The Ido Chronicles - First volume available
Plenum : The First Book of Deo - A Coming-of-Age Space Opera
Volume 1, Book 1 of The Ido Chronicles - A Science Fiction Far Future Saga
Published by Untimely Books, Boulder, Colorado
N.B. Ordering information will be available shortly, including access to pre-ordering.
About the book : Vanu is a novice in the Kinship of the Suffering God, a religious community whose mandate is to seed new stars within a stellar nursery. Vanu feels confused about the neutral gender zhe has been assigned, and is also conflicted in hir relationships, especially with hir own sibs. An encounter with an exotic outsider stirs up a storm of conflicts within the usually quiet community. Vanu discovers that the authoritarian culture of the Kinship has deeply troubling flaws. In protest, zhe and hir sibs are drawn towards a dramatic resolution deep within the fires of a star, with consequences that could stretch across the decades and centuries to come. Read Plenum : The First Book of Deo to follow Vanu’s coming-of-age story in this unusual space opera.
Reviews of the book :
A young star gardener embarks on a religious pilgrimage in this debut space opera.
In a distant, seven-gendered future, where time can move fast or slow depending on one’s position, Vanu Francoeur lives where stars are born. Vanu, who uses zhe/hir pronouns, is a Novice member of the Kinship of the Suffering God, a religious community. The Kinship inhabits the Annex, a space station floating in the Plenum Star Nursery. Vanu is right on the cusp of adulthood and, as such, will soon be a full member of the Kinship, though zhe still doesn’t quite understand the nature of God or the complexities of tending to the Star Nursery. Two strange occurrences arise to shake up Vanu’s world. The first is a sexual encounter with a female visitor to the Annex that proves controversial among the other members of Vanu’s community. The second is a dream vision of darkness that excites and awakens hir spiritual self. The two may in fact be related: According to one of Vanu’s superiors, people are more receptive to visions after a sexual encounter. The Kinship’s reaction to Vanu’s relationship causes hir to question if zhe will find what zhe needs in its teachings—like the mystery of the song sung by a space-inhabiting descendant of Old Earth’s whales. In this novel, Edwards not only creates a rich world, but renders it in vivid, lyrical prose as well. Vanu looks at a nebula “as a creature of the deep might stare towards the distant lights of the surface. The pastel ceiling was intercut with dark bands and splashes of varicoloured luminosity, violets, pinks and yellows, shapes that echoed hir inner turmoil, the fires of space frozen in time.” The vocabulary takes some getting used to, though there is a certain logic to much of it (the descendants of whales are known as jonahs), and the author helpfully includes a glossary in the back. This is only the first installment of a 15-volume SF series following five far-future subcultures. While that may seem like an intimidating prospect, Edwards demonstrates an imagination befitting an epic on that scale.
A poetic and wondrous SF tale that grapples with gender and faith.
Other reviews :
Vanu is one of those rare characters who stays with us, pushing up against our waking dreams. Hir exquisite curiosity mobilizes worlds we can’t quite fathom even as we live them. This is the power of Plenum: The First Book of Deo. The first of the The Ido Chronicles’ braided quintet of trilogies, it launches us into a compelling tale that weaves between story and history, troubling the cleave. We enter with abandon, launched into a realm of complex spirituality and sexuality, our worlds alive with the sound of resonant creatures singing life, and we emerge knowing, in the deepest recesses of our collective being, that any life worth living is born of the most unanswerable of questions. Vanu is a conduit for this learning. We can’t help but follow her lead toward modes of existence yet to be invented. I was deeply moved. What an extraordinary book.
Erin Manning is a philosopher and artist. She teaches at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. Recent books include The Minor Gesture and For a Pragmatics of the Useless. 3E is the direction her current research takes - an exploration of the transversality of the three ecologies, the social, the environmental and the conceptual (3ecologies.org).
The author's creation is luminous, strange, and keening. The author is at once warm and wise on the page—fearlessly plunging the reader into re-imagined theologies, ambitious political systems, and new sexual landscapes that verge on the poetic. In the world of this book, gender identity can be understood more like a musical scale. The author guides us with intelligence, scientific rigor, and mystical grace into the first chronicle, where we enter a stream of stories so deep and vast that they span universes and eons. We find ourselves far removed from our own planet and time, yet the struggles Vanu and the other characters endure echo our own.
Heather Fester is a poet, essayist, and author of the forthcoming chapbook Ghosts of Things Unsaid. She teaches creative writing, rhetoric, and composition courses at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Her interests include creative nonfiction, documentary poetics, and alternative discourses.