AESTUS | Sci-fi dystopian

An underground city, built centuries ago to ride out the devastating heat. A society under attack. And a young solar engineer whose skills may be the key to saving her city…if she doesn’t get herself killed first.

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Rating: 5 out of 5.
“…at the level of Frank Herbert’s Dune.”
– IHeartSci-Fi

Rating: 5 out of 5.
“One of the best books I’ve ever read.”
– The Very Bookish

Rating: 5 out of 5.
“…masterful…on par with the best in the genre.”
– A. R. Saida 

Rating: 5 out of 5.
“Aestus Book 1: The City is flat out one of the best science fiction novels I’ve read in recent years….As a science fiction writer myself, I have to say that S.Z. Atwell is a gifted writer who knows how to maintain suspense as well as anyone writing today….”
– C. Dorman 

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When Jossey was ten, the creatures of the aboveground took her brother and left her for dead, with horrible scars. Now, years later, she’s a successful solar engineer, working to keep her underground city’s power running, but she’s never really recovered. After she saves dozens of people during a second attack, she is offered a top-secret assignment as a field Engineer with Patrol, but fear prevents her from taking it…until Patrol finds bones near where her brother disappeared.  

She signs on and finds herself catapulted into a world that is far more dangerous, and requires far more of her, than she ever imagined. The creatures and the burning heat aboveground are not the only threats facing the City, and what she learns during her assignment could cost her her life: one of the greatest threats to the City may in fact lie within. With thousands of lives at stake, can she act in time?

Aestus is an adult dystopian science-fiction series set centuries after climate change has ravaged much of Earth. An epic story of vengeance, power, shifting loyalties, and survival that looks at just how far people will go to protect what they love, brought to you by science writer S.Z. Attwell, Aestus paints a picture of a world in which far too little has changed. 

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Blog and news/events

Blog | S.Z. Attwell

On marketing

In August 2020, I published my first novel. I didn’t want to do the traditional route for several reasons, including creative control and the long timeframe, so I went all-in on the self-publishing journey. As of May 2022, I have, thank God, sold enough books to be admitted as a member of the SFWA (Science […]

On authentic-sounding writing

I love a book that immerses you. The character interactions feel legitimate, the worldbuilding makes sense, the scenes feel cinematic…and the plot organically builds on itself. Below are some of my thoughts on how to write a book that does the above. I hope to add more to this post. Please check this section for […]

On Public Libraries

When I was a kid, my mom would take me to the library every week. The rule was that I could get as many books as I wanted, but I had to carry them. I took this very literally. I would stagger up to the counter with a stack as high as my chin, sometimes […]


S.Z. Attwell is a science writer and science-fiction/dystopian author. She is a member of the SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association) and her work has been featured in Simultaneous Times podcast. The first book in her series Aestus was a 2021 finalist for the Kindle Book Award. In her free time, she also does photography and archery. She lives in the Boston area.

Find her on social media at @szattwellauthor (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter)!