Inversion: A Novel

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    Aric McBay

    Publisher: AK Press

    Year: 2023

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 216 pages

    ISBN: 9781849355049

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This is the fifth book in the Black Dawn Series.

On a mysterious green planet 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.

What People Are Saying

“Every once in a while, I run into a new science fiction story that feels remarkably classic, as though it had been written at the height of some previous era and only recently discovered...[Evokes] some of the best utopias to be found in science fiction…Immensely fun and inspiring, and a welcome addition to a very long conversation.” Jake Casella Brookins, Locus Magazine

"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


About the Author

Aric McBay is an organizer, a farmer, and author of seven books, including the novel Kraken Calling and the non-fiction Peak Oil Survival and Full Spectrum Resistance (2 vols.). He writes and speaks about effective social movements and has organized campaigns around prisoner justice, Indigenous sovereignty, pipelines, unionization, and other causes.

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