Tacoma native Eric Barnes will talk about his new novel, Above the Ether, a prequel to last year's acclaimed cli-fi novel The City Where We Once Lived. While every night the news alternates images of tsunami destruction with baseball scores, six sets of characters move through a landscape and a country just beginning to show the signs of cataclysmic change. The characters converge on a city where the forces of change have already broken—a city half abandoned, with one part left to be scavenged as the levee system protecting it slowly fails—until, in their vehicles on the highway that runs through it, they witness the approach of what looks to be just one more violent storm.
Eric Barnes is the author of three previous novels, The City Where We Once Lived, Shimmer and Something Pretty, Something Beautiful. He has published more than forty short stories in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, The Literary Review, Best American Mystery Stories, and other publications. By day, he is publisher of newspapers in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga that cover business, politics, the arts, and more. On Fridays, he hosts a news talk show on his local PBS station. In the past, he was a reporter and editor in Connecticut and New York. Years ago he drove a forklift in Tacoma, Washington, and then Kenai, Alaska, worked construction on Puget Sound, and, many years ago, he graduated from the MFA writing program at Columbia University. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.