By Andy Giesler 

 

The Nothing Within

A rur­al-dystopi­an nov­el explor­ing post-apoc­a­lyp­tic Amish coun­try, a soci­ety shaped by fear, and pri­vate choic­es that remake the world.

  • ISBN 978–1-7335676–4-0 (print)
  • ISBN 978–1-7335676–2-6 (eBook mobi)
  • ISBN 978–1-7335676–3-3 (eBook epub)
  • LCCN 2019901406
  • Pub­lish­er: Hum­ble Quill LLC
  • 542 pages (118k words)

What unforgivable sin would you commit to save the world?

In 2161, the first chimera arose. A year lat­er, twelve bil­lion peo­ple were dead. The few who sur­vived called it the Reck­on­ing.

Gen­er­a­tions lat­er, their descen­dants hide with­in the walls of small, rus­tic vil­lages, cow­er­ing from chimeras. They revere tra­di­tion. They fear inno­va­tion. They mis­trust any­thing that’s dif­fer­ent.

Root couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent.

Curi­ous and irrev­er­ent, she dis­qui­ets her vil­lage. Blind daugh­ter of the vil­lage guardian, she stands apart. Frus­trat­ed with a wall-bound life, she grudg­ing­ly accepts it—until she hears the voice that no one else can hear.

Root’s jour­ney will take her into the wilds to dis­cov­er the truth: that her world has been twist­ed by peo­ple try­ing to save it. And her choic­es will deter­mine whether humankind’s last ember flick­ers out.

What unforgivable sin would you commit to save the world?

In 2161, the first chimera arose. A year lat­er, twelve bil­lion peo­ple were dead. The few who sur­vived called it the Reck­on­ing.

Gen­er­a­tions lat­er, their descen­dants hide with­in the walls of small, rus­tic vil­lages, cow­er­ing from chimeras. They revere tra­di­tion. They fear inno­va­tion. They mis­trust any­thing that’s dif­fer­ent.

Root couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent.

Curi­ous and irrev­er­ent, she dis­qui­ets her vil­lage. Blind daugh­ter of the vil­lage guardian, she stands apart. Frus­trat­ed with a wall-bound life, she grudg­ing­ly accepts it—until she hears the voice that no one else can hear.

Root’s jour­ney will take her into the wilds to dis­cov­er the truth: that her world has been twist­ed by peo­ple try­ing to save it. And her choic­es will deter­mine whether humankind’s last ember flick­ers out.

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This mag­i­cal, ter­ri­fy­ing, and whim­si­cal debut is a gen­uine­ly orig­i­nal and immer­sive take on post-apoc­a­lyp­tic SF.”
— Pub­lish­ers Week­ly (Starred Review)

[I]mpossible to put down…nothing short of a sto­ry­telling mas­ter­work.”
— BlueInk Review (Starred Review)

[A] fresh and inge­nious take on the post-apoc­a­lyp­tic novel…that main­tains sus­pense from its first page to its last.”
— Fore­word Clar­i­on Reviews (★★★★★)

Crafty sur­pris­es abound in this debut novel…[P]henomenal world­build­ing.”
— Kirkus Reviews

The People

Root

Excerpt: “Prologue”

My name is Root.

I was sev­en­teen when I first heard the voice no one else could hear. I feared I might have the Noth­ing with­in me.

But by the time my vil­lage burned me alive in the Pit? By then we were all pret­ty sure.

 

Root

Excerpt: “Prologue”

My name is Root.

I was sev­en­teen when I first heard the voice no one else could hear. I feared I might have the Noth­ing with­in me.

But by the time my vil­lage burned me alive in the Pit?

By then we were all pret­ty sure.

Ruth Troyer

Excerpt: “Ruth Troyer’s Journal”

Strays came onto our porch today. The same three Eli saw last week, I expect. All skin­ny with hunger.

They had fan­cy coats and gloves and col­or­ful hats and scarves and boots that looked expen­sive under all the dirt. They also had the look of men who sore­ly missed their screens and desks and elec­tric shavers and twin­kling mod­ern gew­gaws. I won­der what they were before the econ­o­my crum­bled. Engi­neers maybe. Bios. Lawyers. Some­thing well to do.

They asked for food. Eli has for­bid­den me to give any to strays. They said they’d eat­en noth­ing but dry crabap­ples in three days. Three days was about right from the hol­low look of them. I gave them a loaf of bread and wel­comed them to use our well. I apol­o­gized it couldn’t be more, said we had lit­tle enough for our own.

Their mouths thanked me. Their eyes want­ed more.

Ruth Troyer

Excerpt: “Ruth Troyer’s Journal”

Strays came onto our porch today. The same three Eli saw last week, I expect. All skin­ny with hunger.

They had fan­cy coats and gloves and col­or­ful hats and scarves and boots that looked expen­sive under all the dirt. They also had the look of men who sore­ly missed their screens and desks and elec­tric shavers and twin­kling mod­ern gew­gaws. I won­der what they were before the econ­o­my crum­bled. Engi­neers maybe. Bios. Lawyers. Some­thing well to do.

They asked for food. Eli has for­bid­den me to give any to strays. They said they’d eat­en noth­ing but dry crabap­ples in three days. Three days was about right from the hol­low look of them. I gave them a loaf of bread and wel­comed them to use our well. I apol­o­gized it couldn’t be more, said we had lit­tle enough for our own.

Their mouths thanked me. Their eyes want­ed more.

Morton and Aura Lee

Excerpt: “AT THE END OF ALL THINGS

Mor­ton wait­ed for her reac­tion. Any reac­tion. But Lee stood there, qui­et, fac­ing him. Impas­sive, her head a lit­tle to the side.

I’m sor­ry,” he said.

He had the flick­er­ing impres­sion of her in midair and then he was on his back, on the floor. It’s like that when some­one has a mil­i­tary-grade naught­work. Their naughts make them too fast. You can hard­ly see them com­ing.

Lee strad­dled Morton’s chest, all four foot eleven of her, her face puck­ered in an unfa­mil­iar gri­mace of rage. With her right hand, she cra­dled the back of his head almost ten­der­ly, lift­ing it gen­tly from the floor. Then, in the instant of peace that lay between, he real­ized: there wasn’t much mass behind her. She was anchor­ing her­self with her own right arm. She was going to make this count.

Then she was pound­ing him with her left.

Morton and Aura Lee

Excerpt: “AT THE END OF ALL THINGS

Mor­ton wait­ed for her reac­tion. Any reac­tion. But Lee stood there, qui­et, fac­ing him. Impas­sive, her head a lit­tle to the side.

I’m sor­ry,” he said.

He had the flick­er­ing impres­sion of her in midair and then he was on his back, on the floor. It’s like that when some­one has a mil­i­tary-grade naught­work. Their naughts make them too fast. You hard­ly see the attack com­ing.

Lee strad­dled Morton’s chest, all four foot eleven of her, her face puck­ered in an unfa­mil­iar gri­mace of rage. With her right hand, she cra­dled the back of his head almost ten­der­ly, lift­ing it gen­tly from the floor. Then, in the instant of peace that lay between, he real­ized: there wasn’t much mass behind her. She was anchor­ing her­self with her own right arm. She was going to make this count.

Then she was pound­ing him with her left.

The World

The main sto­ry takes place long after the Reck­on­ing in The World That Is—a region that was once north-cen­tral Ohio, and is now bound­ed by the vast cir­cu­lar canyon of the Void.

The Author

Andy Giesler

When Andy was ten years old, he wrote his first book.

Attack of the Dinosaurs was sev­en­teen pages long, var­i­ous­ly sin­gle- and dou­ble spaced, with rough cut card­board back­ing and a mask­ing tape and white yarn bind­ing.

It was the heart-pound­ing tale of Alaskan sci­en­tists using nuclear bombs to prospect for gaso­line and—as hap­pens all too often—inadvertently wak­ing frozen dinosaurs. With­out giv­ing away too much, things didn’t end well for the dinosaurs. (Things nev­er end well for the dinosaurs.)

He fell in love with writ­ing and promised him­self that, one day, he’d write an even longer book.

Then, one evening many years lat­er while read­ing bed­time sto­ries to his daugh­ter and son, he thought:

Hmnh. Maybe it’s time.

Andy has been a library page, dairy sci­ence pro­gram­mer, teacher, tech­ni­cal writer, and health­care soft­ware devel­op­er. He’s schooled in com­put­er sci­ence, phi­los­o­phy, and library sci­ence, and grew up in a town in Ohio Amish coun­try. He’s a hus­band, father, and non­prof­it web devel­op­er liv­ing in Madi­son, Wis­con­sin. This is his first nov­el.

Contact Andy

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