The Book of the Juke – Eutopia and Volk

When Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism launched in 2011, I started signing copies with a somewhat quicker version of this doodle. Given that a lineup for autographs would be unhygienic in these physically-distanced times, I thought I could take a bit more time on just this one.

It was more than a decade ago now that I started work on what would become my first solo novel: Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism. Its working title was Mister Juke – named for the monster at the heart of it, a shape-shifting, parasitic creature that shapes the brain structures of communities of faith to better feed itself, in the way that toxiplasma gondii shapes the brains of rats and mice, to better feed cats.

Illustration of the Feeger sisters, dancing in thrall of the Juke, for Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism by Lawrence Nickle

It was also a novel of the early American eugenics movement and the human monsters who propagated that, and when it was ready to publish the title shifted to Eutopia. Fantasy author Michael Skeet was the one to suggest it as a clever mashup of Utopia and Eugenics, to reflect those human monsters, and the terrible optimism that drove them to sterilize and segregate people they mistook for their inferiors, and ultimately provided ideological cover for the genocidal atrocities visited on the world most famously – but far from exclusively – by Adolph Hitler’s Nazis.

I didn’t plan a sequel in the writing, but after Eutopia was published through ChiZine Publications in 2011, I started thinking about it, and in 2017, published a sequel: Volk: A Novel of Radiant Abomination. As the title suggests,Volk deals more directly with those Nazis, and also took a deeper look at the Juke, what made it tick, and the long-game implications of its existence. Volk takes the action from a small utopian logging town in northern Idaho in 1911, to Bavaria and France in 1931. Together, they form the longest single narrative I’ve written: The Book of the Juke.

Illustration of the town of Eliada, for Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, by Lawrence Nickle

Both volumes of The Book of the Juke are available now in e-book (and print-on-demand) editions from Open Road Integrated Media, with beautiful new covers. It’s a re-launch rather than a launch, so neither books have the benefit of the kind of reviews and blog posts that a brand new novel would on launch-day.

But the two did receive some attention when they originally came out. Reviews and interviews and blog posts. I’ve gathered some links to those reviews and some interviews such as still persist online – as well as a sample from the start of Volk, on The Devil’s Exercise Yard (aka If any of this persuades you to pick up a copy, go ahead and click on the cover images, or the links below.

Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism

Volk: A Novel of Radiant Abomination

So that’s it: a proper – and appropriately hygienic – relaunch! To purchase from various vendors, you can click on the images, or these links.

To Purchase Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism

To Purchase Volk: A Novel of Radiant Abomination

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