Richard Garfinkle

Richard Garfinkle's professional publications so far (If you want to see the amateur ones, you'll have to look up his old college chums and squeeze the information out of them.)

Three Steps to the Universe



Celestial Matters Under Discussion



Three Steps to the Universe: From the Sun to Black Holes to the Mystery of Dark Matter (coauthored with David Garfinkle), University of Chicago Press, Chicago 2008

A good-humored, accessible physics book for the lay reader. Richard and his brother, gravitational physicist David Garfinkle, explain what scientists know, why they know it and -- most importantly -- how they think.


Unknowable Death, Achronal Press, Chicago, 2012 -- Available as a Kindle eBook

Toby Matheson, a seven-year-old boy, sees Death, opening his mind to the worlds around our own.

Toby Matheson, a seven-year-old boy, discovers the body of his brother-in-law. The sight drives him mad.

Beyond the world, Toby Matheson searches to understand the mystery of Death guided by his otherworldly sister.

Toby's sister Lisa is sent to jail for the death of her husband. Wanting to help her, Toby learns to hide his madness.

Growing in this world and others, Toby seeks whomsoever revealed Death unto him.

Toby, growing in skill at seeing the world through mad eyes, searches for the murderer.

Which of these is true?

That is not the Mystery.

Unknowable Death can be downloaded from Amazon for the Kindle eReader.


Two By Two Souls Fly: A Pastoral Fantasy, Achronal Press, Chicago, 2011 -- Available as a Kindle eBook

Two by Two Souls Fly is lyric fantasy.

It is a book about families, family religions, the joining of cultures, and the ways societies use stories.

The book begins where most romances end, with the marriage of the main characters, Dominic and Serafina, a boy, a horseman from a recently conquered nation, and a girl from the land of his conquerors. The heroism is done, the battles are finished. Now comes the harder task: living. All the magics and divinities and all the forms of love in their world will be needful to create and hold together one small family and their horse farm.

Two By Two Souls Fly can be downloaded from Amazon for the Kindle and compatible apps.


Wayland's Principia, Achronal Press, Chicago, 2009 -- Now Available as a Kindle eBook

Wayland's Principia is a hard science fiction novel about culture clash, expectations, interstellar travel, and what it means to be human.

In Wayland's Principia aliens have reached us. Aliens have spoken. And they are more alien than anyone ever imagined, sharing nothing in common with humanity or each other but the need for survival, the ability to think, and senses that look outward on the universe. Humans spend their lives learning what the aliens have to give, and some become Guests, humans who from birth try to think and act like one of the five species of aliens, who try to understand them and mediate between the aliens and humanity.

Now the aliens have sent word that they are coming, that they will meet with humanity, with the Guests and travel with some of them around the five alien worlds. Now the Guests must face what they have become, and find out if it is enough.

Wayland's Principia can be downloaded from Amazon for the Kindle and compatible apps


Exaltations, Achronal Press, Chicago, 2009 -- Now Available as a Kindle eBook

As living stories invisibly tyrannize and dictate peoples' lives, a world-hopping biographer finds himself gathering people from alternate worlds to undermine the very nature of quests, to oppose Stories with Lives.

Exaltations is an allegorical novel about the ways the channels of stories affect human thought, and about love, faith, devotion, and the tyranny of quests, involving alternate histories and fictional realities wrapped up in a stirring adventure story.

Exaltations can be downloaded from Amazon as a Kindle eBook for compatible eReaders.


All of an Instant, Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, New York 1999

The time travel wars have turned all of history into a churning, everchanging flow of events, a vast ocean filled with four-dimensional warriors. But now the ocean is crystallizing into changeless, crazed shards, and three very disparate beings must come together to save all histories ...

Some critics were a little puzzled by this one. It helps if you know that this is a Buddhism-based allegory for putting the mind in order.


Celestial Matters, Tom Doherty Associates, Inc., New York 1996

Aristotle was right: The Earth is at the center of the Universe, surrounded by crystal spheres which carry the Sun, Moon, and planets around us. Alexander's Greek empire has lasted nearly a thousand years, battling the Middle Kingdom of Asia, with its incomprehensible Taoist technology. Now the scientist Aias of Tyre leads a project to fly a spaceship made of Moon-matter to the Sun, to steal a piece of heavenly fire to finally vanquish the Middlers. Yet Aias has doubts and questions about the justice of what he does...

Wild alternate science and alternate cosmology. The critics loved this one. It was nominated for a Nebula and the John W. Campbell Award, and won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel of 1996.

For a look at what the critics have said (and are still saying), please see Celestial Matters Under Discussion.


"On Not Flying Solo in Hyperspace", Star Wars On Trial,, BenBella Books, Dallas, TX 2006, "refereed" by David Brin and Matthew Woodring Stover.

(An argument defending the Star Wars movies against the charge that "Star Wars Has Dumbed Down the Perception of Science Fiction in the Popular Imagination".)

"Why Killing Harry is the Worst Outcome for Voldemort" Mapping the World of Harry Potter, BenBella Books, Dallas, TX 2005, edited by Mercedes Lackey.

"Why Are the Elders Such Jerks?" Totally Charmed: Demons, Whitelighters and the Power of Three , BenBella Books, Dallas, TX 2005, edited by Jennifer Crusie.

(A thought-provoking essay on why, in modern stories, the forces of good are portrayed as peculiarly unpleasant and ineffectual.)


"The Last Invasion of Ireland", in Once Upon a Galaxy, edited by Wil McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg, and John Helfers, Daw Books Inc., New York 2002

In an anthology of science-fictional retellings of fairy tales, "The Last Invasion of Ireland" is a classic tale of Faery. The original inhabitants of Ireland have retreated under the hills in the face of an onslaught of alien invaders. Their last hope is an elite corps of Raiders, utilising illusion and cunning ...


"Overdue Considerations" at LiveJournal.

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