Staying Grounded in Upheaval

One of the particular pleasures of living in the city is the opportunities it provides for walking. I take advantage of those opportunities throughout the year, and even more so now that summer has truly arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. On average of late, I tend to get in a good five miles or more of walking each day. The more, the better. I walk my errands and my pleasures: grocery shopping, shipping packages at the post office, picking up books at the library, the occasional eating out, a pint and a movie at the second run theater, a visit to the park, or just an evening walk with my fiancee.

I find that walking grounds me. I suppose it does that in a certain literal way as I pass across the city, each footstep a small transfer of energy between myself and the earth (even if it so often is, sadly, intermediated by concrete). But it also places me into a rhythm, a satisfied state of mind, and engages my body in ways healthy not just physically, but mentally as well. Walking often settles me emotionally. And when I don’t read while walking (an occasional habit) it helps me to both clear my mind and to break away from my preoccupation with the troubles of the human world.

It’s too often forgotten that the human world is just one small part of our world. The rest is there around us, though too commonly ignored: our swirling ecosystem made up of so much more than humans and our myriad artifacts. I hear it in the chatter and cries of the crows, in the feel of the breeze, the rustle of trees and plants, the blooming scent of flowers, the pollen-induced sneezes, maddened squirrels, and the well- and not-so-well-tended gardens. It’s far easier to lose track of the nonhuman world here in the city, with its gridded streets and right-angled buildings, and yet it’s still not nearly so dominant as we imagine. There’s a lot of world out there that has little to do with humanity.

This all grounds me. And in a time of increasing chaos and upheaval, that grounding is critical. I’m a person who reads and studies and tracks our various predicaments. I don’t imagine I need to go through the data points to convince those reading this that we live in very troubled times, and that the future tends to look worse, not better, than the present. It’s hard living in such a time, and understanding that our future promises the harsh realities of decline rather than the prosperous upswing of ascent can create a certain grouchiness among society’s participants. I read a lot, track elements of our decline, and worry at times about our future; a deep mental burrowing into such topics creates strain and stress that can build until it manifests into useless, self-defeating, and at times downright destructive behavior.

Staying grounded and, in particular, staying rooted in and conscious of the realities of the non-human world helps even me out, calms me, heartens me, and brings me back to joy and pleasure. It mitigates the strain of decline and places the slow collapse of industrial civilization into perspective. Human civilizations do this, after all, and non-human populations do the same. We live and we die. We ascend and descend. We grow, prosper, contract, and collapse. It all is natural. It all is rooted in the unending ecological cycles of our world.

Walking helps me remember this. Sometimes it does so explicitly, but the vast majority of the time it simply is through the movement of my body, the sight and sounds of the crows and songbirds, a stray squirrel or dog or child, the wind or the sun or the rain, exuberant and sore muscles: the feedback from and asserting of the natural world around me. It grounds me in these times of trouble. It brings me pleasure and satisfaction to mitigate the frustration of seeing the world fragment around me.

I intend to write more about this in the introduction to the upcoming Summer 2017 issue of Into the Ruins, but in the meantime, I want to hear from you readers. What grounds you? In this time of decline, what helps keep you measured and sane and provides you respite from the many troubles bearing down on us (not to mention already arriving)? What puts your mind in order when it risks spiraling off down too-dark paths?

As usual, I’m hoping for some thoughts that are printable as letters to the editor, though I welcome all comments regardless of if you want them considered for publication. You can respond as a comment to this post or directly to me via email. If you don’t want your comments to be considered for publication as a letter to the editor, please say so. And if you email, please include your location in the form of city and state; you can do so in the comments, as well, or I’ll work to get in touch with you for that information if I want to publish your comments in the magazine.

Thanks, all!


And a quick note: For those of you whose subscription ended after the fourth or fifth issues and who have yet to renew, you can always do so and get caught back up or simply be on deck for the upcoming publication of the sixth issue. Don’t miss out! Renew today.

Into the Ruins: Spring 2017 is Now Available!

I’m pleased to announce that the fifth issue of Into the Ruins is ready to ship to subscribers and is now available for purchase! This Spring 2017 issue features five excellent new stories from authors returning and new, as well as letters to the editor, a new “Deindustrial Futures Past” column from John Michael Greer, the return of Justin Patrick Moore reviewing Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140, and the usual “Editor’s Introduction.”

In this fifth issue of Into the Ruins, explorations of our deindustrial future take intriguing turns both dark and delightful. A naive, young government official arrives in an economically devastated midwest and soon finds himself entangled in a disturbing mystery. An expedition gone terribly wrong leads to the discovery of a hidden clan with surprising social arrangements born of disease, cruelty, experimentation, and physical pleasure. A bus ride across the deindustrialized Canadian countryside spurs a happy connection. Two men form an unlikely friendship as they work their way toward flight. And a village mentor discovers unexpected forms of darkness in her friends and neighbors, leading her to question herself and those around her.

These visions—extraordinary at times, rooted in an utterly normal and yet still fascinating world at others—stretch the boundaries of our imagined future. At times mysterious and thrilling, this is a new type of science fiction, offering unknown worlds found right here on earth.

Subscribers should be receiving their issues within the next week or so. However, many of you have yet to renew your subscription. Please renew today if you haven’t already! (Or use this direct PayPal link if you’re a U.S. subscriber.) I’ll get the fifth issue shipped off to you ASAP upon renewal and your subscription will continue on into the future, ensuring you never miss an issue. If you aren’t sure or can’t remember if you’ve already renewed or if your subscription has expired, feel free to contact me to confirm.

Okay, with that out of the way, for those who aren’t ready to subscribe but who would like to check out the fifth issue anyway, you can order a copy here to peruse at your pleasure. In addition to ordering directly at the previous link, you can order from Amazon or CreateSpace, or you can purchase a digital edition of the issue at Payhip. For Canadian readers, the issue should be available soon on Amazon’s Canada site. For other international readers, you can go to the issue page for links to international Amazon sites it’s available at (or will be soon) or for a link to order directly from CreateSpace, which ships throughout the world.

As always, I encourage readers to send their thoughts and feedback to me at editor@intotheruins.com, both as casual emails (rambling acceptable!) and as official letters to the editor that I can consider for publication in the sixth issue of Into the Ruins, coming in July. Comments for contributing authors will be happily forwarded on.

Lastly, I want to once again provide a huge thanks to John Michael Greer for his myriad forms of support; Shane Wilson, who continues to prove a steady and invaluable Assistant Editor, providing feedback and catching mistakes I otherwise miss; Justin Patrick Moore, for returning to contribute a great new review to this issue; my amazing partner, Kate O’Neill, who is ever patient, ever loving, and brings me happiness every single day; to those who wrote letters to the editor and who have helped diversify the views available in the magazine; W. Jack Savage, for again providing such a beautiful cover, and for working with me unendingly; and of course to all the fantastic authors published herein, whose imaginative works form the backbone of this publication and, ultimately, are the reason it exists. And finally, to everyone who has subscribed (or who still is yet to subscribe), thank you for supporting this project and helping to make it happen.

Now go read the issue and enjoy some fantastic deindustrial and post-peak science fiction!

— Joel Caris, Editor & Publisher

What Do You Hope For?

As we slip into May, this year passing so fast, I can’t help but wonder at how quickly the world seems to change. Here in America, such a sense is at least somewhat inevitable with a new and discontinuous administration driving our national and foreign policy in new directions. But even setting aside the political disruptions experienced of late, it still feels as though the tipping points are arriving faster and faster. As decline accelerates and continues to push the United States and a number of other nations and regions into the early stages of collapse, I can’t help but believe the world is going to be dramatically and irreversibly changed in the coming decades, with a good number of incredible challenges staring us in the face.

It’s a sobering reality, but it’s also an opportunity to stop and reflect on what hopes we hold for the future. I know that can feel like an odd statement to make at a time that feels quite dark. However, in the times like these that challenge us, hope strikes me as more critical than ever. There is little question that we face a harsh future; yet such an impending reality demands from us an honest hope to make the world better than it otherwise might be through hard work, perseverance, an honest appraisal of where we are heading. John Michael Greer once wrote that hope “is the quality of character and the act of will that finds some good that can be achieved, no matter what the circumstances, and then strives to achieve it.” There is little question to my mind that now is a time for such efforts.

With that in mind, I turn to you good readers with a simple question: What do you hope for? Given the state of decline and the harsh futures facing us, what is it that you hope to do or see to make the future better than it might otherwise be. Much like the stories in Into the Ruins, I ask that the hard realities facing us not be dismissed or glossed over: please don’t write that you hope for an easy solution, or for something to happen to allow us to continue to live our lives as we have been, skating by the consequences of our idiotic and destructive decisions. No, given the realities of climate change, economic and political dysfunction, war, poverty, environmental destruction, and all the other troubles facing us, what do you hope for? It can be something at the personal or societal level, local or global, rooted in physical action, mental contemplation, spiritual practice, or something else.

My favorite responses I plan to publish as letters to the editor in the upcoming fifth issue of Into the Ruins. You can provide your thoughts either by commenting on this blog post or by emailing me directly at editor@intotheruins.com. If for any reason you do not want your thoughts to be considered for publication as a letter to the editor, please make a note of it in your comment.

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Into the Ruins: Winter 2017 is Now Available!

I’m pleased to announce that the fourth issue of Into the Ruins is shipping to subscribers and is now available for purchase! This Winter 2017 issue features five excellent new stories, including the tale of an abandoned and dilapidated old church in the woods with a lively history of religion and scandal; a story of communication and friendship between species; the search for a particular treasure in the flooded remains of a great American city; a Cardinal’s fascinating letter about surprise visitors from the sea; and a near future tale of social unrest that plays off the uncertain political mood of the day. Also included is a new “Deindustrial Futures Past” column from John Michael Greer, reviews of deindustrial science fiction novels, and another thought-provoking letters section, making this an issue not to be missed.

For those of you who have followed my blog on the Figuration Press website, Litterfall, you’re in for what I hope will be a treat: my own story, “An Expected Chill,” completed and ready for your reading pleasure. Also, I’ve heard the calls for the title to be printed on the spine; consider it done!

Subscribers should be receiving their issues within the next week or so—all subscriber orders have been placed as of this weekend. For the vast majority of you subscribers, that means your subscription has come to an end. For those of you who have already renewed their subscription, thank you, thank you, thank you! For those who haven’t, you can do so right here. I hope you’ll join me for a second year of Into the Ruins, and I hope that you’ll consider doing it soon; it helps me tremendously to know how many subscribers I’m going to have for the fifth issue, which is a big part of how I set my author payment rates. This project has so far been a massive success—I really hope that continues to be the case! So please, renew if you haven’t already.

Okay, with that out of the way, for those who aren’t ready to subscribe but who would like to check out the fourth issue anyway, you can order a copy here to peruse at your pleasure. In addition to ordering directly at the previous link, you can order from Amazon. For Canadian readers, the issue is available on Amazon’s Canada site. For other international readers, you can go to the issue page for links to international Amazon sites it’s available at or for a link to order directly from CreateSpace, which ships throughout the world. Finally, a digital version will be available soon through Payhip for $7.50. I’ll make an announcement when that’s available.

As always, I encourage readers to send their thoughts and feedback to me at editor@intotheruins.com, both as casual emails (rambling acceptable!) and as official letters to the editor that I can consider for publication in the fifth issue of Into the Ruins, coming in May. Comments for contributing authors will be happily forwarded on—and I’ll note that I would love to hear direct feedback on my own story from anyone who’s inclined to provide it.

Lastly, I want to once again provide a huge thanks to John Michael Greer for his myriad forms of support; Shane Wilson, who continues to prove a steady and invaluable Associate Editor, providing feedback and catching mistakes I otherwise miss; Jason Heppenstall, for contributing a book review to this issue; my amazing partner, Kate O’Neill, who is ever patient, ever loving, and brings me happiness every single day; to those who wrote letters to the editor and who have helped diversify the views available in the magazine; W. Jack Savage, for again providing such a beautiful cover, and for working with me unendingly (and unendingly, and unendingly); and of course to all the fantastic authors published herein, whose imaginative works form the backbone of this publication and, ultimately, are the reason it exists. And finally, to everyone who has subscribed or purchased issues, thank you for supporting this project and helping to make it happen.

Now go read the issue and enjoy some fantastic deindustrial and post-peak science fiction!

– Joel Caris, Editor & Publisher

Resolution and Mitigation: Responses to the Future

I always enjoy the transition from one year to the next as I settle satisfied into the heady early days of January, the new year spread out in front of me full of possibility and promise. I take time to reflect, I read quite a bit, I often conduct some newly-inspired journaling, and I try to imagine where I want to nudge and steer my life over the next twelve months. I most often avoid predictions, but I’m a sucker for resolutions. Sometimes they’re specific and sometimes more general—often a mix of both—and I try to make both internal and external goals, shaping the way I hope to impact and alter myself on an internal level as well as how I hope to interact and impact the world at large.

This year has been no different (though perhaps the process is taking longer than usual) and it’s likely that I will write about some of these goals either in the fourth issue of Into the Ruins or in an upcoming Litterfall blog post—or both. In the meantime, though, I want to turn to you, dear readers, and ask for your insights. Yes, that’s right, it’s time again for me to prompt you all for some new letters to the editor. My last effort at this proved quite fruitful and, to my mind, led to a fascinating letters section in the third issue. I hope to duplicate that success here. Now, before we get the question at hand, I want to note that I always encourage letters focused on feedback on the previously-published issues, as well as musings and considerations brought to mind by the stories and editorial content contained within. I also encourage recommendations of good deindustrial science fiction. But to get the conversation moving here in the new year, I also want to introduce a specific subject appropriate to the moment. Therefore, I want to know what your new year’s resolutions (or just general intentions) are to mitigate the impact of decline and consequence in 2017.

Most all of you reading this should understand by now the philosophy behind Into the Ruins, and I think most all of us who are willing to can see the (not always) slow unraveling of industrial civilization and the American empire taking place around us: the continuing climate chaos and record-breaking high temperatures in the arctic, the shifting and destabilizing political scene both in the United States and abroad, fast-changing geopolitical alignments, continuing economic countercurrents that suggest a very troubled near future, the ongoing worldwide collapse of ecological stability, ever-increasing income and wealth inequality, and growing cultural divides cleaving to much of our population into increasingly bitter and brittle alcoves of mutual resentment.

There are, of course, no easy solutions for these troubles. In many cases, there are no solutions at all. But there are a range of actions we can take at the individual and collective levels to help mitigate the pain, suffering, and destruction that so consistently rises out of these sort of civilizational cycles—and which may help create a somewhat brighter future on both the near and far side of our civilization’s collapse: years, decades, and centuries from now. With that reality in mind, I’m putting out a request for a conversation here about what you are planning to do in the new year to help mitigate the decline taking place around us.

Responses to the troubles of our time may be personal or political, within yourself or projected out in the world. It may be a new way of living lightly, or an attempt to strengthen your community and create new connections. It could be the starting of new organizations or institutions, work toward political or economic change, rebellion against the system or soft nudgings of it in better directions. It may be new connections: to other humans, to non-humans, plants or animals, the natural world, the ecological cycles that swirl all around us. It may be study, meditation, personal explorations. It may be new limits, fewer screens, more thrift, less energy and resources. It may be denying yourself something and observing the internal impacts of that decision. Maybe it’s learning a new skill, finding a way to make a part of your living outside the money economy, or reducing your dependence on the industrial economy. Or one of a thousand other decisions, all of which have the potential to make the world a slightly better place and the future a bit less harsh.

Ready to join the conversation? There are two ways you can make your voice heard. The first option is to email it to me directly at editor@intotheruins.com. The second option is to post it as a comment on this blog post. However, if your comment is meant for consideration as a published letter in Into the Ruins, please note that at the beginning. Otherwise, everyone is also welcome to post a comment of general discussion, not meant for the letters section.

While this is likely less fraught a subject than the previous political one, I want to note as always to keep your comments kind and considerate. You’re welcome and encouraged to be controversial and challenge the conventional wisdom of our time—just do it with respect and keep it free of undue personal attacks. As before, comments will be moderated, so be patient if yours doesn’t show up immediately. It shouldn’t take long, and should always be up within a day (and generally much sooner) so long as it doesn’t violate the above considerations and doesn’t contain profanity or insults.


On another note, I want to announce a few specials going on right now in the Figuration Press Store. Through the end of January, I’m offering free domestic shipping on all issues of Into the Ruins. In addition, I’m offering Introductory Packages available to new readers or old readers who want to introduce someone to the magazine. Aside from the free shipping (i.e. any issue of the magazine sent anywhere in the U.S. for $12) I’m also offering two other options of either the first and second issues sent anywhere in the U.S. for just $23 or the first three issues sent anywhere for just $33, with free shipping on both options. This is a great way to discover a good number of great stories yourself if you don’t already have all three issues, or to share them as a gift with a friend, family member, or random stranger on the street. You’ll find all options available at the store. You may also contact me directly if you’d like to mail in your payment instead of using PayPal.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Digital and Print Editions of Into the Ruins: Fall 2016 Now Available!

into-the-ruins-fall-2016-coverI’m pleased to announce that the third issue of Into the Ruins has shipped to subscribers and is now available for purchase in both print and digital formats! This Fall 2016 issue features a ton of great content, with a fantastic new story from Jason Heppenstall in which a mysterious old man cultivates a garden on the dusty outskirts of a desert town, Catherine McGuire exploring one woman’s fight against cruelty and exploitation, a tale from Matthew Griffiths set in the world of John Michael Greer’s Star’s Reach, a meditative snapshot of our post-oil future from Ian O’Reilly, and a lovely new tale from Rachel White that captures the mythic dimensions of our future. Not to mention, a new “Deindustrial Futures Past” column from John Michael Greer, Justin Patrick Moore’s survey of characters from James Howard Kunstler’s World Made By Hand series, a new Editor’s Introduction, and a thought-provoking, rollicking, filled-to-the-brim letters section. All of this comes as a 108 page, 7″ x 10″ paperback with another beautiful cover by W. Jack Savage, or as a high quality digital PDF edition.

Subscribers should have received their issues by now and those who aren’t ready to subscribe but who would like to check out the first issue anyway are encouraged to order a copy to peruse at their pleasure. Direct purchases from Figuration Press are available at that link. In addition, you can order directly from Amazon. For Canadian readers, the issue is available on Amazon’s Canada site. For other international readers, you can go to the issue page for links to international Amazon sites it’s available at or for a link to order directly from CreateSpace, which ships throughout the world. Finally, a digital version is now available through Payhip for $7.50.

As always, I encourage readers to send their thoughts and feedback to me at editor@intotheruins.com, both as casual emails (rambling acceptable!) and as official letters to the editor that I can consider for publication in the fourth issue of Into the Ruins, coming in late January. Comments for contributing authors will be happily forwarded on. All are welcome to comment on this post, as well, with thoughts and feedback.

Lastly, I want to once again provide a huge thanks to John Michael Greer for his myriad forms of support; Shane Wilson, who continues to prove a steady and invaluable Assistant Editor, providing feedback and catching mistakes I otherwise miss; Justin Patrick Moore, for going above and beyond in this issue; my amazing partner Kate O’Neill, who continues to put up with my tendency to overbook myself, showing enduring patience and care; to those who wrote letters to the editor and who have helped diversify the views available in the magazine; W. Jack Savage, for again providing such a beautiful cover, and for working with me unendingly; and of course to all the fantastic authors published herein, whose imaginative works form the backbone of this publication and, ultimately, are the reason it exists. And finally, to everyone who has subscribed (or who still is yet to subscribe), thank you for supporting this project and helping to make it happen.

Now go read the issue and enjoy some fantastic deindustrial and post-peak science fiction!

– Joel Caris, Editor & Publisher

Mentioning the Unmentionable

It’s raining outside as I type this, and after a stretch of very hot days here in the Northwest, a series of cool days have asserted themselves as if to provide notice that Fall is on the way. And it is; in just three weeks, the Fall Equinox will have arrived. The leaves are beginning to change color here and I notice more and more that plants—perhaps even people—are starting to look and feel a bit more ragged, as though worn out by the steady drumbeat of summer.

Myself, I’ve been canning the last few weeks. Tomato sauce and a variety of jams: nectarine lime, spiced nectarine, pear ginger. I just wrapped up a last few jars, taking care of four remaining nectarines that were puckering on my counter top. I didn’t bother with the water bath; those will simply go into the freezer and we’ll pull them out soon enough to smear on whatever appears handy. We’ve been eating a lot of toast here the last week or so, working on cleaning up all the half jars of jam scrapings inevitably left over once the batch has gone in the canner. I would have to say it’s one of my more favored clean up jobs.

Aside from the canning, I’ve been writing more of late. Not yet as much as I would like to be, but for those of you who haven’t yet noticed, I started a new blog on the Figuration Press website called Litterfall. My intent is for it to be a place for honest conversations about the tough future we face, with musings on peak oil, industrial decline, climate change, ecological degradation, and all the other forms of chaos we’re doing such a bang up job of creating for ourselves. However, while I have no intention of looking away from those consequences, I also plan to write with a very definite focus on some of the positive changes we still can make and the useful responses available to us as our various collective predicaments continue to play out. My introduction attempted to lay out the general ideas behind the blog and my intentions in writing it and, since then, I’ve written about the first two of three key realities I believe promise the United States a continuing era of decline.

I’m updating the blog with a new post every week on Monday nights. In the coming weeks and months, I plan to write about a variety of important subjects: the current, exhausted state of America; redefinitions of some key terms and assumptions bouncing around in our collective discourse; the concept that less can actually mean more; the relief of letting go; and the elegance of simplicity, along with quite a few other topics. We will be talking about hope, too, and about ways to redefine and reorient our expectations of the world. As noted, I want Litterfall to be a place of honest hope, in which we can converse about positive ways forward without deluding ourselves about the challenges ahead. I think that can be a tough line to walk at times and I know that I too often fail at that balance. I intend to strive mightily to get it right with this blog, and I hope that a good number of you will join me, join the conversation, and help me with the process. A good blog feeds and builds on its readers’ thoughts and feedback, so please join in.

Of course, the new blog is not all that’s happening in the world of Into the Ruins and Figuration Press. I also am in the early stages of getting together the third issue, which is (hopefully) coming fast. As such, I want to once again put out a call for letters to the editor for this new issue, but with an extra prod for you all: a question to get the conversation started. As always, I encourage feedback on the previously-published issues, as well as musings and considerations brought to mind by the stories and editorial content contained within. I also encourage recommendations of good deindustrial science fiction. But I also would like to spur a bit of conversation and, being that the Presidential campaign is in full swing, I thought I might regale you all with a question concerning politics.

For sanity’s sake, though, there is one key ground rule for this conversation: please do your best not to mention or advocate for any of our current Presidential candidates. I realize that may seem odd and censorial, but I am far more interested in a discussion about issues than I am in a discussion about candidates—and I’m far more interested in a discussion that isn’t weighted down by the intensely emotional baggage of our current election. From what I’ve seen, it does not inspire much in the way of lively but grounded discussion about the myriad issues before us, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping for from this question. Specifically, I’m interested in a lively but respectful discussion about the myriad unmentionable issues troubling us as a nation.

And therein lies your question: What unmentionable and ignored issues would you like to see an American presidential candidate center their campaign upon? I’ll start off with a very easy example to help get the wheels turning. I would like to see a candidate for President run their campaign on the simple fact that we cannot continue to run our economy upon a paradigm of growth, and to speak about and advocate for a series of policies and changes that begin the process of reorienting ourselves toward a steady-state economy. That’s the sort of straightforward but unmentionable issue facing us that I’m talking about.

I want more of you all than just a sentence like that, though. I want a statement of the issue facing us and then one or more ways of responding that you would like to see advocated. The focus can be tight and detailed, burrowing into one very specific or smaller issue facing us, or it can be much broader with a series of currently-unspeakable principles enumerated. It can be more policy-oriented or more principle-oriented, so long as there is a depth and clarity to the principle rather than a series of vague, feel-good statements. Finally, please focus on issues or principles that are not being spoken about currently on the national stage. If they intertwine or touch on issues being spoken about, that’s fine, but the most important issues facing us are, so far as I’m concerned, largely being ignored in our current national political discussion. It’s those ignored issues that I’m most interested in bringing to light. Therefore, the more off the beaten path you are, the more likely I am to consider your letter for publication.

There are two ways you can make your voice heard. The first option is to email it to me directly at editor@intotheruins.com. The second option is to post it as a comment on this blog post. However, if your comment is meant for consideration as a published letter in Into the Ruins, please note that at the beginning. Otherwise, everyone is also welcome to post a comment of general discussion, not meant for the letters section.

Oh, and one last rule: you may write about controversial subjects (that’s in many ways the point) but I have no interest in putting through bigoted comments, even of groups that it’s currently okay to speak bigoted comments about in polite company. Therefore, no sweeping generalizations or rants about certain ethnicities, races, cultures, sexual orientations, genders, religions (including Christianity), etc. But also none about rural people, certain regions of the country, members of any particular political party, etc. You’re welcome to be controversial, but keep it kind and considerate and, most of all, focused on issues and policies. Note also that comments here are moderated, so be patient once you put yours through and I’ll get it published so long as it doesn’t violate the aforementioned rules, or otherwise is inappropriate or too off-topic.

Here’s hoping for a good conversation! (And don’t forget to join that other conversation over at Litterfall!)

The Summer 2016 Issue of Into the Ruins is Here!

Into the Ruins Cover Issue 2 - Cover Only-page001

I’m quite happy to announce that Into the Ruins was not just a one-off accomplishment; in fact, the second issue is finished and ready for your reading pleasure. This Summer 2016 issue features a ton of great content, with five new and fantastic short stories from Jay Cummings, Chloe Woods, Bart Hillyer, Lawrence Buentello, and the returning G.Kay Bishop. From a distant civilization that cycles through the same ebb and flow of peace and warfare we find littered throughout human history, to a melancholic meditation on our fast-changing world set in 2020 that feels eerily familiar to today; from a love story set in a less energy-intensive time, to a haunting encampment at the edge of dry and dusty ruins; and on again to an adventurous and amusing attempt to deliver a key new manuscript on the herbal treatment of spinal meningitis to a distant library, these stories inspire a wide range of emotions, from meditative reflection on the predicament of our times to delight at unexpected adventure.

In addition, this issue features the debut of “Deindustrial Futures Past,” a new column from John Michael Greer which will be a recurring feature in future issues. In “Deindustrial Futures Past,” Greer will be exploring a variety of deindustrial SF works from the past, and he focuses on Edgar Pangborn for the first go. Justin Patrick Moore returns with a new review, as well, taking a look at Joëlle Anthony’s Restoring Harmony. A new Editor’s Introduction, a variety of letters to the editor, and a very short story excerpt from me round out the issue. All of this comes as a 112 page, 7″ x 10″ paperback with another beautiful cover by W. Jack Savage.

Subscribers should be receiving their issues shortly and those who aren’t ready to subscribe but who would like to check out the first issue anyway are encouraged to order a copy to peruse at their pleasure. Direct purchases from Figuration Press for shipment next week are available at that link, (though order soon for immediate shipment, as I won’t be able to mail issues from August 5th – August 15th). In addition, you can order directly from Amazon. For international readers, you can go to the issue page for links to international Amazon sites it’s available at or for a link to order directly from CreateSpace, which ships throughout the world. Finally, a digital version is also available through Payhip for $7.50 (or more, if you care to increase your support).

As always, I encourage readers to send their thoughts and feedback to me at editor@intotheruins.com, both as casual emails (rambling acceptable!) and as official letters to the editor that I can consider for publication in the third issue of Into the Ruins, coming before too long. Comments for contributing authors will be happily forwarded on.

Lastly, I want to again provide a huge thanks to John Michael Greer for his myriad forms of support; Shane Wilson, who proved a steady and invaluable Assistant Editor, catching mistakes I otherwise missed; Justin Patrick Moore, for another great book review; my amazing partner Kate O’Neill, who continues to put up with me devoting so much attention to this project; to those who wrote letters to the editor and who have helped diversify the views available in the magazine; W. Jack Savage, for again providing such a beautiful cover, and for being patient with me; and of course to all the fantastic authors published herein, whose imaginative works form the backbone of this publication and, ultimately, are the reason it exists. And finally, to everyone who has subscribed (or who still is yet to subscribe), thank you for supporting this project and helping to make it happen.

Now go read the issue and enjoy some fantastic deindustrial and post-peak science fiction!

Into the Ruins - Issue 2 - TOC

A Summer of Stories

I missed an appropriate recognition in the pages of this blog, but we have now transitioned into summer. The season has tracked well with my own personal transition, from a rural life on the Oregon coast to an urban life in Portland, Oregon. A relationship and its resultant joy brought me here. Couple that with a May road trip—complete with camping and Redwoods—and life has been busy to say the least. I may have more to say about all that in a future post, perhaps here or perhaps over at Of The Hands.

Still, with the passing into a new season, the next issue of Into the Ruins is now beckoning me. It’s time to get cracking. I have a number of stories already lined up, though the full slate has yet to be settled on. Editorial ideas are knocking around in my head and I may dip my editorial toe into a bit of fiction for you readers—though no hard promises. It depends if the proper inspiration strikes twice. It already has struck once, but that story appears to be spiraling out into something more akin to a novella or full on novel. Perhaps you’ll read it some day.

One element of the second issue that could use some filling out is the trusty Letters to the Editor section. I have only a few musings currently to be published and would like something far more robust. And so I put out a request: if you have read the first issue, and have thoughts or commentary on any part of it, please send it on. You can find instructions at the above link, but it’s pretty straightforward. Email me your comments and I’ll be choosing a selection of the best to include in the Letters section of Issue #2. Don’t have commentary on specific elements of the journal, but on the theme in general? Send those as well. Perhaps you want to comment on the happenings of the day, the election barreling toward us, Brexit, the follies of industrialism, or other cheery subjects directly related to the cascading consequences of our increasingly dumb ways of living. All thoughts are welcome, and conversation encouraged.

Finally, two last notes. First of all, for those interested, Frank Kaminski published an excellent review of the first issue of Into the Ruins on his site, Mud City Press, and at Resilience.org. Please check it out and I certainly wouldn’t mind if you shared it far and wide. In a similar vein, please keep spreading the word about this project and encouraging others to pick up a copy of the issue or subscribe for themselves. The response to Issue #1 has been fantastic, and I would love to keep the momentum going. Lastly, if you’re inclined to write reviews, consider doing so for the first issue where you might prefer: at Goodreads, at Amazon or its international sites, at Powell’s, at Barnes & Noble, or anywhere else you so desire. Best of all, via good old word of mouth. This is very much a project whose success is dependent upon friends telling friends and all of you spreading the word. I ask you the favor of continuing to do this.

And lastly? Comment below. Let me know what you thought. I’ve had so much fun bringing this project into the world; I hope you’ve had a fraction of the same amount of fun reading it.

Thanks, everyone, and stay tuned for Issue #2.

Into the Ruins is Now Available Digitally!

I’m pleased to announce that the first issue of Into the Ruins is now available as a high quality PDF download for those who are interested in having it in electronic format, either out of personal preference or due to challenges receiving it outside of the U.S. You will find this version to be nearly identical to the print copy, except existing in the digital ether rather than on paper, not containing the final blank page, and having two very tiny text alterations in it. (They’re a surprise!)

The issue is available via Payhip for $7 (or more, should you choose a higher level of support). Please spread the word far and wide so that all the digital mavens out there know they can finally get the latest in deindustrial science fiction via the digital tubes. After all, we must slake our thirst for irony.

Enjoy!