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The Fifth Season

The Broken Earth: Book 1

N. K. Jemisin

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.

Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world's sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes -- those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon -- are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.

She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

The Book of the New Sun, Volume 2: Sword and Citadel

The Book of the New Sun - Fantasy Masterworks: Book 2

Gene Wolfe

Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory.

Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, and journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner's sword, Terminus Est.

This edition contains the second two volumes of this four volume novel, The Sword of the Lictor and The Citadel of the Autarch.

This book has recently been re-printed as part of the SF Masterworks series - see the new image below.

The Book of the New Sun

The Book of the New Sun

Gene Wolfe

Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory. Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, and journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner's sword, Terminus Est.

Contents:

  • 5 - The Shadow of the Torturer - [Book of The New Sun - 1] - 1980
  • 249 - The Claw of the Conciliator - [Book of The New Sun - 2] - 1981
  • 483 - The Sword of the Lictor - [Book of The New Sun - 3] - 1982
  • 715 - The Citadel of the Autarch - [Book of The New Sun - 4] - 1983

The Book of the New Sun, Volume 2: Sword and Citadel

The Book of the New Sun - SF Masterworks: Book 2

Gene Wolfe

Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory.

Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, and journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner's sword, Terminus Est.

This edition contains the second two volumes of this four volume novel, The Sword of the Lictor and The Citadel of the Autarch.

The Book of the New Sun, Volume 1: Shadow and Claw

The Book of the New Sun - SF Masterworks: Book 1

Gene Wolfe

Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory. Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, and journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner's sword, Terminus Est.

This edition contains the first two volumes of this four volume novel, The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator.

Tales of the Dying Earth

Dying Earth

Jack Vance

One of Jack Vances enduring classics is his 1964 novel, The Dying Earth, and its sequelsa fascinating tale set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever. This volume comprises all four books in the series, The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugels Saga and Rialto the Magnificent.

Earth Abides

George R. Stewart

A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.

The Sword of the Lictor

The Book of the New Sun: Book 3

Gene Wolfe

Banished for the sin of mercy, Severian, one of the ancient guild of Torturers, flees from exile.

In a mountain wilderness Severian, the disgraced apprentice torturer, has reached his place of exile - Thrax, the city of Windowless Rooms, where he must take up his post as Lictor, executioner and torturer. However, he flees the city and heads into the mountains. There he meets the Alzabo, in whom those eaten seem to live on, adopts a son only to lose him in battle and discharges an old debt to vengeance. As his exile takes stranger and stranger turns, he encounters fanged aliens who hide behind masks of beauty, and meets the mysterious Dr Talos . . .

The Citadel of the Autarch

The Book of the New Sun: Book 4

Gene Wolfe

Severian the Torturer continues his epic journey across the lands of Urth, carrying with him the Claw of the Conciliator and the great sword, Terminus Est. All his travels are leading towards a destiny that he dare not refuse.

The Past Is Red

Garbagetown

Catherynne M. Valente

The future is blue. Endless blue... except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown.

Tetley Abednego is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she's the only one who knows it. She's the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it's full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time.

But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.

The first quarter of this book was published as the novelette The Past Is Red and it can be read for free at Clarkesworld.

The Road

Cormac McCarthy

The searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Spin

The Spin Sequence: Book 1

Robert Charles Wilson

One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.

The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk--a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world's artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they'd been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside--more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.

Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who's forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.

Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans...and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth's probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun--and report back on what they find.

Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.

The Obelisk Gate

The Broken Earth: Book 2

N. K. Jemisin

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring -- madman, world-crusher, savior -- has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

World of Trouble

Hank Palace: Book 3

Ben H. Winters

Critically acclaimed author Ben H. Winters delivers this explosive final installment in the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series.

With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank's safety is only relative, and his only relative--his sister Nico--isn't safe. Soon, it's clear that there's more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it's up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out... for everyone.

The Stone Sky

The Broken Earth: Book 3

N. K. Jemisin

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The Shadow of the Torturer

The Book of the New Sun: Book 1

Gene Wolfe

The Shadow of the Torturer is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession -- showing mercy toward his victim.

The Claw of the Conciliator

The Book of the New Sun: Book 2

Gene Wolfe

The second volume of "The Book of the New Sun". The torturer Severian continues his journey of exile to the city Thrax, carrying with him the ancient executioner's sword and the Claw of the Conciliator, a gem of extraterrestrial power and beauty which no one man is meant to possess.

Wool

Silo: Book 1

Hugh Howey

This Omnibus Edition collects the five Wool books into a single volume. It is for those who arrived late to the party and who wish to save a dollar or two while picking up the same stories in a single package.

The first Wool story was released as a standalone short in July of 2011. Due to reviewer demand, the rest of the story was released over the next six months. My thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist. Your demand created this as much as I did.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

The Book of the New Sun, Volume 1: Shadow and Claw

The Book of the New Sun - Fantasy Masterworks: Book 1

Gene Wolfe

Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory. Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, and journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner's sword, Terminus Est.

This edition contains the first two volumes of this four volume novel, The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator.

This book has recently been re-printed as part of the SF Masterworks series - see the new image below.

The Martian Obelisk

Linda Nagata

A powerful science fiction story about an architect on Earth commissioned to create (via long distance) a masterwork with materials from the last abandoned Martian colony, a monument that will last thousands of years longer than Earth, which is dying.

This story can be found in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Twelve (2018), edited by Jonathan Strahan, The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection (2018), edited by Gardner Dozois, The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 3 (2018), edited by Neil Clarke, and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2018, edited by Rich Horton.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Alas, Babylon

Pat Frank

Hailed by critics, this classic disaster novel about a nuclear holocaust in the United States--now available in a limited Olive Edition--continues to resonate with readers as strongly today as when it was first published in 1959 at the height of the Cold War.

"Alas, Babylon..."

Those fateful words heralded the end. When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away.

But for one small Florida town, spared against all the odds, the struggle was just beginning, as men and women of all ages and races found the courage to join together and push against the darkness.

Countdown City

Hank Palace: Book 2

Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman received the 2013 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original--along with plenty of glowing reviews.

Now Detective Hank Palace returns in Countdown City, the second volume of the Last Policeman trilogy. There are just 77 days before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank's days of solving crimes are over... until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace—an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone "bucket list" or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off "impact zone" refugees.

Countdown City presents another fascinating mystery set on brink of an apocalypse--and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond "whodunit." What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?

Cugel's Saga

Dying Earth: Book 3

Jack Vance

The roguish Cugel the Clever is stranded on a shore on the other side of the world by the Laughing Magic and must fight, bluff, and connive his way back to Almery to take vengeance on the wizard.

Alternate title: Cugel: The Skybreak Spatterlight

The Sea and Summer

George Turner

Francis Conway is Swill - one of the millions in the year 2041 who must subsist on the inadequate charities of the state. Life, already difficult, is rapidly becoming impossible for Francis and others like him, as government corruption, official blindness and nature have conspired to turn Swill homes into watery tombs. And now the young boy must find a way to escape the approaching tide of disaster.

The Sea and Summer, published in the US as Drowning Towers, is George Turner's masterful exploration of the effects of climate change in the not-too-distant future. Comparable to J.G. Ballard's The Drowned World, it was shortlisted for the nebula and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Ark

Flood: Book 2

Stephen Baxter

As the waters rose in FLOOD, high in the Colorado mountains the US government was building an ark. Not an ark to ride the waves but an ark that would take a select few hundred people out into space to start a new future for mankind. Sent out into deep space on an epic journey centuries, generations of crew members carry the hope of a new beginning on a new, incredibly distant, planet. But as the decades pass knowledge and purpose is lost and division and madness grows. And back on earth life, and man, find a new way.

Lucifer's Hammer

Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

Monumental devastation will sweep across the globe if the newly-discovered Hamner-Brown comet collides with the one major obstacle in its path: Earth.

For millionaire Tim Hamner, the comet is a ticket to immortality. For filmmaker Harvey Randall, it's a shot to redeem a flagging career. And for astronauts John Baker and Rick Delanty, it's a second chance for glory in outer space.

But for a world gripped by comet fever, fascination quickly turns to fear. And only those who survive the impact will know the even greater terror, when rich and poor, politicians and killers, turn to each other or against each other--and the remnants of humanity grow savage to battle for what little remains...

The Inverted World

Christopher Priest

The city is winched along a track through a devastated land full of hostile tribes. Tracks must be freshly laid ahead of the city and carefully removed in its wake. Rivers and mountains present nearly insurmountable challenges to the ingenuity of the city's engineers. But if the city does not move, it will fall farther and farther behind the "optimum," slipping into the crushing gravitational field that has transformed life on earth. The only alternative to the city's forward progress is death.

The secret directorate that governs the city makes sure that its inhabitants know nothing of this. Raised in common in creches, nurtured on synthetic food, prevented above all from venturing outside the closed circuit of the city, they are carefully sheltered from the dire necessities that have come to define human existence. And yet, for all that, the city is in crisis. The people are growing restive, the population is dwindling, and the rulers know that, for all their efforts, slowly but surely the city is slipping ever farther behind the optimum.

Helward Mann is a member of the city's elite. Better than anyone, he knows the risks the city runs, how tenuous is its continued existence, how essential it is that discipline be maintained. And yet, as he is about to discover, the world is even stranger than he dreamed.

Oryx and Crake

MaddAddam Sequence: Book 1

Margaret Atwood

A stunning and provocative new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize.

Margaret Atwood?s new novel is so utterly compelling, so prescient, so relevant, so terrifyingly-all-too-likely-to-be-true, that readers may find their view of the world forever changed after reading it.

This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers. For readers of Oryx and Crake, nothing will ever look the same again.

The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.

Sea of Rust

C. Robert Cargill

A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic "robot western" from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.

It's been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI--One World Intelligence--the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality--their personality--for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw and vivid memories--and nearly unbearable guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

Seveneves

Neal Stephenson

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain...

Five thousand years later, their progeny -- seven distinct races now three billion strong--embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown... to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

The Genocides

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 60

Thomas M. Disch

This spectacular novel established Thomas M. Disch as a major new force in science fiction. First published in 1965, it was immediately labeled a masterpiece reminiscent of the works of J.G. Ballard and H.G. Wells

In this harrowing novel, the world's cities have been reduced to cinder and ash and alien plants have overtaken the earth. The plants, able to grow the size of maples in only a month and eventually reach six hundred feet, have commandeered the world's soil and are sucking even the Great Lakes dry. In northern Minnesota, Anderson, an aging farmer armed with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other, desperately leads the reduced citizenry of a small town in a daily struggle for meager existence. Throw into this fray Jeremiah Orville, a marauding outsider bent on a bizarre and private revenge, and the fight to live becomes a daunting task.

MaddAddam

MaddAddam Sequence: Book 3

Margaret Atwood

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. Their reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is recovering from a debilitating fever, so it's left to Toby to preach the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb.

Zeb has been searching for Adam One, founder of the God's Gardeners, the pacifist green religion from which Zeb broke years ago to lead the MaddAddamites in active resistance against the destructive CorpSeCorps. But now, under threat of a Painballer attack, the MaddAddamites must fight back with the aid of their newfound allies, some of whom have four trotters. At the center of MaddAddam is the story of Zeb's dark and twisted past, which contains a lost brother, a hidden murder, a bear, and a bizarre act of revenge.

Combining adventure, humor, romance, superb storytelling, and an imagination at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Margaret Atwood—a moving and dramatic conclusion to her internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy.

On the Beach

Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute’s most powerful novel—a bestseller for decades after its 1957 publication—is an unforgettable vision of a post-apocalyptic world.

After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life.

Both terrifying and intensely moving, On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.

Vortex

The Spin Sequence: Book 3

Robert Charles Wilson

Vortex tells the story of Turk Findley, the protagonist introduced in Axis, who is transported ten thousand years into the future by the mysterious entities called "the Hypotheticals." In this future humanity exists on a chain of planets connected by Hypothetical gateways; but Earth itself is a dying world, effectively quarantined.

Turk and his young friend Isaac Dvali are taken up by a community of fanatics who use them to enable a passage to the dying Earth, where they believe a prophecy of human/Hypothetical contact will be fulfilled. The prophecy is only partly true, however, and Turk must unravel the truth about the nature and purpose of the Hypotheticals before they carry him on a journey through warped time to the end of the universe itself.

The End Is Nigh

The Apocalypse Triptych: Book 1

John Joseph Adams
Hugh Howey

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.

But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.

The Apocalypse Triptych will tell their stories.

Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, The Apocalypse Triptych is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. The End Is Nigh focuses on life before the apocalypse. The End Is Now turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And The End Has Come explores life after the apocalypse.

Volume one of The Apocalypse Triptych, The End Is Nigh, features all-new, never-before-published works by Hugh Howey, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jamie Ford, Seanan McGuire, Tananarive Due, Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler, Robin Wasserman, Nancy Kress, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu, and many others.

Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning. The End Is Nigh is about the match.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction (The End is Nigh) - essay by John Joseph Adams
  • The Balm and the Wound - short story by Robin Wasserman
  • Heaven is a Place on Planet X - short story by Desirina Boskovich
  • Break! Break! Break! - short story by Charlie Jane Anders (2014)
  • The Gods Will Not Be Chained - short story by Ken Liu
  • Wedding Day - short story by Jake Kerr
  • Removal Order - short story by Tananarive Due
  • System Reset - short story by Tobias S. Buckell
  • This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces - short story by Jamie Ford
  • BRING HER TO ME - short story by Ben H. Winters
  • In the Air - short story by Hugh Howey
  • Goodnight Moon - short story by Annie Bellet
  • Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod - novelette by Will McIntosh
  • Houses Without Air - short story by Megan Arkenberg
  • The Fifth Day of Deer Camp - novelette by Scott Sigler
  • Enjoy the Moment - short story by Jack McDevitt
  • Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through - short story by Nancy Kress
  • Spores - novelette by Seanan McGuire [as by Mira Grant]
  • She's Got a Ticket to Ride - short story by Jonathan Maberry
  • Agent Unknown - short story by David Wellington
  • Enlightenment - short story by Matthew Mather
  • Shooting the Apocalypse - novelette by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Love Perverts - short story by Sarah Langan

Sand

Hugh Howey

Contains:

Part One: The Belt of the Buried Gods

The wind blows from east to west. It brings with it the sand, deposited in dunes, to bury and torment the unfortunate souls who live here. Life on the sand is miserable. Life below it is even worse.

Part Two: Out of No Man's Land

For every bucket of sand a man hauls, the wind brings another.
For every life that wanders out of sight, one more is born.
On the anniversary of a father lost, two brothers whisper stories in a tent.
They camp on the border of No Man's Land.
And one of them has a secret.

Part Three: Return to Danvar

An eldest daughter is a father's curse. Vic knows this. She knows she was never supposed to be the one. But her father taught her to breathe beneath the sand, taught her how to dive deep and find the treasures of the buried past. He taught her brother as well. When she hears of Danvar's discovery, it feels as though fate has slipped her by. If the rumors are to believed, that is. And while she has her doubts, her missing brother sends her on a hunt of her own. Cities are not the only things that get buried and forgotten. There are families, too.

Part Four: Thunder Due East

A family long scattered reunites as danger approaches Springston. Brother and sister rush to sound a warning, but that warning will come too late. Bombs will thunder like the pulse of a terrible god. The great dune will flow as the sea. And when a people find themselves buried beneath the sands, who in the heavens will hear their muffled pleas?

Part Five: A Rap Upon Heaven's Gate

Every generation thinks that it is special, that the great fall will occur before their time is up. Every generation is wrong. Until now.

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We live across the thousand dunes with grit in our teeth and sand in our homes. No one will come for us. No one will save us. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. No one is looking down on us. Those constellations in the night sky? Those are the backs of gods we see.

Evolution

Stephen Baxter

Stretching from the distant past into the remote future, from primordial Earth to the stars, Evolution is a soaring symphony of struggle, extinction, and survival; a dazzling epic that combines a dozen scientific disciplines and a cast of unforgettable characters to convey the grand drama of evolution in all its awesome majesty and rigorous beauty.

Sixty-five million years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, there lived a small mammal, a proto-primate of the species Purgatorius. From this humble beginning, Baxter traces the human lineage forward through time. The adventure that unfolds is a gripping odyssey governed by chance and competition, a perilous journey to an uncertain destination along a route beset by sudden and catastrophic upheavals. It is a route that ends, for most species, in stagnation or extinction. Why should humanity escape this fate?

The Urth of the New Sun

The Book of the New Sun: Book 5

Gene Wolfe

Severian, formerly a member of the Torturers' Guild and now Autarch of Urth, travels beyond the boundaries of time and space aboard the Ship of Tzadkiel on a mission to bring the New Sun to his dying planet.

The Eyes of the Overworld

Dying Earth: Book 2

Jack Vance

The Eyes of the Overworld is the first of Vance's picaresque novels about the scoundrel Cugel. Here he is sent by a magician he has wronged to a distant unknown country to retrieve magical lenses that reveal the Overworld. Conniving to steal the lenses, he escapes and, goaded by a homesick monster magically attached to his liver, starts to find his way home to Almery. The journey takes him across trackless mountains, wastelands, and seas. Through cunning and dumb luck, the relentless Cugel survives one catastrophe after another, fighting off bandits, ghosts, and ghouls-stealing, lying, and cheating without insight or remorse leaving only wreckage behind.

Betrayed and betraying, he joins a cult group on a pilgrimage, crosses the Silver Desert as his comrades die one by one and, escaping the Rat People, obtains a spell that returns him home. There, thanks to incompetence and arrogance he misspeaks the words of a purloined spell and transports himself back to the same dismal place he began his journey.

Alternate title: Cugel the Clever

The Dying Earth

Dying Earth: Book 1

Jack Vance

The stories included in The Dying Earth introduce dozens of seekers of wisdom and beauty, lovely lost women, wizards of every shade of eccentricity with their runic amulets and spells. We meet the melancholy deodands, who feed on human flesh and the twk-men, who ride dragonflies and trade information for salt. There are monsters and demons. Each being is morally ambiguous: The evil are charming, the good are dangerous. All are at home in Vance's lyrically described fantastic landscapes like Embelyon where, "The sky [was] a mesh of vast ripples and cross-ripples and these refracted a thousand shafts of colored light, rays which in mid-air wove wondrous laces, rainbow nets, in all the jewel hues...." The dying Earth itself is otherworldly: "A dark blue sky, an ancient sun.... Nothing of Earth was raw or harsh-the ground, the trees, the rock ledge protruding from the meadow; all these had been worked upon, smoothed, aged, mellowed. The light from the sun, though dim, was rich and invested every object of the land ... with a sense of lore and ancient recollection." Welcome.

alternate title: Mazirian the Magician

Hothouse / The Long Afternoon of Earth

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 32

Brian W. Aldiss

In the future, when the Sun has expanded and is ready to go nova, few animal species remain while plants have adapted to fill animal niches. One of the few species to survive are humans, but in much-altered forms. It is here where young tribal Gren finds himself captured by an intelligent fungus with plans to colonize humans to control the world! Hothouse tells the story of a remarkable journey of discovery that will alter your perceptions about the true nature of the world today... and the world to come!

Dreamsnake

Snake

Vonda N. McIntyre

This is the haunting story of an extraordinary woman and her dangerous quest to reclaim her healing powers. Revered healer Snake must undertake a journey in search of the dreamsnake, whose bite eases the fear and pain of death.

The Last Policeman

Hank Palace: Book 1

Ben H. Winters

What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There's no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He's investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace's investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we're confronted by hard questions way beyond "whodunit." What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

Feersum Endjinn

Iain M. Banks

Count Alandre Sessine VII has already died seven times. He has only one life left - one last chance to catch his killer. His only clues point to a conspiracy beyond his own murder. For a catastrophe is fast approaching the earth from which there is no escape - until a loophole through apocalypse is discovered. And a chosen few will do anything to keep it a secret.

Someone has betrayed Sessine, killed him before he could uncover the truth. Now he has three days before his funeral to live the way men used to live: restricted to one life where one mistake could be his last. Suddenly he finds himself an outlaw, a fugitive, a desperado. And his only hope of survival is finding others like himself. Others who hold a piece of the puzzle to an enigmatic weapon of salvation and chaos...

The Crystal World

The Elemental Apocalypse Quartet: Book 4

J. G. Ballard

J. G. Ballard's fourth novel, which established his reputation as a writer of extraordinary talent and imaginative powers, tells the story of a physician specializing in the treatment of leprosy who is invited to a small outpost in the interior of Africa. Finding the roadways blocked, he takes to the river, and embarks on a frightening journey through a strange petrified forest whose area expands daily, affecting not only the physical environment but also its inhabitants.

The Wild Shore

Three Californias: Book 1

Kim Stanley Robinson

2047: For the small Pacific Coast community of San Onofre, life in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear attack is a matter of survival, a day-to-day struggle to stay alive. But young Hank Fletcher dreams of the world that might have been, and might yet be--and dreams of playing a crucial role in America's rebirth.

Riddley Walker

Russell Hoban

'Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddels where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same. There aint that many sir prizes in life if you take noatis of every thing. Every time will have its happenings out and every place the same. Thats why I finely come to writing all this down. Thinking on what the idear of us myt be. Thinking on that thing whats in us lorn and loan and oansome.'

Composed in an English which has never been spoken and laced with a storytelling tradition that predates the written word, RIDDLEY WALKER is the world waiting for us at the bitter end of the nuclear road. It is desolate, dangerous and harrowing, and a modern masterpiece.

Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America

Julian Comstock: Book 1

Robert Charles Wilson

In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the Plague of Infertility, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the sixty stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York City. In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation's spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.

Then out of Labrador come tales of a new Ajax-Captain Commongold, the Youthful Hero of the Saguenay. The ordinary people follow his adventures in the popular press. The Army adores him. The President is... troubled. Especially when the dashing Captain turns out to be his nephew Julian, son of the falsely accused and executed Bryce.

Treachery and intrigue dog Julian's footsteps. Hairsbreadth escapes and daring rescues fill his days. Stern resolve and tender sentiment dice for Julian's soul, while his admiration for the works of the Secular Ancients, and his adherence to the evolutionary doctrines of the heretical Darwin, set him at fatal odds with the hierarchy of the Dominion. Plague and fire swirl around the Presidential palace when at last he arrives with the acclamation of the mob.

As told by Julian's best friend and faithful companion, a rustic yet observant lad from the west, this tale of the 22nd Century asks- and answers-the age-old question: "Do you want to tell the truth, or do you want to tell a story?"

This novel is a greatly-expanded version of the Hugo- and Sturgeon-nominated novella, Julian: A Christmas Story.

This Immortal

Roger Zelazny

Conrad Nomikos has a long, rich personal history that he'd rather not talk about and a job he'd rather not do. Escorting an alien grandee on a tour around a shattered post-nuclear war Earth is not something he relishes, especially when he becomes central to an intrigue determining Earth's future.

Rhialto the Marvellous

Dying Earth: Book 4

Jack Vance

Jack Vance is one of the most remarkable talents to ever grace the world of science fiction. His unique, stylish voice has been beloved by generations of readers. One of his enduring classics is hisThe Dying Earth series, fascinating, baroque tales set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever.

Rhialto the Marvellous contains three linked novellas about the adventures of the wizard Rhialto across the decadent landscape of the Dying Earth, under its swollen red sun.

The Book of M

Peng Shepherd

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man's shadow disappears--an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max's shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

The Drowned World

The Elemental Apocalypse Quartet: Book 2

J. G. Ballard

In the 21st century, fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ide-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Global temperatures have climbed, and civilization has retreated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. London is a city now inundated by a primeval swamp, to which an expedition travels to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age.

This early novel by the author of CRASH and EMPIRE OF THE SUN is at once a fast paced narrative, a stunning evocation of a flooded, tropical London of the near future and a speculative foray into the workings of the unconscious mind.

Terminal World

Alastair Reynolds

In a far distant future, an enforcement agent named Quillon has been living incognito in the last human city of Spearpoint, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, his world is wrenched apart.

For the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels, and with the dying body comes bad news-to save the angel's life, Quillon must leave his home and travel into the cold and hostile lands beyond the city.

All the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders

From the editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning novel about the end of the world -- and the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together -- to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

Life As We Knew It

Last Survivors: Book 1

Susan Beth Pfeffer

I guess I always felt even if the world came to an end, McDonald's still would be open.

High school sophomore Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, the way "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintry in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in a year's worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. An extraordinary series debut!

When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide: Book 1

Edwin Balmer
Philip Wylie

A runaway planet hurtles toward the earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities, and wiping out millions. In central North America, a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escape the doomed earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans.

A crackling plot and sizzling, cataclysmic vision have made When Worlds Collide one of the most popular and influential end-of-the-world novels of all time. This Bison Frontiers of Imagination edition features the original story and its sequel, After Worlds Collide.

Moonfall

Jack McDevitt

It's the 21st century, and all is right with the world. Or so it seems.

Vice President Charlie Haskell, who will travel anywhere for a photo op, is about to cut the ribbon for the just-completed American Moonbase. The first Mars voyage is about to leave high orbit, with a woman at the helm. Below, the world is marveling at a rare solar eclipse.

But all that is right is about to go disastrously wrong when an amateur astronomer discovers a new comet. Named for its discover, Tomikois a "sun-grazer,"an interstellar wanderer with a hundred times the mass and ten times the speed of other comets. And it is headed straight for our moon.

In less than five days, if scientists' predictions are right, Tomiko will crash into the moon, shattering it into a cloud of superheated gas, dust, and huge chunks of rock that will rain down on the earth, causing chaos and killer storms, possibly tidal waves inundating entire cities... or worse: a single apocalyptic worldwide "extinction event."

In the meantime, the population of Moonbase must be evacuated by a hastily assembled fleet of shuttle rockets. There isn't room, or time enough, for everyone. And the vice president, who rashly promised to be last off ("I will lock the door and turn off the lights"), is trying to figure out how to get away without eating his words.

Elysium

Jennifer Marie Brissett

A computer program etched into the atmosphere has a story to tell, the story of two people, of a city lost to chaos, of survival and love. The program's data, however, has been corrupted. As the novel's characters struggle to survive apocalypse, they are sustained and challenged by the demands of love in a shattered world both haunted and dangerous.

Perihelion Summer

Greg Egan

Taraxippus is coming: a black hole one tenth the mass of the sun is about to enter the solar system.

Matt and his friends are taking no chances. They board a mobile aquaculture rig, the Mandjet, self-sustaining in food, power and fresh water, and decide to sit out the encounter off-shore. As Taraxippus draws nearer, new observations throw the original predictions for its trajectory into doubt, and by the time it leaves the solar system, the conditions of life across the globe will be changed forever.

This is a novella of approximately 41,800 words.

Ark

Forward: Book 1

Veronica Roth

On the eve of Earth's destruction, a young scientist discovers something too precious to lose, in a story of cataclysm and hope by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent trilogy.

It's only two weeks before an asteroid turns home to dust. Though most of Earth has already been evacuated, it's Samantha's job to catalog plant samples for the survivors' unknowable journey beyond. Preparing to stay behind and watch the world end, she makes a final human connection.

As certain doom hurtles nearer, the unexpected and beautiful potential for the future begins to flower.

Gathering Blue

The Giver: Book 2

Lois Lowry

Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. When she is given a task that no other community member can carry out, Kira soon realizes that she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world-and to find out what exists beyond it.

Blackfish City

Sam J. Miller

After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, it has started to crumble under the weight of its own decay - crime and corruption have set in, a terrible new disease is coursing untreated through the population, and the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside deepest poverty are spawning unrest.

Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor - a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained polar bear. She disappears into the crowds looking for someone she lost thirty years ago, followed by whispers of a vanished people who could bond with animals. Her arrival draws together four people and sparks a chain of events that will lead to unprecedented acts of resistance.

The Sword of Rhiannon

Leigh Brackett

Greed pulls the archaeologist Matt Carse into the forgotten tomb of the Martian god Rhiannon and plunges the unlikely hero into the Red Planet's fantastic past, when vast oceans covered the land and the legendary Sea-Kings ruled from terraced palaces of decadence and delight. Talented enough to co-write The Big Sleep film with William Faulkner and imaginative enough to pen the original screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back, Leigh Brackett is a giant in the science-fiction field, and The Sword of Rhiannon is one of her most popular adventure tales.

After London: or, Wild England

Richard Jefferies

After some sudden and unspecified catastrophe has depopulated England, the countryside reverts to nature, and the few survivors to a quasi-medieval way of life. Beginning with a loving description of nature reclaiming England -- fields becoming overrun by forest, domesticated animals running wild, roads and towns becoming overgrown, the hated London reverting to lake and poisonous swampland -- the rest of the story is an adventure set many years later in the wild landscape.

The Einstein Intersection

Samuel R. Delany

The Einstein Intersection won the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel of 1967. The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are "different" must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey's mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are "different" try to seize history and the day.

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines Quartet: Book 1

Philip Reeve

London is hunting again. Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed.

In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage--and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.

The Scorch Trials

Maze Runner: Book 2

James Dashner

The Scorch Trials picks up where The Maze Runner left off. The Gladers have escaped the Maze, but now they face an even more treacherous challenge on the open roads of a devastated planet. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. Can Thomas survive in such a violent world?

The Jewels of Aptor

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 39

Samuel R. Delany

Originally appeared in Ace Double F-173 (1962).

When Argo, the White Goddess, orders it Geo, the itinerant poet, and his three disparate companions journey to the island of Aptor to seize a jewel from the dark god, Hama, and return it to Argo so that she may defeat the malign forces ranged against her and the land of Leptar

But, as the four push deep into the enigmatic heart of Aptor and the easy distinctions between good and evil start to blur, their mission no longer seems straightforward. For Argo already controls two of the precious stones and possession of the third would make her power absolute. And the four friends have learned that power tends to corrupt...

Gold Fame Citrus

Claire Vaye Watkins

In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins's story collection, Battleborn, swept nearly every award for short fiction. Now this young writer, widely heralded as a once-in-a-generation talent, returns with a first novel that harnesses the sweeping vision and deep heart that made her debut so arresting to a love story set in a devastatingly imagined near future:

Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. With the Central Valley barren, underground aquifer drained, and Sierra snowpack entirely depleted, most "Mojavs," prevented by both armed vigilantes and an indifferent bureaucracy from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon, two young Mojavs--Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the "forever war" turned surfer--squat in a starlet's abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.

The couple's fragile love somehow blooms in this arid place, and for the moment, it seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. They head east, a route strewn with danger: sinkholes and patrolling authorities, bandits and the brutal, omnipresent sun. Ghosting after them are rumors of a visionary dowser--a diviner for water--and his followers, who whispers say have formed a colony at the edge of a mysterious sea of dunes.