Terraform Is Back With a Book. Join Us As We Watch Worlds Burn

Motherboard’s short speculative fiction imprint is publishing an anthology of our best work with MCDxFSG Originals.
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Image: Chloe Scheffe

Preorder Terraform: Watch Worlds Burn here.

When we launched Terraform, way back in the mid 2010s, it was another geologic era. Pre-pandemic, pre-Trump, pre-prelapsarian times 2.0. Neither Elon Musk nor Jeff Bezos were the richest man in the world. There was no TikTok, and Facebook was a few hundred million users away from its ‘oops we did a genocide’ phase. And yet, perhaps in small part because of the kind of speculative stories we spent our time publishing, none of those developments felt particularly novel to us. The bad futures came right on time. 


Terraform was always a passion project, Motherboard’s compulsively lying Kuato—our chance to invite speculative fiction writers, journalists, scientists, art freaks, hackers, and activists to share their volleys about what the near future might bring. 


Since 2014, we’ve had the pleasure of running some of the weirdest and most fearless stories about the future you could find just about anywhere, pulling from every slow-rolling apocalypse our writers happened to encounter.

And now, in case you haven’t heard, we’re doing a book. We’ve teamed up with MCDxFSG Originals, an imprint of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, to publish TERRAFORM: Watch/Worlds/Burn, a thick anthology of some of the very best stories, dispatches, and experiments we’ve run online over the years. 

Anthologies are the lifeblood of science fiction. As readers, we cut our teeth on the great paperback anthologies of the 60s and 70s, those pocket-sized neutron bombs so ubiquitous in used bookshops—tomes like Dangerous Visions, Women of Wonder, New Worlds, and, later, the cyberpunk brain-burners Mirrorshades and Semiotext(e) SF. Beaming down from pixel to print to join this legacy is just about the most exciting thing us SF dorks can imagine.


Our anthology will contain some of the best of Terraform’s six-year run, and it will be loaded with new stuff, too: an original essay by the great Cory Doctorow, fresh context from us editors (that’s Brian Merchant and Claire L. Evans, hi) and new stories from Omar El Akkad, Ellen Ullman, Tochi Onyebuchi, Jeff VanderMeer, Elvia Wilk, and Joanne McNeil, among many others. 

It’s out August 16th (pre-order now!) and it’s good. Really good. Not to brag, but Kirkus gave the book a starred review, promising that it will “thoroughly satisfy readers looking for creative new dystopias.” The reigning king himself, Kim Stanley Robinson, told us “this is the kind of book we need now, a collection of stories bursting with visions, ideas, nightmares and utopian plans, all in the aid of creating cognitive maps for navigating the very difficult future that is coming.” 

We’re going to celebrate all of this by reviving Terraform from its online dormancy. That means we’ll be publishing new stories here, in the old digital text form, and launching a limited run companion podcast to boot. Oh, and there will be parties. So if you happen to live in Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco (or in the global village of Twitch), stay tuned. 

Watch this space for new stories, fresh work from some of our longest-serving speculators, alongside original art and a newfangled set of futures. Starting now, we’ll be dropping a new story every week, starting with a timely, repulsive, and excellent new piece by Terraform mainstay Russell Nichols

(If you missed it, we ran a special story by award-winning novelist Fernando A. Flores in April—about Selena Quintanilla in the post-apocalyptic streets of San Antonio.)

Please join us, and follow along as we wade once more into the vast, filthy sea of new futures, the way only Terraform can.