books that Subvert Gender Roles 46 mins ago on
- Did We ALL Write a Book About Space Elevators? (And Other Coincidences in Science Fiction) 50 mins ago on
- Did We ALL Write a Book About Space Elevators? (And Other Coincidences in Science Fiction) 58 mins ago on