Written in Dust

Written in Dust is a sci-fi story set against the backdrop of a future Phoenix. In addition to writing this story, I'm creating a collection of concept art which I'm planning to use in various ways. Here's a brief synopsis.

Took this image while doing some research in the Superstition Mountains.

Took this image while doing some research in the Superstition Mountains.

Phoenix, AZ – 2332 AD

After a meteor strikes South America in the fall of 2091, our world is irreversibly changed. The loss of life and damage to that once verdant region is staggering. Yet, it’s the ongoing effects on weather patterns and ecosystems the world over which create an epic challenge to human survival. 

By the year 2236, great sand dunes cover the lower half of Arizona. California, New Mexico, and Texas are also affected by creeping sand drifts. But life in the desert goes on. Phoenix builds the world's first domed superstructure – a metrosphere. The dome rises up and over the city, protecting buildings and citizens from violent storms as well as extreme cold and heat.

Humans outside the metrosphere adapt too. Tucson, covered now in sand, transforms itself into a sophisticated underground city. Many move away from communities such Casa Grande, Chandler, Avondale, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Some citizens fabricate underground living spaces in these areas with the help of state programs. Those who don’t want to live in the wild desert or cannot afford to live in the metrosphere, move north to higher elevations.

As for water, constant dust storms bring lightning and thunder, but little by way of moisture. Phoenix continues to secure water from the Colorado River and aquifers throughout the state. Outside the metrosphere, securing water is another story. Water reclamation facilities dot the landscape, protected by armed guards. Private wells draw up water which is then sold by water brokers. Mobile water carriers travel long distances to purchase large amounts of drinkable water for Phoenix's outlying communities.

By 2332, life in Phoenix is mostly the same as it is now just with a very different landscape. The fast pace of work and industry continues. Scientists, researchers, and tech companies flock to the city to innovate. The desert remains treacherous and still beautiful in its own way.

Phoenix thrives, but it's also surrounded by mystery.

The Mechanoids

During the 22nd century, drone and robotic technologies reach maturity. Soon after, a more advanced robot is created – the mechanoid. These sophisticated artificial beings help humans in three main service areas: labor, fabrication, and defense. In 2308, for reasons which go unexplained, Phoenix sees an unusual influx of mechanoid defense units. Calls for transparency fall on deaf ears. But within months of their arrival in the city, the mechs disappear. This event is known as the Silent Invasion of Phoenix. 24 years later, the "invasion" remains the subject of much speculation throughout the city.

Conceptual drawing for "Pero", one of the mechanoids in the story.

Conceptual drawing for "Pero", one of the mechanoids in the story.

The Dusters

Most who hear about Dusters hear rumors. But rumors keep people talking. Dusters are secretive folk who roam the dunes outside of Phoenix. Some say they help wayward travelers. Some say they prey on them. Others believe they’re a government supported militia guarding the southwest boarders. It doesn't help that Dusters wear strange clothes and rarely speak. When they visit the city even the authorities get nervous. Whatever the case may be, their true story is yet to unfold. 

The Outposts

In the years following the meteor strike, millions of migrants travel up from Mexico seeking aid. Several outposts are built in key positions around the valley. At these outposts, refugees are registered as US citizens and transported to new homes across the nation. Decades have past since that mass migration. What happens at the outposts now is anyone’s guess. Their occupants are unknown. Their locations are restricted. 

Written in Dust – A future fiction set in the Arizona desert.

Written in Dust – A future fiction set in the Arizona desert.

Progress as of Fall 2016

After finishing an outline, I'll be putting together what amounts to a mini novel over the next year. The goal is to create a story which could be used to inspire other works. We'll see. Each project is an experiment.

Thanks for reading.

–E