With his debut novel, Chicago writer Michael Moreci is on the verge of sci-fi stardom.
Chicago author Michael Moreci
Science fiction and fantasy have left a literal mark on Michael Moreci. “I have the Rebel Alliance sigil on my right arm,” he says, referencing his tattooed tribute to Star Wars.
Moreci’s other ink? Stories for Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and The Flash as a frequent contributor to DC Comics; 2015’s critically acclaimed series, Roche Limit; and bylines for pop culture tastemakers like Tor.com. The 37-year-old industry vet is about to command even more attention with the release through St. Martin’s Press of his debut novel, Black Star Renegades, which chronicles protagonist Cade Sura’s rip-roaring efforts to combat intergalactic evil after being equipped with an “impossibly powerful weapon.” But Luke Skywalker reincarnate he is not, Moreci insists.
“It’s a Star Wars book—I wear that heart on my sleeve,” the Oak Park resident says. “But it’s also an anti-Star Wars book, in a way, because he’s not a messiah, he’s not Luke…. He’s not this savior figure. The beauty of the story is the idea of community and pulling together.”
Featuring an unlikely protagonist tasked with saving the galaxy, Michael Moreci’s debut novel, Black Star Renegades, channels the freewheeling spirit of Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.
While the story’s nod to its source material should appeal to the genre’s diehards, Moreci hopes the work’s humor and crossover appeal entice the lay reader as well. Moreci acknowledges the plot’s underlying sociopolitical current (“We have a very powerful messiah narrative in the United States…. A lot of the book is about the danger of putting too much hope into one person”), but it’s commentary that doesn’t get in the way of his chief goal: to entertain. Sums up Moreci, “We want people to have a good time reading it.”
The novel is the likely byproduct lifelong fascination with science fiction and fantasy, first gestated with boyhood consumption of classics like Star Trek and The Hobbit and solidified in high school after reading Kurt Vonnegut’s seminal novel The Sirens of Titan. And though his stories whisk readers across the galaxy, Moreci’s brand of storytelling is uniquely informed by his Chicago upbringing. “Black Star is kind of a kinetic book, because that’s what the genre is,” says Moreci, who grew up near Midway Airport. “I lived under a flight path, planes barreling over my house my entire life. I have that kind of kineticism built into who I am.” michaelpmoreci.com
Photography by: MICHAEL MORECI PHOTO BY CHAD LEVERENZ; COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF ST. MARTIN’S PRESS