Veil

[Drumroll. Rising strings. Lights!]

My new novel, Veil, is out today.

Veil is a character-driven science-fiction thriller set in a near-future shaped by geoengineering. Diplomats, hackers, scientists, spies, journalists, and billionaires grapple with the power and consequences of technology, life in the Anthropocene, and what it means to find a sense of agency in a world spinning out of control. August Cole calls it, "A brilliantly imagined eco-punk future filled with memorable characters locked in a life-or-death contest to control the direction of Earth's climate in the 21st century."

Get your copy of Veil right here.

I've always imagined literature to be a single extended conversation, and here are a few conversations that Veil is contributing to: Seth Godin recommended Veil in Books for SpringOneZero ran an exclusive excerpt, I talked to BBC World Service radio about the book (the Veil segment starts at the 17-minute mark), I partnered with Goodreads on this video tour of where and how I write, Andrew Liptak interviewed me about what inspired the story, I went on the Technotopia podcast to discuss the creative process behind it, and Polygon featured it on their list of the best new science-fiction books. Some lovely reviews are bubbling up through the blogosphere herehere, herehere, here, and here.

Books thrive on word-of-mouth, so the best way to support it and me is by helping the right people discover it. We all find our next favorite book through recommendations from people we trust. So if you read and love Veil, please leave an Amazon review and tell your friends about it. I know it might sound insignificant, but it makes all the difference in the world. Culture is a collective project in which all of us have a stake and a voice.

I poured my heart and soul into this book and it's my best work yet. As with any creative project in which you've invested years of your life, I'm simultaneously nervous and thrilled to share it. May it offer you welcome refuge, wellspring, and adventure in these strange times. Writing Veil changed my life, and my greatest aspiration is that reading it might enrich yours.

[Mic drop. Silent tears.]

Selected praise:

"A brilliantly imagined eco-punk future filled with memorable characters locked in a life-or-death contest to control the direction of Earth's climate in the 21st century."
-August Cole, author of Ghost Fleet and Burn-In

"Veil is about collapse, redemption, and heroes. As always, Peper's near-future science fiction will stick with you."
-Seth Godin, bestselling author and entrepreneur

"A modern parable about ecological collapse, climate change, technology, and power."
-OneZero

"Near-term science fiction at its absolute best. Peper consistently makes step function leaps in imagination. Veil is so crazy relevant and timely."
-Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group

"Peper turns his attention to the future of geoengineering in his latest tech thriller. The lives of billions are at stake."
-Polygon

"A wild ride through the Anthropocene, a near-future where geoengineering and climate grief clash head-on, and help unveil a path for meaning in our rapidly changing world. You're going to love this book."
-Eric Holthaus, climate correspondent for The Correspondent

"Fantastic novel addressing an imminent geopolitical, moral, and techno-economic issue: who dictates the Earth's climate in this century? Strong characterization, genuine emotional development, dead-on technical accuracy, and a fun, fast pace."
-Matt Ocko, managing partner at DCVC

"A taut near-future science-fiction thriller, with themes that resonate. Highly recommended."
-Templeton Gate

"Technologists are inventing the future--a future cut through with their own flaws and hubris as much as it is informed by their ingenuity. Veil imagines a world in which truth, politics, and nature itself are at the mercy of human engineering, for better and for worse. This is an adventure that will stick with you long after you reach the end."
-Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

"The perfect stay-at-home read to get your mind blown."
-Manu Saadia, author of Trekonomics

"Interrogates Anthropocene themes with respect to their complexity and wickedness."
-Alternative Fictions

"Eliot Peper weighs the promises--and perils--of geoengineering in this tautly paced thriller which, in its final chapters, offers an intriguing solution and that most welcome of messages: a glimmer of hope."
-Meg Howrey, author of The Wanderers

(And I mean come on, just look at that cover!)

Speaking, media, and rights inquiries: eliot [at] eliotpeper [dot] com

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels that explore the intersection of technology and culture. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter, hosts Fellow Travelers, and lives in Oakland, CA.

This blog exists thanks to the generous support of loyal readers. Become a member.

What If a Tech CEO Tried to Save the World With Geoengineering?

OneZero just published an exclusive excerpt from my new novel (warning: minor spoilers):
As the climate crisis grows increasingly dire, a radical question is appearing on more politicians’ lips: What if we geoengineer our way out of the mess? The notion that we could reduce global temperatures with a sweeping technical fix and for relatively cheaply—by, say, spraying particulates into the sky to block the sunlight—is at first blush rather appealing. But then it would likely produce drastic and potentially devastating unintended consequences, too.
Enter Eliot Peper’s latest book, Veil. Peper’s work always has a ‘next five-minutes-to-five years in the future’ vibe, and the latest is no different; the speculative fiction writer has crafted a modern parable about ecological collapse, climate change, technology, and power.
“This scenario raises so many questions that will define the coming century: what does it mean to exist within an environment in which we ourselves are the primary agent of change?” Peper muses about the inspiration for Veil. “What will the future look like when technologies like nuclear weapons, CRISPR, the internet, and geoengineering can give a single human being the power to literally change the world?”
Good questions. To begin to explore the answers, we’re pleased to share an exclusive excerpt of Veil. Enjoy.
Preorder your copy of Veil right here and complement with this interview about what inspired the book, this podcast about the creative process behind it, and this thoughtful advance review.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels that explore the intersection of technology and culture. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter, hosts Fellow Travelers, and lives in Oakland, CA.

This blog exists thanks to the generous support of loyal readers. Become a member.

Viktor Frankl on success

From Man's Search for Meaning:
Don't aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.
Complement with why successful people have no idea what made them successful, purpose is something you create for yourself, and do what matters.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels that explore the intersection of technology and culture. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter, hosts Fellow Travelers, and lives in Oakland, CA.

This blog exists thanks to the generous support of loyal readers. Become a member.

Imagining the future

On May 21st, I'll be joining Marija Gavrilov to discuss how to think like a science-fiction writer:
Imagination and storytelling in times of crisis are powerful vectors for activating change.
We'll come together with science-fiction writers in a semi-bookclub format to discuss imagination, possible futures, and better worlds.
The first session is with Eliot Peper, whose latest speculative thriller Veil  (out May 20th) depicts a near-future shaped by the climate crisis and attempts at geoengineering.
RSVP to participate in the live event right here.

Complement with this podcast interview about science fiction and scenario planning, Your Strategy Is Your Story, and how I went about extrapolating the future described in Borderless.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels that explore the intersection of technology and culture. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter, hosts Fellow Travelers, and lives in Oakland, CA.

This blog exists thanks to the generous support of loyal readers. Become a member.

Kim Stanley Robinson on how we live in a science fiction novel that we're writing together

These events, and others like them, are easier to imagine now than they were back in January, when they were the stuff of dystopian science fiction. But science fiction is the realism of our time. The sense that we are all now stuck in a science-fiction novel that we’re writing together—that’s another sign of the emerging structure of feeling. 
Science-fiction writers don’t know anything more about the future than anyone else. Human history is too unpredictable; from this moment, we could descend into a mass-extinction event or rise into an age of general prosperity. Still, if you read science fiction, you may be a little less surprised by whatever does happen. Often, science fiction traces the ramifications of a single postulated change; readers co-create, judging the writers’ plausibility and ingenuity, interrogating their theories of history. Doing this repeatedly is a kind of training. It can help you feel more oriented in the history we’re making now. This radical spread of possibilities, good to bad, which creates such a profound disorientation; this tentative awareness of the emerging next stage—these are also new feelings in our time.
Complement with my conversation with Stan about writing New York 2140The Real Way Science Empowers Us, and Using science fiction to understand the future of the web.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels that explore the intersection of technology and culture. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter, hosts Fellow Travelers, and lives in Oakland, CA.

This blog exists thanks to the generous support of loyal readers. Become a member.

Lewis Thomas on the awe-inspiring collective project of human language

From The Lives of a Cell:
There are lots of possibilities here, but if you think about the construction of the Hill by a colony of a million ants, each one working ceaselessly and compulsively to add perfection to his region of the structure without having the faintest notion of what is being constructed elsewhere, living out his brief life in a social enterprise that extends back into what is for him the deepest antiquity (ants die at the rate of 3-4 per cent per day; in a month or so an entire generation vanishes, while the Hill can go on for sixty years or, given good years, forever), performing his work with infallible, undistracted skill in the midst of a confusion of others, all tumbling over each other to get the twigs and bits of earth aligned in precisely the right configurations for the warmth and ventilation of the eggs and larvae, but totally incapacitated by isolation, there is only one human activity that is like this, and it is language. 
We have been working at it for what seems eternity, generation after articulate generation, and still we have no notion how it is done, nor what it will be like when finished, if it is ever to be finished. It is the most compulsively collective, genetically programmed, species-specific, and autonomic of all the things we do, and we are infallible at it. It comes naturally. We have DNA for grammar, neurons for syntax. We can never let up; we scramble our way through one civilization after another, metamorphosing, sprouting tools and cities everywhere, and all the time new words keep tumbling out.
Complement with Maria Popova on reality's density of wonder, Oliver Morton on humanity's fascination with the moon, and Kevin Kelly on how technology creates opportunity.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels that explore the intersection of technology and culture. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter, hosts Fellow Travelers, and lives in Oakland, CA.

This blog exists thanks to the generous support of loyal readers. Become a member.

The promises and perils of geoengineering

I went on the Technotopia podcast to talk to John Biggs about geoengineering, the future of climate change, and the inspirations behind my forthcoming novel, Veil.

Complement with my conversation with Andrew Liptak about Veil, how it feels to write fiction, and this podcast interview about how technology shapes society.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels that explore the intersection of technology and culture. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter, hosts Fellow Travelers, and lives in Oakland, CA.

This blog exists thanks to the generous support of loyal readers. Become a member.