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Books & Brews, April 9, 2024 - Mothership / The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain

WMRA’s April Books & Brews featured two authors; Greg Wrenn discussing Mothership: A Memoir of Wonder and Crisis, and Sofia Samatar discussing The Practice, the Horizon,and the Chain.

Signed copies of these works are available online at Stone Soup Books - https://www.stonesoupbooks.net

WMRA's Books & Brews is made possible thanks to our series sponsor, Gaines Group Architects. The Gaines Group has offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.

About the Books

Mothership: A Memoir of Wonder and Crisis

Weaving together memoir and cutting-edge science, Mothership is a queer coming-of-age story, while also sharing a deeply researched account of how coral reefs and a psychedelic tea called ayahuasca helped Greg Wrenn heal from complex PTSD—a disorder of trust, which makes the very act of bonding with someone else panic-inducing.

From the tide pools in Florida where he grew up, to Indonesia’s Raja Ampat archipelago and the Amazon rainforest, this is his search for wholeness when talk therapy and pharmaceuticals did little to help.

Along the way, as his ecological conscience wakes up, he takes readers underwater to the last pristine reefs on earth, and into the psyche.

The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain

A science fiction novella about a university attached to a prison -- in space! It deals with a lot of issues concerning access and diversity in higher education, but in a fun way, with mystical breath practices, asteroid mines, and rebellion.

From the book: "The boy was raised as one of the Chained, condemned to toil in the bowels of a mining ship out among the stars. His whole world changes--literally--when he is yanked "upstairs" and informed he has been given an opportunity to be educated at the ship's university alongside the elite.

Overwhelmed and alone, the boy forms a bond with the woman he comes to know as "the professor," a weary idealist and descendent of the Chained who has spent her career striving for validation from her more senior colleagues, only to fall short at every turn.

Together, the boy and the woman will embark on a transformative journey to grasp the design of the chains that fetter them both--and are the key to breaking free."

About the Authors

Greg Wrenn
Greg Wrenn is an associate English professor, teaching environmental literature and creative writing at James Madison University, where he weaves climate change science into literary studies. Wrenn is the author of the forthcoming Mothership: A Memoir of Wonder and Crisis, an evidence-based account of his turning to endangered coral reefs and a psychedelic rainforest tea called ayahuasca to heal from childhood trauma, and Centaur (U of Wisconsin Press 2013), which National Book Award-winning poet Terrance Hayes awarded the Brittingham Prize.

Sofia Samatar
Sofia Samatar is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoir The White Mosque, a PEN/Jean Stein Award finalist. Her works range from the award-winning epic fantasy A Stranger in Olondria to Tone, a collaborative study of literary tone with Kate Zambreno, and include other projects like Monster Portraits, an exploration of monsters in collaboration with her brother, the artist Del Samatar.