In January 2088, life in outer space is rocked with news of its first homicide. The dead man, a young Dominican Priest, had secretly made his way “upside” and lived as a common laborer. His intentions are a mystery and the killer’s identity and motive are questions that the best investigators of the new world cannot answer.
With public order threatened, the reputation of the ruling engineers at stake, and criminal elements seizing the opportunity to gain control, authorities seek help from Earth—itself recovering from decades of war and environmental crises. With assistance from the Vatican, they recruit Father John Francis McClellan, a parish priest from Boston and a retired US Marine Corps expert in “high-defs,” the artificially intelligent three-dimensional printers that built the new world.
A Printer’s Choice tells a story of faith, the future, and the power of free will. It explores questions about sentience, choice, and the necessity of choosing well. Set in locations on Earth and in the orbits, the story takes place in a future extrapolated from today’s geopolitical and ecological turmoil. In this epic debut novel, author W. L. Patenaude illuminates not just the struggles of our world, but also the promises and implications of building a better one, one choice at a time.
About the Author
W. L. PATENAUDE
Educated in engineering and theology, W. L. Patenaude has been writing and speaking on the intersection of faith and reason for almost two decades. Raised Catholic, Patenaude abandoned the Church in his teens. He adopted pagan and agnostic beliefs as he pursued his degree in mechanical engineering, and later his career with Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management—an occupation he’s still enjoying after twenty-nine years. In 1999, Patenaude returned to the Catholic Church and soon after began writing about the Catholic understanding of ecological protection. In 2011, he received a master’s degree in theology.
With this diverse background, Patenaude has reached beyond his environmental regulatory career by serving as a special lecturer in theology at Providence College, providing religious education for local parishes, and writing for national publications, including Catholic World Report. He’s also provided analysis for The National Catholic Register, Catholic News Agency, Associated Press, National Geographic, Crux, the Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Patenaude is a Knight Commander with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. When he’s not writing, regulating, or teaching, Patenaude takes care of an elderly parent, exercises, gardens, and spends time pondering the heavens that have inspired his debut novel, A Printer’s Choice.
Theologian Patenaude’s masterful debut novel tells a gripping story of the near future. In 2088, life in outer space is now a reality thanks to advanced 3-D printing technology. A seemingly orderly world is shattered by the news of outer space’s first homicide. The victim is a Catholic priest, leading to much speculation about both the priest’s reasons for going up to atheistic outer space and the suspected murderer’s motives. With political stability threatened, the Vatican, still powerful on a war-torn, environmentally damaged Earth, sends a parish priest and former Marine, Father John McClellan, to investigate. McClellan’s experience with 3-D printers may be the key to solving the mystery. This is a superb morality tale in which the power of free will and the implications of making good choices are carefully woven together. Patenaude’s take on the possibilities of technology is inventive and in line with contemporary science, and his work truly shines as a nuanced, character-driven drama. This work is a must-read for those who enjoy thought-provoking, challenging speculative fiction. (starred review)
Dr. Kelly Scott Franklin
Writer, Assistant Professor of English at Hillsdale College
The novel grabs our attention from the first page, and delivers a suspenseful whodunit set in the chilled darkness of outer space. There are rumors that the novel could be the first in a series, and we certainly hope those rumors are true.
Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Complex, action-packed and thought-provoking all at once, A Printer’s Choice is a uniquely crafted piece that doesn’t handily limit itself to a single genre, but spreads its message and vision across a broad spectrum to attract a diverse audience of readers who like their sci-fi intricate, original and compelling.
Author of A Fierce Green Fire
Father McClellan is as artfully drawn and compelling in his hard-won spiritual wisdom works. He uses his Marine toughness, programming skills, and gritty faith to sort out potential motivations and methods to solve the murder of an undercover priest, Father Tanglao. An engineer himself, Patenaude describes all the technological details, societal tensions, and moral ambiguities of New Athens with confidence and finesse. The most compelling passages, though, are the human ones, where McClellan and other characters grapple with their troubled pasts and future options, and the free will choices before them.
Dr. Jason King
Professor of Theology, St. Vincent College
Just as Aragorn embodied the role of a king in the Lord of the Rings, Father McClellan’s portrayal in A Printer’s Choice captures what Christians and priests should be. His actions speak of a love for others grounded in a God who is love itself. By setting his story in the future and space, Patenaude enables readers to see the universality of this truth—that the choice to love is at the heart of the universe—more clearly.
Cheryl E. Rodriguez
W.L. Patenaude pens an out of this world, whodunit mystery in A Printer’s Choice.
Mr. Patenaude is a highly skilled and masterful storyteller. He crafts a story that is unique and absorbing. The ability to weave elements of science fiction, faith, and purpose into one book is truly inspiring.