The Science of Fiction on Veil

Maddie Stone published a generous, thoughtful, and mind-expanding essay exploring the implications of the near future extrapolated in my latest novel:

Geoengineering, or hacking the planet to cool it down, is either a maniacal plan dreamt up by foolhardy scientists or a useful tool for staving off climate catastrophe—maybe both. It raises hard questions about what sorts of sacrifices humanity may have to make for the greater good and who gets to decide; questions that beg for nuanced conversations about the social, environmental, and political risks and rewards.

Yet in science fiction, geoengineering tends to get treated with all the nuance of Thor’s hammer striking a rock monster. Which is why Eliot Peper’s recent novel Veil, set on a near future Earth beset by climate crises, is such a refreshing read. This book gets geoengineering right by showing that there are no obvious right answers.

Part book review, part geoengineering primer, part creative process x-ray, Maddie assembles a whole greater than the sum of those parts in the latest edition of her wonderful newsletter, The Science of Fiction, about how science shapes stories about the future and how stories about the future shape science. Go read the whole thing.


Complement with five lessons I learned writing Veil, my interview in Andrew Liptak’s Transfer Orbit, and this OneZero excerpt.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels, including Cumulus, Bandwidth, and, most recently, Veil. He sends a monthly reading recommendation newsletter and lives in Oakland, CA.

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