“With her debut novella, Essler presents a personal tale of generational trauma set in a strange world where knowledge is a deadly currency.”
After inheriting her father’s estate, Lenora Leahill is prepared to take her place in the Age of Awareness … books can now be instantly consumed via injection from an Aqua Peritia cuff. Lenora has grand plans, but finds difficulty with her new responsibilities. Just navigating the city itself is treacherous due to the ashfall that makes it impossible to see clearly.
An old colleague of her father demands a promise Lenora knows nothing about be fulfilled. Lenora learns there’s a dark history to this new Age of Awareness, and must sift through her shadowy past to get a foothold on the present, if it doesn’t drive her mad or kill her first.
Why we’re excited about this book:
Van Essler is a new name to watch in the horror fiction scene. Essler’s short fiction has graced the pages of several Zimball House anthologies, Story Emporium 2: Purveyors of Steampunk & Weird Western Adventure, and Like Sunshine After Rain. Essler’s short-story ‘The Photograph’ received the Founder’s Award from the Professional Writers of Prescott. With her debut novella, Essler presents a personal tale of generational trauma set in a strange world where knowledge is a deadly currency. Paul Allen Goat (Barnes & Noble) calls Vial Thoughts “An utterly readable mélange of steampunk and gothic horror, Essler’s stellar debut novel-the first installment of her Age of Awareness saga-is like a milky shot of absinthe: hypnotic, hallucination-inducing, and highly addictive … A darkly lyrical and stylishly stygian page-turner-literary opium.”, and EV Knight (The Fourth Whore, Children of Demeter) says: “Van Essler’s debut novel Vial Thoughts surges through your veins with its frightening vision of a dystopian world where knowledge is bought, sold, controlled, and killed for. Feeling a little too possible for comfort, this steampunk dark sci-fi is a shot of adrenaline from the first chapter that will leave you tearing through the ash-covered streets sweating, panting, and begging for more.”
Releasing from Raw Dog Screaming Press 11 May 2023, with beautiful cover art by Daniele Serra, Vial Thoughts by Van Essler is available for pre-order now.