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Orphans of Canland

"A complicated, rich, and challenging work . . . An impressive debut that goes beneath surface issues of climate-apocalypse fiction."

-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Orphans of Canland is an elegant, poetic, sprawling dreamscape. Vitale has artfully constructed a whole other world, and the inner worlds of his characters are equally vast. Touching, frightening, painfully human."

-Elvia Wilk, author of Oval

"A richly imagined and deeply felt novel that steers unafraid into the Big Questions."

-Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying

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"Orphans of Canland is a rich and engaging tale of ecological disaster."


"A deftly crafted work of dystopian literary fiction . . . An original and compelling novel."

-Midwest Book Review

It’s 2088, and the dust has settled on America, decades after an environmental collapse. The eco-totalitarian organization, WORLD, has reconfigured society with the intention of restoring nature. Twelve-year-old eternal optimist Tristan Weekes lives in what he believes must be paradise: Canland, an agrarian California desert-greening project. However, Tristan’s life-defining medical condition, analgesia, prevents him from feeling physical pain, leaving his brain’s stress centers unresponsive to everything from ego-blows to heatwaves.


Well-intended, curious, and wielding a stunning vocabulary, Tristan loves to listen to the subversive theories spouted by his older brother, Dylan, a drug-addicted satellite hacker. He also wants to prove his independence to his mother, Helena, a powerful population control-extremist. Meanwhile, all around him, the survivors of the environmental collapse are just working toward a better tomorrow. But when a slew of violent acts befalls Canland, Tristan must confront certain truths about the community he loves—including his family’s secrets, his own involvement in the horrors enacted by WORLD, and the debts that are owed to the orphans of Canland.


In this work of literary fiction, set against the backdrop of a frighteningly plausible dystopia, Daniel Vitale explores the fate of our planet, the nature of family, and the duty of science, as Orphans of Canland asks: What does it mean to belong on Earth?

About Daniel Vitale

Daniel Vitale is a graduate of Amherst College and recipient of a Lane Fellowship for Creative Arts. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and dog. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Orphans of Canland is his first novel.

Vitale Author Headshot.jpeg
Orphans of Canland

News & Other Writing

March 5, 2023 Los Angeles Times op-ed: One Surprising Hope for Climate Change? Fiction

November 15, 2022 Orphans of Canland is out now!

August 8, 1992 Daniel is born


The Writing Cooperative

Speculative Fiction Showcase

A Good Book to End the Day

Jean the Book Nerd


Contact Daniel

or use dvitale15[at]gmail[dot]com

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