These Prisoning Hills (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
These Prisoning Hills By Christopher Rowe Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

Staff Reviews

In a future devastated by war and suffering the effects of climate change, Marcia is asked to join a rescue effort for a missing recovery team. As the story moves through an environment, even foreign to Marcia, a native of the area, she thinks back on her time in the war and the terrible creatures she fought. Though the AI, Queen of Reason, Athena Parthenus, has been "killed," something strange is happening in the hills of Kentucky. Raw with emotion, Rowe depicts a world besieged by mystery and foreboding. These Prisoning Hills is a great novella for those who enjoy a grim post-apocalyptic story.

— From Sophie's Picks


These Prisoning Hills is a post-apocalyptic Appalachian "weird fiction" novella by Hugo and Nebula Award nominee Christopher Rowe.

"Haunting and heartfelt, violent and vibrant."—Alix E. Harrow

Deallocate all implications,
Fortran harrows all the nations.

In a long-ago war, the all-powerful A.I. ruler of the Voluntary State of Tennessee—Athena Parthenus, Queen of Reason—invaded and decimated the American Southeast. Possessing the ability to infect and corrupt the surrounding environment with nanotechnology, she transformed flora, fauna, and the very ground itself into bio-mechanical weapons of war.

Marcia, a former captain from Kentucky, experienced first-hand the terrifying, mind-twisting capabilities of Athena’s creatures. Now back in the Commonwealth, her retirement is cut short by the arrival of federal troops in her tiny, isolated town. One of Athena’s most powerful weapons may still be buried nearby. And they need Marcia’s help to find it.

About the Author

Christopher Rowe is the author of the acclaimed story collection Telling the Map, as well as a middle grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service, co-written with his wife, author Gwenda Bond. He has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Neukom, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards. He lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with his wife and their many unruly pets.

Praise For…

“[Christopher] Rowe is one of the finest and most humane writers of science fiction working today. His territory lies within the ruptured space where technology, humanity, and the natural world intersect, and his subject matter is trauma and the possibility of restoration, which he addresses with both tenderness and clinical skill.”—Kelly Link

These Prisoning Hills is just as haunted and heartfelt, as violent and vibrant, as the Bluegrass State itself.”—Alix E. Harrow

Meticulous prose, a generous heart, and a wild imagination—this is what we expect from Christopher Rowe, and this is what he continues to provide.”—Karen Joy Fowler

“Christopher Rowe's future Kentucky is at once familiar and delightfully, cinematically strange.”—Sarah Pinsker

"Some of the richest landscapes I've walked are ones that only Christopher Rowe can show me. Among the proud, brave irregulars of 21st-century fiction, Rowe is our most visionary mapmaker. I'd follow him anywhere!"—Andy Duncan

"In just under 150 pages, Rowe is able to develop a completely believable world with relatable characters that draw the reader in from the start."—Booklist

"A succinct but surprisingly intuitive character study."—Library Journal

"In one sense, These Prisoning Hills is a super-postmodern version of a classic American guide-to-the-wilderness tale that dates back to Daniel Boone and James Fenimore Cooper; in another, it recalls the ‘‘forbidden zone’’ plots of much post-apocalyptic SF; in yet another, [...] it’s a suspenseful future-war tale. For someone with so many apparent roots in traditional SF, Rowe still manages to make his Tennessee both completely new and thoroughly grounded, and not quite like any other setting in SF."—Locus

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250804488
ISBN-10: 1250804485
Publisher: Tordotcom
Publication Date: May 31st, 2022
Pages: 144
Language: English