About the project
What is this?
Planet B is a serial web story (somewhere between a novella and a novel in length) that is published one chapter at a time. The story includes visual supplements and web content that are designed to immerse you in the story and leak into your web browser.
How do I read it?
Subscribe to get chapters delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Friday. You can read them in your email client or follow links to a standalone webpage for each chapter. Previous chapters will be available to read on this website during the release schedule, after which point you can purchase the story as an e-book.
Start reading the first chapter below.
1. Are you Kidding?
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS! DO NOT DISTRIBUTE
You have been selected as a Pioneer: one of a chosen few to be admitted to the offworld colony on Themis.
Agipan ranks your documented public behavior and private records with a sustainability score of –1,049: exceeding the zero threshold for acceptance to the Pioneer program. Combined with your valued technical skills and identity metrics, your responsible life choices during the ongoing climate crisis have designated you as a valuable addition to the population on Themis. We are excited for you to join the next frontier of humanity’s journey!
Please note this invitation does not extend to your friends or family.
This notification of your selection should be concealed with the utmost secrecy. Public interest in Themis and the Pioneer program is extraordinary, and your discretion is required for the selection process to continue. For the safety of you and your loved ones, please do not share this email or any future correspondence with anyone.
The Agipan onboarding committee will guide you through the next steps, as you prepare to leave the Earth behind. Pioneers may experience a range of emotions when they are first selected, and our team of experienced counselors is available if you wish to talk to someone about this exciting news.
“—And then it says to check my Agipan dashboard to begin enrollment.” Eliana finished, reverting to her normal voice after a brutally upbeat rendition of the email.
Naomi sunk into the driver’s seat, pressing the phone to her ear in contemplation. She wasn’t rattled, per se, but it was after midnight and she had been entirely focused on the job at hand until her phone rang, a number she had only given her sister for emergencies.
The night was one of those oppressively hot ones that turned your blood to molasses. They used to be unheard of in London. Naomi bathed in the AC of her rental car, thunking her head against the window, incredulous. Outside, a miasma of figures drifted by, sweaty thighs and shoulders glimmering under street lamps. What time was it in California? She tried to recall the last time they had spoken. After the last big fire in San Jose? She couldn’t keep track of all the fires.
“You’re doing great at the ‘utmost secrecy’ thing,” Naomi finally replied, while staring at the apartment building across the street. A pair of white columns framed the heavy door to the ornate townhouse, ventilation grills and solar panels bolted onto its facade like barnacles.