: the Pax Humana (Novel excerpt)

  • William Erickson Edic

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (MFA)


This thesis is an approximately 40,000 word-long excerpt of Miracle: The Pax Humana, a science fiction novel set in a "fallen-utopia" setting influenced by Golden Age science fiction, utopian literature of the Renaissance, John Milton's Paradise Lost, ancient Greek mythology, war poetry from WWI, and especially by the aesthetics of the emerging "Solarpunk" and "Hopepunk" subgenres of science fiction.

Miracle itself focuses on the travels of interspecies diplomat Cleito Lyth- a human rescued and raised by the Chorus of Masks, a species of enigmatic yet peaceful aliens- as she undertakes a perilous journey to flee war-torn human space with a precious cargo in tow.

Cleito's adventures across the shattered-yet-healing garden worlds of the Orion Arm allow Cleito and her companions to explore various ideas of what it truly means to be human—complicating Cleito’s increasingly dualistic (and often neurodivergent-coded) conceptions of identity, culture, and philosophy. Across Cleito’s growth as both a person and a human being, she must face the burning question of humanity's trajectory within their universe: are they architects of utopian wonder, or engines of apocalyptic horror?

The work is an experiment in writing science fiction that shifts perspectives on tropes commonly used by space opera and/or military SF, using the premise of a “post-war” space opera setting to loosely explore topics of irenology, anthropology, human development, and long-term consequences of warfare. Meanwhile, cultural and technological remnants of the setting’s “Golden Age”/“Pre-war” era also allow for indirect exploration of optimistic futures relevant to contemporary “Solarpunk”/”Hopepunk” SF writers, without sacrificing the conflict and intrigue that often makes far-future SF settings so engaging to their audiences.

This excerpt contains the Prologue and several chapters from the first "Act" of the novel, which introduces Cleito as a protagonist, establishes the themes and aesthetics of Miracle's post-war "Bloom", outlines exposition on the War, the post-war Turmoils, and some of the factions involved, and briefly introduces key characters within the broader story.
Date of Award11 Jun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorDina Nayeri (Supervisor)


  • Science fiction
  • Creative writing
  • Solarpunk
  • Hopepunk
  • Neurodivergent
  • Prose
  • Utopianism

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