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You can also buy from any of my favorite independent bookstores:

You can also order the audiobook here:

Published by Harper Voyager

on September 14, 2021. Winner of the

2022 Manly Wade Wellman Award.

"When a book is this ambitious, either it is a thumping success or it falls on its face. Happily, The Actual Star is a stone-cold masterpiece. It is one of the most moving novels I have read and surely a contender for major awards." --New Scientist

"An incredibly ambitious and thought-provoking work." --Lisa Tuttle, The Guardian

"You will be swept into Byrne’s meticulously worked world-building by her compelling storytelling and rich prose. This is a book about the profound interrelations of past and present – the Mayan sections are marvels of vividly rendered research – and the hi-tech, mystical, sex-positive, post-climate-collapse diversitopia of its imagined future is simply extraordinary." --Adam Roberts, The Guardian

"Byrne’s future society stands out as a massive achievement…this novel bristles with ambition, asks unfamiliar questions, and has one of the most effective examples of worldbuilding you’re likely to see on a page this year….[The Actual Star] draws a new map of what the genre can do." --Tor.comreview

"An indescribable epic saga of three reincarnated souls...already drawing comparisons to Octavia Butler’s Earthseed series and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas,The Actual Star is for those who love complexities and questions that transcend single lives." --The Millions

"A stunningly realized work of literary fiction...Byrne gives us three intricately complete worlds...The Actual Star is unlike anything I’ve read." --The Maine Edge

"The Actual Star is a speculative fiction masterpiece…In its exploration of utopianism and its dissection of the power differentials that shape our lives, The Actual Star recalls the best work of writers like Octavia E. Butler or Ursula K. Le Guin….It is a remarkable achievement, and one that should see Byrne take her rightful place with speculative fiction’s very best.” --Fantasy Hive

"Religion, and the exploration of it, are Byrne’s great masterpiece in this text....The Actual Star isn't casual play----it’s powerfully constructed theater, tugging at your wonder, curiosity, and confusion up until the very last word." --In the Margins, Columbia University

"At every step, [The Actual Star] asks you to reevaluate your assumptions about how societies work, how cultures survive, and how people seek their own way of transcendence." --Nerds of a Feather

"The Actual Star is one of a kind. With its depth and reach, it is unlike any other book I have read in the last few years. It will stay with me for a long time and I will be recommending it wherever I go." --A Universe in Words

"A millennia-spanning masterpiece by Monica Byrne, The Actual Star...follows the lives, both past, present, and future, of three extraordinary individuals, and how their relationships intertwine over the long years of historical time." --Lightspeed Magazine

"What I enjoyed most about Byrne’s vision of the 31st century is that, despite the anxiety and uncertainty of the current moment, she is brave enough to consider a future where we not only survive the coming climate catastrophe, but flourish...beautifully rendered." --Locus

"Wildly ambitious, wildly successful...The Actual Star is a book about sacrifice, about the long view and deep time, about the universality of human experience and the particularity of any given moment. It's a first-rate work of science fiction, and a hopeful and fearful book about the climate. It's just great.” --Cory Doctorow, author of Radicalized and Walkaway

"Breathtaking in scope and ambition. With Byrne as your assured guide, The Actual Star offers so much to discover from the first read, and invites returning to over and over." --John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of the Interdependency Trilogy

"Reminiscent of Octavia E. Butler, Byrne creates cultures and characters that embody depth, sensitivity, and a riveting story line...Few authors tackle themes of tradition vs change, the nature of human connection, and the very meaning of being alive in such an ambitious manner, let alone make it work as an entertaining read the way Byrne does.", preview

"Sweeping, mesmerizing, The Actual Star is a travelogue of souls, an epic that leaps lightly between the centuries. From the royal children of an ancient Mayan dynasty to the nomadic pilgrims of a far-future religion, Byrne draws her interconnected characters with compassion and depth, weaving their stories into a mystery with echoes in past, present, and future. At the center of it all is Leah, a young American woman whose search for her roots in Belize will have repercussions far beyond her lifetime. A magnificent achievement!" --Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni and The Hidden Palace


"Contained in this book is a vivid historical novel, a heartfelt contemporary narrative, and a mind-boggling science fiction story, all tightly braided together into a single experience that is bold, wild, profound. It's a novel you won’t forget.” --Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future


"A thoroughly human work where ambition, loneliness, love, and the need to belong resonate, no matter the year. Complex and captivating." --Booklist


"I can't wait to display this book on my all time favorites shelf of my bookcase. This book is exceptional and I'm so thankful I was able to read it. This book broke my brain and I thank it for that." --Monstrously Bookish


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