Dear Reader,

Terranova is a science fiction adventure that's also a novel of ideas. The first volume of a prospective trilogy, The Black Petaltail delves into issues of religion and metaphysics, yet always aims to entertain. The landscapes and societies of the alien planet are informed by my twenty years of experience as a professional geographer and historian, as is the techno-environmentalist depiction for our future world. I hope you enjoy the book and I welcome your response.

Martin W. Lewis

Senior Lecturer
Stanford University

Terranova. Book I: The Black Petaltail

Book website

Having experienced a series of scientific and technological breakthroughs, Earth in the 2030s is finally coming to grips with its environmental crisis. Nowhere is the new techno-environmental sensibility more pronounced than Northern California, where the bland suburban expanse of Silicon Valley has been transformed into a densely populated, pedestrian-oriented city flanked by a radically restored wilderness. But are the denizens of this sophisticated society ready for the metaphysical shock generated by the discovery of another world, one similar to pre-industrial Earth yet in odd ways more highly advanced? How will they contend with a planet whose inhabitants they can reach out across time-space to see and hear, but who remain unaware of their existence?

On Terranova, a two-thousand year period of political and social stability has recently come to an end due to the schemes of the shadowy Emperor of the Kulgsh. Aiming for global domination, the dying monarch has unraveled the carefully constructed Novan world system, unleashing bloodshed such as had not been seen for centuries. Kulgsh warriors, some aiming to restore peace, others hoping to finish the Imperial crusade, compete for the soon-to-be-vacant crown through intricate games of ritualized war. Meanwhile, three young women of the mercantile Telaran society, accompanied by a novice Shunelian monk, fight for survival as they travel to the continent of the Kulgsh, exploring their cultural differences while grappling with their own peoples' responses to the Kulgsh invasion.

On Earth, professor Shanna Malone faces her own personal and professional quandaries. Haunted by extraterrestrial dreams, she struggles to learn what is happening on the distant planet while grappling with her new social milieu. The study of Terranova returns Shanna to the company of her one-time lover, Malcolm Harris, along with his appalling but appealing boss, Bowman Alexander (Xander), head of General Imaging and Gaming (GImG). Shanna is dismayed by the secretive corporation, but fascinated by its cult-like structure. As Shanna, Malcolm, Xander, and the other members of Xander's unusual family begin to uncover the secrets of Terranova, they must confront a series of thorny moral dilemmas.

A science fiction adventure with elements of romance, Terranova is equally a metaphysical novel. Its overriding question is: What would it mean for our conception of the cosmos if we were to find another planet much like Earth? Along the way, the reader is taken on excursions into world history, novel social systems, the psychology of game playing, and the quirky communities of the northern California coast.

Imagination and fiction make up more than three-quarters of our real lives.
Simone Weil