Rob Swigart books in order
Rob Swigart is an American poet, short story writer, futurist, archaeology scholar and author of archaeology writing, technothrillers, and science fiction novels.
Born in Chicago, Swigart majored in English at Princeton University, and holds a PhD in comparative literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
He served as an Associate Professor at San Jose University for more than three decades, and was also Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University Archaeology Center.
Although he loved writing from an early age, it wasn’t until graduate school that Swigart took up writing passionately.
His poetry and fiction works have appeared in several magazines, including Antaeus, Atlantic Monthly, Epoch, Fiction, Michigan Quarterly Review, and New England Review, among others.
Swigart, who won a Nautilus Gold Award in 2019 for his book Mixed Harvest, currently lives in California.
Genres: Fantasy / SF, Technothrillers
- Little America (1977)
- A.K.A.: A Cosmic Fable (1978)
- The Time Trip (1979)
- The Book of Revelations (1981)
- Portal (1988)
- Xibalba Gate: A Novel of the Ancient Maya (2005)
- Stone Mirror: A Novel of the Neolithic (2007)
- Mixed Harvest (2019)
- The Delphi Agenda (2014)
- Tablet of Destinies (2016)
Thriller in Paradise
- Vector (1986)
- Toxin (1989)
- Venom (1991)
Detailed book overview
Little America is a modern Oedipal romp through hilarious adventures as the major characters race westward toward their destinies to Little America, Wyoming, in the bicentennial year of 1976.
Orville Hollinday has always struggled to both please and get even with his father, Senior, who constantly belittles him. Orville keeps trying to blow up Senior's cadillacs. Senior just doesn't notice.
Orville moves to Little America to find a girl just like the girl, Flora, who married his father. He doesn't know that Senior and Flora, each with a different partner, will ultimately make surprise appearances in Wyoming.
First Release: 1977
Avery K. Augenblaue, gazillionaire, leaves for outer space in his bagel shaped space ship. When he gets back all hell breaks loose. Available from the author, who has several hundred copies of the British paperback version. This is the only one of my novels that is completely out of print, which makes it a rare book indeed.
First Release: 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
After his bored and ignored wife, Penny Gamesh, ends it all by sticking her head inside a microwave oven and checking into the afterlife, her husband, Barney, discovers he loves her and wants her back.
He engineers a daring computer crime, plugging into a network of government computers, and travels back in time to Mesopotamia, 2542 B.C., to talk to King Gilgamesh, who tried to unlock the secrets of immortality. There, Barney falls in love with Penny's former incarnation, a temple prostitute.
And he explores his capacity for love and friendship and challenges the mystery of death. The results surprise everyone.
First Release: 1979
What happens when the miraculous bursts into everyday life, when coincidences mount, you hear odd voices, time is altered and the skies take on strange shapes and meanings? The Book of Revelations is the New Age saga of Cassie St. Clair, who must become the bridge between three alien intelligences on this planet (dolphins, elephants, and man). She is the prophet of a new era of planetary consciousness.
This is a cosmic adventure, a Gnostic puzzle, and a prophetic vision. Cassie, as a futures researcher at a think tank in Menlo Park, CA., begins having disturbing visions and fantasies that seem, with the passage of time, to come true. They are trying to contact us, and they are here. They've been here all along.
First Release: 1981
Originally published as an interactive novel on computer disk in 1986, Portal is the story of an astronaut who returns to earth from a mysteriously aborted mission prematurely awakened from suspended animation. One hundred years have passed; animals and plants thrive, cities stand intact. Every human being however has disappeared.
With the help of a slowly-reviving computer network, the astronaut begins to piece together the events of the last century. He learns of the child prodigy Peter Devore, of a world orchestrated by stunning new technologies, and of Peter's race against time to unlock the secrets of the Portal.
First Release: 1988
Professor Van Weathers has just revolutionized the teaching of Maya archaeology. His lifelike computer simulation Xibalbá Gate places his students in the world of the Late Classic Maya, where political strife, overpopulation, warfare, and social disorganization are in evidence in the soon-to-collapse civilization.
Weathers’ real life is also under strain—his wife is disenchanted, his son a cynic, his students disinterested, his excavation project blocked by a mysterious Latin American holding company. No wonder he loses himself in the world of King Knot Eye of Xultunich for days on end.
But the real world problems magnify—a murder, an illness, an explosion—while he tries to negotiate a treaty with a neighboring city, marry the king’s daughter, and engage in a bloodletting ceremony to right a world out of balance.
Can he solve the rapidly-merging problems of his virtual world and the modern one while the Nine Lords of Xibalbá, rulers of the Maya underworld, are on the loose?
This novel/textbook by noted writer and futurist Rob Swigart offers both an accurate reconstruction of Maya life for introductory archaeology students and an entertaining read for those interested in the Maya world.”
First Release: 2005
Publisher: AltaMira Press
A large obsidian mirror is found by a Turkish farmer on top of a mound. How did it get there? What does it mean, for then and now?
In this teaching novel by writer Rob Swigart, the story toggles back and forth between the story of a Neolithic village– and the changing fortunes of the family who find this wondrous tool– and a tale of modern archaeologists whose excavated finds stir journalists, governments, and goddess worshippers alike. In doing so, Swigart’s novel provides both a basic reconstruction of Neolithic lifeways and a primer of contemporary archaeological politics and practice.
For students in introductory archaeology classes, courses on the Neolithic, or on ethical issues, Stone Mirror will be a fun, informative introduction both to archaeology and to the people archaeologists study.”
First Release: 2007
After millennia of wandering the earth with little impact, a universal, if inadvertent transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and pastoralism was complete within a few thousand years.
Mixed Harvest tells the story of the Sedentary Divide, the most significant event since modern humans emerged. Before the Sedentary Divide, humans followed their food; afterward, the human diet had abandoned wild foods by domesticating, and irrevocably changing, plants and animals.
People remained in one place and kept their food close. Agriculture was so successful that religious and social belief systems evolved to enforce its consequences: social inequality, exploitation of resources, constrained gender relations, and increasingly devastating conflict.
First Release: 2019
Publisher: Berghahn Books
Papyrologist Lisa Emmer's world flips when the Surete meets her at her Metro station with news of the savage murder of the esteemed Paris historian Dr. Raimond Foix, her friend and mentor in the study of ancient documents.
Horrified, Lisa finds clues at the crime scene left behind for her by her mentor - clues to a secret kept hidden for centuries. These clues make her a prime suspect in the murder investigation, and also put her directly in the cross-hairs of a deadly commando group that proves to be none other than a contemporary offshoot of the Inquisition.
They want an ancient document that reveals a secret so explosive it could change the world - a document they've been tracking for centuries. Led by a sadistic priest and a vicious but very accomplished nun with excellent military cred, their mission is to destroy the document - no matter what the cost in blood.
Desperate to clear her name and to stay alive, with the help of a handsome yet mysterious banker, Lisa must solve the clues and uncover the millennia-old secret before her adversaries can find and destroy it. Since she was a child Lisa had suffered from uncontrollable fugue states. Now she discovers just in time that what she always thought was a liability may in fact be an almost paranormal ability to see things in ways others cannot.
The trail leads everywhere from ancient cemeteries and tombs throughout France to Istanbul and Greece, as Lisa and Steve desperately stay one step ahead of their enemies, solving the clues to a dangerous treasure hunt their lives now depend upon.
First Release: 2014
A clay tablet turns up, containing a prophecy of demons, a snake goddess, and the birth of a "disruptive" miraculous child. A prophecy so dangerous the tablet was smashed to bits, and the shards scattered to all the cities of the ancient world to prevent reassembling, until a Jesuit scholar's vision sets the prophecy in motion in Paris, where the pieces have lain for centuries, half a world and three millennia away from their source.
Yet very close to the current home of Lisa Emmer, chosen the Pythia, head of the Delphi Agenda, because of her gift of sight, and trained in ancient world studies by a mentor who promised to "teach you life"; more accurately, he might have said "teach you to save the world from evil." Prophecy is Lisa's bailiwick - she's the modern-day Delphic Oracle, head of a secret organization whose purpose is to protect the world from rogue conspiracies within the Church.
Over the centuries, the Delphi Agenda has prevented the cult of Ophis Sophia from the fulfillment of their doomsday prophecy several times. Now, in a suspenseful race against an alignment of planets and comets that signals the "wondrous child's" impending birth, Lisa speeds to find and protect the mother and child. If she's too late, "disruption" will take on a devastating new meaning.
First Release: 2016
Thriller in Paradise
ONLY a tough scientist and a clever island cop can stop them from loosing it on an unsuspecting world! Not often do you see a hard-boiled police procedural that’s also part action-adventure technothriller, but this one’s a knockout--a great mystery with plenty of local Hawaii color:
Detective Cobb Takamura's idea of a busy night is a few drunken tourists and a jaywalker. That is, until the flood of killings begins, when suddenly the tropical paradise he calls home becomes a raging inferno of violence and bloodshed. Seemingly the victims—who all died screaming of unknown causes, have nothing in common.
With the help of scientist and martial artist Chazz Koenig, Takamura tracks the deadly conspirators— and their state-of-the-art biological weaponry.
First Release: 1986
Hawaii police lieutenant Cobb Takamura and molecular biologist Chazz Koenig return in this tale in which the murder of an unpopular real estate developer leads to the inner circles of international defense.
On the same day that Victor Linz is shot during an early morning jog, reports filter in that an out-of-orbit satellite may land on Kauai. A reporter tailing an intelligence officer from the mainland is found near the remote site of the satellite crash; he is comatose and suffering from severe skin and internal ailments. Panic follows when a rumor spreads that the satellite carried a deadly toxin.
Cobb must conduct the murder investigation and maintain calm on the island all while negotiating with one of the murder suspects who is hijacking a commercial airliner. Meanwhile, Koenig races the clock to control the effects of the toxin.
First Release: 1989
As darkness gathers above the gorgeous Hawaiian island of Kauai, a small ship drifts into harbor, unpowered and in danger of running aground. On board are seven bodies. Lieutenant Cobb Takamura soon traces the death ship's route and the cause of death to an exotic venom.
As he navigates the tricky waters of international politics, biologist Chazz Koenig tries to isolate the poison. But they can't stop two more women from being brutally murdered.
A killer is loose in the island paradise, and as he assumes various guises he moves closer to the families of the men who pursue him.
First Release: 1991