Above the Ether by Eric Barnes

Above the Ether

Above the Ether by Eric Barnes (The City Where We Once Lived 0.5)
English | 2019 | Sci / Fi | ePUB | 761 Kb

Above the Ether : A mesmerizing novel of unfolding dystopia amid the effects of climate change in a world very like our own, for readers of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station 11 and Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood.

In this prequel to Eric Barnes’s acclaimed cli-fi novel The City Where We Once Lived, Above the Ether, six sets of characters move through a landscape and a country just beginning to show the signs of cataclysmic change. A father and his young children fleeing a tsunami after a massive earthquake in the Gulf. A woman and her husband punishing themselves without relent for the loss of both their sons to addiction, while wildfires slowly burn closer to their family home. A brilliant investor, assessing opportunity in the risk to crops, homes, cities, industries, and infrastructure, working in the silent comfort of her office sixty floors up in the scorching air. A doctor and his wife stuck in a refugee camp for immigrants somewhere in a southern desert. Two young men working the rides for a roadside carnival, one escaping a brutal past, the other a racist present. The manager of a chain of nondescript fast-food restaurants in a city ravaged by the relentless wind..

While every night the news alternates images of tsunami destruction with the baseball scores, the characters converge on a city where the forces of change have already broken—a city half abandoned, with one part left to be scavenged as the levee system protecting it slowly fails—until, in their vehicles on the highway that runs through it, they witness the approach of what looks to be just one more violent storm.

“In the bathroom, she pulls the sleeves of her blouse onto her arms, then puts her necklace around her throat. Watching herself in the hotel mirror.

She is beautiful.

Not as a girl she wasn’t. Not as a teen. But, in her thirties, that changed.

He still sleeps in the bed. She can see him, behind her, in the mirror.

She isn’t married. She has no children. She has never had a boyfriend. She thinks, if she thinks about it, that’s how it will always be.

She begins to button the blouse, in the mirror now watching the sunrise in the tall windows behind her, floor to ceiling, a wall of windows that holds a sky turning pink behind the rows and rows of buildings. Fifty stories. Sixty.

This room is on floor seventy.

A minute later, she stands near the bed. Looking down at him. On the floor, she sees the money, hundred dollar bills, halfway out of the pocket of his jeans.

He’s new to this.

She puts her suit jacket on. Sits down on the bed next to him, pulling back the sheets, and he wakes now, naked, looking at her.

She moves her hand along his thigh and across his belly, and she touches his chest, smooth, her fingers gliding along one of his nipples, then the other.

He stares. Thinking, probably, that she wants to start again.”



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