by Ashley Shelby
Published as part of Futures: Science Fiction Series
In this reimagining of Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, the polar bear population has dwindled, and the remaining pods have been relocated to the coast of Antarctica in an attempt to save them using a process called “assisted colonization.” The last pod of Baffin Bay bears has boarded the Precession icebreaker, captained by a man who is keenly aware that the previous crews on this run have gone mad.
Are the events that unfold on this sea journey the ravings of an addled mind, the symptoms of contagious hysteria? Or have the bears chosen to rise up to exert their own autonomy?
“Muri is the rare story that perfectly encapsulates itself in metaphor and message. Suffused with dread, and hiding nothing of its consequences, Shelby still manages to pull the reader along, to lull them into the obvious lesson, only to reveal that the true moral is greater and more menacing than what has been imagined. Reading Muri is like being taught how to swim in the ocean, and to be fooled into thinking all you have to fear are the waves.” —Eric Shonkwiler, author of Above All Men
“Using Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno as backdrop, Shelby reimagines the classic tale of madness, isolation, and revolution for the modern age. With the detailed urgency that would appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood, Allegra Hyde, or Jeff VanderMeer, Shelby’s seminal work confronts head-on the myriad attitudes toward climate change and all the hope and despair at the very heart of ‘the Impact,’ tightly wrapped in brisk, energetic lyricism. Timely, accessible, and precise, this ticking time bomb of a story will wrack you from page one, and will leave you commandeering a line from the book to describe Shelby, herself: that she is the “Paul Revere of Impact,’ riding forward to warn you to wake the hell up before the lantern goes out.” —Leah Angstman, editor-in-chief of Alternating Current Press and The Coil, and editor of Undeniable: Writers Respond to Climate Change
Ashley Shelby is a novelist, short story writer, and former journalist based in the Twin Cities. She is the author of South Pole Station: A Novel (Picador) and Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City (Borealis Books).