Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
Creative Writing and Environment
In one night, sixteen-year-old Gwen loses her mothers and home in a flood caused by a superstorm and an old dam’s failure. Living in the high school gym with other homeless high schoolers, she didn’t think her life could spin any further out of control—until the wilders came looking for her. Erhent and Jack promise Gwen a world of unlimited potential where no one is a monster and everything is monstrous. They escape New Jersey just as a fracking company called AquaCore comes to town, bringing more than just man camps and white trucks, but shadows that haunt the Pine Barrens and disappear bodies. Erhent and Jack aren’t expecting a human girl when star coordinates lead them to Erhent’s partner fated to make magic. Already outcasts, Erhent hopes becoming a Starcatcher will hide what he is—a Soul-Eater, a killer. Jack, a Jackalkind with lupine ears and a tail, had been a hunter of Soul-Eaters, but when confronted with killing Erhent, had saved him instead. Becoming a Starcatcher in a time of need offers a chance to find a new home instead of roaming the world as exiles. Strange Stars is set in the near future when the havoc of climate change has infiltrated every social strata of the United States and spans from the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to the depths of Yellowstone with an international ensemble of characters. As Gwen and Erhent cast spells in the constellations, they realize that true magic is born in community. One single moment of magic cannot fix the world, but defending a place called home can inspire something stronger than the stars—hope.
Wagner, Phoebe, "Strange Stars" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 17346.