IT WOULD BE hard to return to sleep this late in the day, but Poppy yawned and turned over to try anyway.
No dice. First the front door slammed, and someone stomped their boots on the mat. Then there was a lot of urgent-sounding jibber-jabber through the wall. Then the door slammed again. More boot stomping, more jibber-jabber. Finally, the hallway floorboards creaked, and the bedroom door inched open.
“Lord?” It was his firstborn, Adam.
“Uh, we have a problem.”
“Wait till I get up. Then you’ll have two problems.”
“Yes, lord. Sorry. Uh, Proverbs killed a moose.”
“Praise the Lord.”
“Amen. Except he shot it in the field.”
“Even better. It was delivered to our door.”
“Yes, lord, except — except that today is Twosday.”
“So what if it is?”
“Twosday, lord — Mail Day.”
At last the fog of sleep lifted from Poppy’s brain. Poaching a moose so near the house on Mail Day was not a good plan. “Hand me my britches.”
—UPON THIS ROCK: Book 1 — First Contact by David Marusek
An epic new science fiction series about faith, family, and alien invasion in bush Alaska.
When a shooting star plunges through the atmosphere and touches down in the Alaska wilderness, only two earthlings are present to witness the event. But they perceive two utterly different realities. What park ranger Jace Kuliak sees is a UFO and the arrival of a dangerous alien species from beyond the solar system. What Poppy Prophecy sees is the star called Wormwood, as recorded in Scripture, and the arrival of an archangel of the Apocalypse.
The thing is — they’re both sorta right.
Poppy Prophecy is the despotic patriarch of a large End-Times prepper family that is busily converting a depleted copper mine into its own private doomsday bunker. Their copper mine is a century-old relic from territorial days when East Coast robber barons ruled Alaska and plundered its mineral wealth. Today the abandoned mine sits in the middle of the largest, wildest, most majestic national park in the United States. But Poppy isn’t impressed by mere earthly beauty, and he doesn’t mind bulldozing federal land when it suits his purposes.
Backcountry Ranger Jace Kuliak does mind, and he and fellow rangers confront the fundamentalist family in an armed standoff over the construction of an illegal airstrip. It doesn’t help matters when Ranger Kuliak falls hopelessly in love with Poppy’s second daughter, the lovely, innocent, and totally clueless Deuteronomy.
An uneasy truce between the Prophecys and the park service is shattered when the falling star lands in their backyard and is claimed by both sides. What is it? Who is it? Better yet, of all the pit stops on all the planets in all the galaxies, why did the Visitor choose this particular rock to screw with?
“Alaska. Aliens. The Anti-Christ. AWESOME! Marusek is in full form with this curveball tale about ETs, extremists, snowmobile chases and the meaning of life. Upon This Rock feels like The Puppet Masters crossed with Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. It’s snarky, mind-blowing, wild and fun. Thoroughly engrossing.”
—Jeff Carlson, international bestselling author of The Frozen Sky
Author David Marusek writes science fiction in a cabin in Fairbanks, Alaska. His work has appeared in Playboy, Nature, MIT Technology Review, Asimov’s, and other periodicals and anthologies and has been translated into ten languages. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “Marusek’s writing is ferociously smart, simultaneously horrific and funny, as he forces readers to stretch their imaginations and sympathies.” His two novels and clutch of short stories have earned him numerous award nominations and have won the Theodore Sturgeon and Endeavour awards. “. . . Marusek could be the one sci-fi writer in a million with the potential to make an increasingly indifferent audience care about the genre again . . .”—New York Times Book Review. “Marusek is one of the relatively few contemporary sf writers who seems deeply responsive to the contemporary world”—Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Upon This Rock is published by A Stack of Firewood Press and is available in paperback and ebook editions.