Inversion (a novel)
Available November 2023 from AK Press / Black Dawn.
On a mysterious green world renewed by fire, vibrant collectivist communities have long lived in harmony with both its strange ecosystem and each other—until the day imperialist forces arrive.
Raised in one of the non-hierarchical nomadic societies on the planet of Germinal, young Char and her family tend to this commons, rich in culture and biodiversity, through principles of reciprocity, ritual, and attention to the balance of their ecosystem. But they must forever travel to stay just ahead of the natural phenomenon that marks their world: a wall of fire that approaches like clockwork, bringing both loss and renewal with it. She is the first to spot the arrival of landing vessels, and soon her way of life is upended by militaristic invaders whose intentions are far beyond her worldview.
Graft is a captive “servitor” and personal attendant to the Conquis, the leader of the vanguard forces in the campaign to seize control of the distant planet. As the last survivor of a culture annihilated by conquest, Graft sees how unprepared Char and her people are to deal with the invasion. When one unsettling discovery leads to another, the newcomers find the nature of this new land troubling and its denizens odd—perhaps even nonhuman. The mission soon turns into something more menacing, and the inhabitants of the violated utopia must learn how to defend themselves or lose everything.
Flowering with possible new ways of life, Inversion is a tale of social struggle set in a completely unique universe, whose unexpected nature will surprise and delight. Aric McBay weaves a tale in the visionary spirit of Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed and Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed.
“A masterful worldbuilding feat …. Never heavy-handed or preachy, this thought-provoking work of speculative fiction is sure to linger in readers’ minds.” —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
“Inversion is such a pleasure to read—it is richly backgrounded and genuinely engrossing. There are full and contradictory lives here, as well as a sense of immediacy, urgency, and awe. I found real and hard-won delight in it.” —Daniel Lavery, New York Times bestselling author of Texts from Jane Eyre
“Aric McBay’s Inversion is a masterpiece of utopian resistance, where comprehension and cooperation are the keys to survival. The interconnected cultures of Germinal, like fire-adapted seeds, have developed into an environmental and social utopia … It’s hope in a pocket universe, where the ability to look forward and back and inward is a deliberate, sustainable choice.” —Octavia Cade, author of The Impossible Resurrections of Grief
Kraken Calling (a novel)
In the Octavia Butlerian vein of the Parable of the Sower novels, comes a new work from political activist and author Aric McBay. Kraken Calling toggles between the years 2028 and 2051 to give us the experience, with breathtaking realism, of what might happen in just one generation to a society already on the brink of collapse.
In 2028, activists fight an increasingly desperate battle against the climate emergency and capitalism, but their every victory brings down repression. Meanwhile, discontented by protests and polemics, a radical movement named Kraken grows in the shadows.
Twenty years later, an oppressive regime has taken control after a series of epidemics, economic shortages, and ecological disasters. The population suffers ruthless “triage” at the hands of an Authority that cares only for its own inner circle. Revolutionaries struggle for survival and support. In the city and on a remote farm, regular people try to stay out of the conflict. But no one can avoid the coming storm.
Popular social movements and underground liberation groups clash, and people struggle against the limitations of their time. In 2028, the underground seems premature—but by 2051, they may be too late. A novel, available now from Seven Stories Press.
“McBay’s passion combined with the tale’s escalating stakes and adrenaline-fueled conflict will reel in readers and hold them rapt.
An urgent call to action cloaked in a sprawling dystopian debut.”
“Political and climate activist McBay makes his fiction debut with this dystopia exploring a resistance movement via two alternating time lines. In 2028, disparate activist groups both clash and collaborate in an attempt to stem the tides of climate change and fascism. In 2051, the failures of the previous generation have allowed a fascist pseudo-government to come to power, and an underground resistance is the only hope of ending the oppression of the York Emergency Authority and its “triage” system. . . With an almost instructional focus on the inner workings of political resistance, Kraken Calling is both a cautionary tale and an inspiring call to action that will appeal to left-leaning readers seeking to create social change.” — Booklist