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The Fifth Season

This virtual discussion held on November 17 was moderated by Sheree Renée Thomas with panelists Matto Mildenberger, political science professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, and Gerry Canovan, english professor at Marquette University specializing in eco sci-fi literature.

Missed the live discussion? Watch the recorded event below.
Participant feedback

“My sister and I read the trilogy and discussed it together. It definitely saved the year for me. Thank you for this discussion.” – Lydia K.

“Thank you panelists, this was a wonderful discussion!” – Michelle W.

“Great discussion, thanks for your energy and insights!” – Deb S.

The Fifth Season
Book one of the Stone Earth Trilogy


This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

Sheree Renée Thomas writes: “A native of Memphis, I write between a river and a pyramid. I wrote Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems (Aqueduct Press) described by Arthur Flowers as “a wondrous book, like Jean Toomer’s Cane” and edited Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (2001 and 2005 World Fantasy Awards, named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year among other honors).

N.K. Jemisin is a New York Times-bestselling author of speculative fiction short stories and novels, who lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. In 2018, she became the first author to win three Best Novel Hugos in a row for her Broken Earth trilogy. She has also won a Nebula Award, two Locus Awards, and a number of other honors. From

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