"This stunning novel of a time all too easily imaginable as our own highlights a few of the keen-voiced, brave-souled women and men who balance like subversive acrobats on society's whirling edges ... Read it to burn with the joy of realistic hope." —Nisi Shawl
Acclaimed short story writer and editor of the World Fantasy Award-nominee Three Messages and a Warning eerily envisions an American society unraveling and our borders closed off—from the other side—in this haunting and provocative novel that combines Max Barry's Jennifer Government, Philip K. Dick's classic Man in the High Castle, and China Mieville's The City & the City.
The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as "the Tropic of Kansas." Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it's out there--that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest. Two travelers appear in this arid American wilderness: Sig, the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, and his foster sister Tania, a government investigator whose search for Sig leads her into her own past--and towards an unexpected future.
Sig promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans. But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones, where one wrong move can mean capture ... or death. One step behind, undercover in the underground, is Tania. Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change—if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect.
As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light.
"Futurist as provocateur! The world is sheer bat-shit genius...a truly hallucinatorily envisioned environment." —William Gibson, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author
"Tropic of Kansas is the tale of a politically desperate USA haunted by a sullen, feral teen who is Huck Finn, Conan and Tarzan. Because it's Chris Brown's own imaginary America, this extraordinary novel is probably more American than America itself will ever get." —Bruce Sterling, award winning author of Islands in the Net and Pirate Utopia
"Tropic of Kansas is savvy political thriller meets ripping pulp adventure—a marriage made in page-turning, thought-provoking heaven. It's a vision both frighteningly prescient and already too real, and a story of valiant heart and brain up against the worst architectures of greed and power." —Jessica Reisman, SESFA award-winning author of Substrate Phantoms
"[A] real page turner." —Gavin J. Grant, Bram Stoker Award-winning editor and author
"A unique blend of Philip K. Dick, Kafka (just a smidgen), and a whole lot of Christopher Brown. Adventure novel meets political satire and the finest elements of realistic sci-fi, and it's so well written it goes down like a greased eel. It's hopeful dystopia. What a book." —Joe R. Lansdale, author of the Hap and Leonard series
"The great American novel about the end of America. This book is marvelously propulsive, big hearted, and whip smart." —Kelly Link, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of Get in Trouble
"Timely, dark, and ultimately hopeful: it might not 'make America great again, ' but then again, it just might." —Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling and award winning author of Homeland
Christopher Brown is a writer and lawyer whose shorter work—stories, nonfiction, and criticism—has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies. He was a 2013 World Fantasy Award nominee for the anthology he co-edited, Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic. He's taken two companies public, restored a small prairie, worked on two Supreme Court confirmations, rehabilitated a brownfield, reported from Central American war zones, washed airplanes, co-hosted a punk rock radio show, built an eco-bunker, worked day labor, negotiated hundreds of technology deals, protected government whistleblowers, investigated fraud, raised venture capital, explored a lot of secret woodlands, raised an amazing kid, and trained a few good dogs.
He lives in Austin with his family, in the edgeland woods between the river and the factories, where he works in a 1978 Airstream trailer.