2023 COLORADO BOOK AWARD
2021 NOVELLA PRIZE SELECTED BY KEITH BANNER
MAY 2022. ISBN 9781881163701
$17.00 SPD | Bookshop | Amazon
Eugene, a wealthy paraplegic, must decide whether to preserve his consciousness forever in a digital utopia or suffer the pain tormenting his existence. Yet the more he learns about digital replication, the more deeply he understands personhood, empathy, and the value of suffering.
Reviews & Such
- “The journey we take with Eugene is, ultimately, as poignant as it is discomfiting. Using the storytelling tools of SFF, White captures the creeping sense of unreality that makes it so painful to be alive today.” Strange Horizons review by Seamus Sullivan, 3/13/2023
- Is Pain an Essential Part of the Human Experience?
Conversation with Mitzi Rapkin, First Draft Podcast, 6/27/2022
- Disturbing the Comfortable: On Writing Disability in Science Fiction
–Essay by Nathanial White published on Tor.com 6/15/2022
- “Much of White’s lived experience with rehabilitation, technology and the love it takes to come through a devastating accident inform the backbone of this book.”
The Supris Sun, 5/25/2022
- “A thoughtful exploration of technology and disability”
Publishers Weekly 03/03/2022
- This novella is a marvel: a vision of a not-so-distant future in which our bodies are virtually obsolete and our consciousnesses immortal. Into an otherwise nihilistic world, Nathanial White encodes a kind of tragic beauty suffused with longing. Reading Conscious Designs made me want to download the author’s brain, harness its powers of imagination, and wrestle with the questions he so intelligently dramatizes in these pages.
- Nathanial White brings his lived experience of paralysis and recovery to Conscious Designs. What follows is a journey into ethics, morality, and the philosophy of being and personhood. Each time I thought I knew where the story was going, it surprised me, and drew me deeper. The prose is reminiscent of classic science fiction greats such as Asimov or Aldiss who played with ideas like colors on a canvas.
- Conscious Designs knows what it is—which is more than its characters can say for themselves. Nathanial White’s fiction has its mind on human consciousness and artificial intelligence and an exoskeletal boot planted firmly on story. If you find yourself returning to the sci-fi of Philip K. Dick and the philosophical provocations of Brian Evenson, Conscious Designs is for you—at least, the version of yourself you call “you.”
— Christopher David Rosales
About the Author
Nathanial White grew up in Maine and has lived in Mexico, Brazil, and Ecuador. His speculative fiction explores the human psyche, physical disability, culture, technology and consumerism. He currently teaches high school English in the Rocky Mountains of Western Colorado.