UPSURGE is a blend of contemporary dramatic realism, psychological fantasy, politics, and science fiction narrated by its three principal characters: Tyler Fox, a visionary scientist, his wife Gwen, a pregnant former actress and school teacher, and their teenaged daughter, Leanna. Ty’s obsession with a round-the-world trip to test a new device that turns out to be capable of far more than earthquake prediction collides with Leanna’s with what she perceives as the world’s deteriorating condition due to the ravages of poverty and hunger. Frustrated by a sense that her parents don’t share her concerns, Leanna runs away, but as her parents are ready to turn the world upside down to get her back, she finds herself swallowed up in a stunning parallel reality from which she fears she may never escape.
Praise for UPSURGE
“John Teton’s new novel, UPSURGE—which continues the terrifying, yet hopeful, saga begun in his first book, APPEARING LIVE AT THE FINAL TEST—is both a wholly original science fiction drama of unparalleled vision and a blueprint for creating a better and more humane future for the generations to come.”
Lucille Lang Day
Author, INFINITIES: POEMS and WILD ONE: POEMS
“UPSURGE is a great, evocative, thought-provoking book...an engaging and personal drama that takes us on a voyage of inner discovery of moral and scientific transformation”
Tyler Volk, Associate Professor of Biology, New York University
Author, GAIA’S BODY: TOWARD A PHYSIOLOGY OF EARTH and METAPATTERNS
“UPSURGE, like its predecessor, APPEARING LIVE AT THE FINAL TEST, proves again that literary realism can hold its own when interwoven with fantasy elements, even those as wild and original as those in these books. Teton’s characters and their emotional complexities are so firmly established early on that by the time readers are transported to his dizzying alternate realities, we’re hooked for the duration. With their different times and settings, a read of either novel alone is wholly rewarding, yet the subtle interconnections revealed by completing the set adds a dimension of awe to each.”
Debo Kotun, Producer, Pacifica Radio Network
“A rare treat…John Teton brings to life a family in crisis—a father on the verge of an earth-shattering scientific discovery, a mother approaching childbirth, and a teenage daughter who runs away when she becomes overwhelmed with despair about poverty and hunger—a theme that runs throughout the book. UPSURGE brings real family dynamics and real politics together in great science fiction.”
Eric R. A. N. Smith, Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
Author, ENERGY, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND PUBLIC OPINION
“An artful blend of well crafted science fiction, revealing social criticism, and a thoroughly engaging love story, John Teton’s UPSURGE will strike an immediate chord with anyone who has experienced outrage at the persistence of hunger in the midst of potential abundance…At once a sci-fi fantasy and a thoroughly engrossing love story of family relationships, this book …raises fundamental questions about the fate of humanity and entertains at the same time. Bravo!”
Janet Poppendieck, Professor of Sociology, Hunter College, City College of New York
Author, SWEET CHARITY? EMERGENCY FOOD AND THE END OF ENTITLEMENT
UPSURGE and APPEARING LIVE AT THE FINAL TEST
John Teton’s 2003 novel Appearing Live at The Final Test is about a black newsstand operator and three friends in a Brooklyn-like neighborhood whose lives together take a cosmic punch from a nuclear bomb threat. The tale of these four—Msongo, a middle-aged black newsstand vendor who narrates the story; two potential younger lovers, Nopali, an airline stewardess and aspiring singer and Lyon, a marine radio mechanic; and Nopali’s troubled 18-year-old friend Arielle—is set in a different time and place and appears on the surface to be completely separate from Upsurge. However, the two books are actually integrated in an important way which cannot be fully perceived without reading both in their entirety, regardless of the order in which they’re read. Thus, while each story stands complete on its own, reading the set reveals the larger work underlying them.
American filmmaker and author John Teton, a graduate of Harvard and the San Francisco Art Institute, first studied filmmaking with Martin Scorsese at New York University. In addition to Upsurge, his works include the 2016 animated short film Thunder Head Clearing, the international award-winning animated short B’raesheet, the novels Elevation: The Cave Logs of New Hale, Tibet and Appearing Live at The Final Test, the cosmology live film presentation Visions at T Minus Zero, and the Yale Journal of International Affairs article, The Armless Hand, about the International Food Security Treaty, a human rights campaign he founded and directs which originated in the notes for Upsurge. He and his wife Jennifer are the parents of three and live in Oregon.
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