Nebula Award Winner
Hugo Award Nominee
Burn is James Patrick Kelly at his best, and there’s nothing better.”
—Connie Willis, author of Doomsday Book
The tiny planet Morobe's Pea has been sold and renamed Walden. The new owner has some interesting ideas. Voluntary simplicity will rule in the Transcendent State; Walden is destined to become a paradise covered in lush new forests.
But even believers find temptations in the black markets; non-believers are willing to defend their ideals with fire. Walden's only hope may lie with a third option: a very unlikely alien intervention.
In Burn, James Patrick Kelly (Think Like a Dinosaur) delivers an innovative, entertaining, and morally-complex vision of the perils of idealism.
Hugo-winner Kelly (Think like a Dinosaur) mixes hard-edged extrapolation with messy human issues in this thought-provoking SF novel. The inhabitants of Transcendent State, a colony of "true humans," have rejected advanced technology for lives of voluntary simplicity on a world renamed Walden. They are threatened by the pukpuk, survivors of a previous settlement who seek to stop plans to cover the planet with healthy, dense forest by setting fires in the wilderness. Now even Walden's citizens are beginning to question their charter's tenets of simplicity, secretly trading produce and handmade goods for pukpuk tech through a thriving black market. The spark that will ignite Walden's final conflict comes from one of its own, firefighter Prosper "Spur" Leung, when he unwittingly contacts the High Gregory of Kenning, ruler of a distant world. "I make luck," the High Gregory says, turning Spur's commitment to Walden's (and Thoreau's) philosophy of self-reliance and the primacy of nature upside down. Kelly's many-layered story pivots on a set of paradoxes, asking questions about the difference between innocence and willful ignorance, responsibility and balance, and the true essence of nature.