Ignatius Xavier Ryan, SJ

Ignatius Xavier Ryan, SJ, is the protagonist of my novel Terraformed Earth – New Millennium. Ignatius was born in 2044 to Edmund Ryan and Xaviera Torres in Philadelphia, PA. Edmund was an American soldier who lost his life in a nameless border war in Azerbaijan in 2059. Xaviera was the rebellious daughter of a wealthy Catholic family who married Edmund, a college boyfriend, despite her family’s disapproval.

While Ignatius was a boy Edmund was frequently away on deployment. When he was not, Edmund and Ignatius spent  lot of time camping in the Ozarks, near Edmund’s hometown of Kansas City. Ignatius learned a lot about woodland survival, which will stand him in good stead in ways he cannot imagine.

During Edmund’s frequent absences, Xaviera and Ignatius led a happy life. When they learned of Edmund’s death, Xaviera felt compelled to control Ignatius tightly lest she lose him as well. As he grew, Ignatius was drawn to the Society of Jesus by the faith he shared with her. He joined the Jesuits at least in part to escape his mother’s suffocating embrace. Her family supported him and Xaviera gave him her reluctant approval.

Ignatius spent fifteen happy years in the Society, being ordained and receiving a Ph.D. in linguistics. He was in his first year of a faculty appointment at Georgetown University when he contracted cancer. His cancer advanced rapidly and Ignatius returned to the Novitiate in Wernersville, PA where he had been a novice. He made his peace with God and was prepared to die.

Xaviera was not as ready as Ignatius to accept his death. She hired two men to kidnap Ignatius and deliver him to a research facility in Philadelphia where she had been funding Dr. Bruno Ghirardi’s research in cryogenic preservation of humans. Dr. Ghirardi agreed to preserve Ignatius as one of his first patients.

Ignatius was awakened 75 years later by Dr. Ghirardi’s granddaughter. She had cured his cancer but Dr. Ghirardi, his mother, and everyone he had ever known was dead. Worse, his reanimation caused a theological crisis regarding the doctrine of resurrection. To defuse the controversy Cardinal Bienvenista, the Pope’s camerlengo, ordered Ignatius to reenter cryogenic sleep and spend the next millennium in a spacecraft on a deep cometary orbit, crewed by an artificial intelligence named Grace. Ignatius appealed this assignment to the Pope, a spiritual figure who asked Ignatius to carry the Gospel message forward into an uncertain future. Caught between abandonment and banishment, Ignatius chose to travel into a future without faith or hope.

Ignatius and Grace return in 3261 to an environmental paradise on Earth with little sign of humanity. New Millennium details Ignatius’ life in the far future, in a world of orbiting laser battle stations and the Seventeen Cities, partially buried centers for environmental remediation scattered across the globe. After descending to Earth in the Ozark forest near S’Loo, one of the seventeen cities, Ignatius meets Cats, young breeders for S’Loo, Engineers, managers of S’Loo’s infrastructure and the Young, genetically enhanced post-humans who control S’Loo. The Young of the seventeen cities have largely restored the biosphere and are discussing whether to eliminate humanity entirely when their plans reach fruition.

Ignatius, his faith in tatters, hopes only to survive. Against his will, he finds himself compelled to try to change a world rich in life but devoid of compassion. To do that, first he must change himself.

Terraformed Earth – New Millennium is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

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