It’s far into the future, ten years after a nuclear terrorist attack blasts Pittsburgh and the city is reduced to rubble. The story opens with a grief-stricken protagonist, Dominic,who has lost his wife and child and immerses himself in The Archive–a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh before the attack where he can revisit the places and people he loved.

But he soon discovers something amiss and starts to investigate a murder of a beautiful woman found in Nine Mile Run. “With nothing left to lose, Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined,” notes the book blurb.

In this future, everything is both familiar and different–gazes locked onto personal adware on screens, shows like Crime Scene Superstars, brown sugar pills to pop for a high, and the city of Pittsburgh, scarred and transformed.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow, which has already generated impressive buzz,  is Thomas Sweterlitsch’s debut science fiction novel from publisher Penguin/Putnam, and will be released in mass hardcover this Thursday, July 10.

The author, Thomas Sweterlitsch

The author, Thomas Sweterlitsch

The novel has garnered a starred Kirkus Review, a Playboy Magazine Book of the Month pick and accolades from Publishers Weekly for a “strong debut…vivid and compelling.”

Meaghan Wagner, editor at Putnam adds, “From the opening line, we just knew Tomorrow and Tomorrow was going to be like nothing else out there and that we had to publish it. Dark, evocative, and poignant, Tom has a powerful voice that simply transcends genre.”

Sweterlitsch has been a writer all his life. The Greenfield resident and Carnegie Mellon University graduate continued to pursue his love of science fiction as he worked at the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. He was encouraged to write Tomorrow and Tomorrow after novelist and native Pittsburgher Stewart O’Nan read one of his short stories and urged him to write a novel.

It took seven years to write.

O’Nan sent Sweterlitsch’s manuscript to his agent and after a year of revisions, the book sold in auction in a matter of days. In the end, Sweterlitsch emerged with a two-book deal with Putnam. That’s when Sweterlitsch decided to write full time.

tomorrow.revA copy

Launch date is July 10 for the debut novel by Thomas Sweterlitsch.

The author chose Pittsburgh for the setting of his book because of its history. “I love to use Pittsburgh as a setting for my stories, especially for something like Tomorrow and Tomorrow, a novel about memory and loss,” he says. “Not only does Pittsburgh have a layered history, but often those histories are visible together–from the industrial sites that have become shopping malls, to our habit of giving directions based on locations that no longer exist, to the mashup of architectural styles downtown. In Pittsburgh, the past is very present.”

In a multitude of gushing advance reviews, Steward O’Nan’s  could be the best. “Simultaneously trippy and hard-boiled, Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a rich, absorbing, relentlessly inventive mindfuck, a smart, dark noir…Sweterlitsch’s debut is a wild mash-up of Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick, and William S. Burroughs and, like their work, utterly visionary,” he writes.

Who wouldn’t want to read the book after that?

The Pittsburgh launch party  for Tomorrow and Tomorrow, free and open to the public, will be at WYEP this Thursday, July 10th at 7pm with copies of the book for sale. The author promises free cake and beer for all.

Sweterlitsch will appear at 6 pm on August 7 @CLP-Main at a free reading. That’s the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland, on the first floor in the Quiet Reading Room which won’t be so quiet that day.

For more information on Tomorrow and Tomorrow and to read an excerpt, visit Penguin books. To learn more about Thomas Sweterlitsch, who is now finishing his second novel, a time travel mystery set in West Virginia, visit his website.