Date of Award


Document Type

Embargoed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Nancy Holder

Second Advisor

James Patrick Kelly

Third Advisor

Justin Tussing


This creative thesis is the first portion of a science fiction novel, Returners. Set roughly fifty years from now, Returners depicts a future where political and economic power is concentrated in megacities, some of which cross national boundaries. Between the cities, the world is damaged and dangerous. Most of the land between was ripped from the hands of farmers and ranchers in order to return it to a wilder condition. Some of the disenfranchised landowners left peacefully. But others, self-proclaimed Returners, want the old world back.

Two sisters are part of the fight against them. Lou is a crew boss in the dangerous Outside. She is working both to save wild wolves and to find Returners. Coryn is apprenticed to a powerful ex-Mayor in the megacity of Seacouver, and is working from inside to save her sister. Part science fiction adventure and part future western, Returners explores the intersection between technology and the natural world, and some of the many ways humans depend on both.