Tom Sweterlitsch

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Tom Sweterlitsch
Born (1977-10-21) October 21, 1977 (age 46)
Iowa, United States
GenreScience fiction

Tom Sweterlitsch (born October 21, 1977)[1] is an American author who has published the novels Tomorrow and Tomorrow and The Gone World.


In Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Sweterlitsch addresses the cultural shift of recent years in a dystopian version of the United States. Facing depression, the main protagonist spends too much time in virtual reality, mourning his pregnant wife, dead in a nuclear terrorist attack that destroyed Pittsburgh.[2] He also looks at problems created by highly personalized advertising.[3][4][5]

In The Gone World, the author uses time travel in a new way: people can travel only to the future, creating a temporary possibility that disappears when the traveler comes back. In the novel, the technique is used for solving crimes. Unfortunately, the protagonists discover the end of the world is getting closer and closer to the present as they explore the future.[6][7]


Sweterlitsch was introduced to fiction while playing tabletop role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, when he was teenager. He discovered his love for storytelling while remixing a novel from the Dragonlance Saga in sixth grade.[8][9]

Science fiction creators that have influenced him include the writers J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Alice Sheldon,[7] and films by Paul Verhoeven.[9] He is also influenced by Edgar Allan Poe[9] and Raymond Chandler,[10] additionally mentioning William Gibson, Jeff VanderMeer, and Stephen King. Outside of science fiction, Sweterlitsch has expressed appreciation for the works of Dante, Emily Dickinson, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Gustave Flaubert.[11]

More specifically, for Tomorrow and Tomorrow, he was inspired by The Invention of Morel, by Adolfo Bioy Casares and by The City & The City by China Miéville.[11] For The Gone World, he took inspiration from conversations with his late father-in-law, a U.S. Department of Defense physicist with whom he discussed time travel, and his brother-in-law, a real-life NCIS agent whom he once asked how time travel would affect criminal investigations. [10]

Personal life[edit]

Sweterlitsch has a master's degree in literary and cultural theory from Carnegie Mellon and worked for twelve years at the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Born in Iowa, he was raised in Canton, Ohio. He later moved to Pittsburgh, where he lives with his wife and daughter.[10]



  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow (2014)
  • The Gone World (2018)

Short stories[edit]

  • "The Disposable Man" (2012)
  • "The Sandbox Singularity" (2018)
  • "Neuro-Dancer" (2020)

Movie scripts[edit]

  • Rakka (2017), with Oats Studios
  • Firebase (2017), with Oats Studios
  • Zygote (2017), with Oats Studios


  1. ^ "Tom Sweterlitsch". GoodReads. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  2. ^ Humann, Heather Duerre (August 13, 2019). "Reconstructing reality in Tomorrow and Tomorrow". Reality Simulation in Science Fiction Literature, Film and Television. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 66–75. ISBN 978-1-4766-7753-8.
  3. ^ Rieder, Gernot; Völker, Thomas (2020). "Datafictions: or how measurements and predictive analytics rule imagined future worlds". Journal of Science Communication. 19 (1): –02. doi:10.22323/2.19010202. S2CID 212432146.
  4. ^ Vint, Sherryl (2015). "Introduction to 'the futures industry'" (PDF). Paradoxa. 27 (1): 7–19.
  5. ^ Schnelbach, Leah (July 15, 2014). "Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Apocalypse in the Steel City". Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  6. ^ Liptak, Andrew (March 3, 2018). "The Gone World is a brilliant, complicated novel about the consequences of time travel". The Verge. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  7. ^ a b "A Conversation with Tom Sweterlitsch About "The Gone World"". MysteryTribune. January 5, 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  8. ^ Interview with Tom Sweterlitsch, 2018, retrieved January 9, 2022
  9. ^ a b c Nicolas Martin (December 24, 2021). "Grand entretien avec Tom Sweterlitsch". La méthode scientifique. 59 minutes in. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c O'Driscoll, Bill (January 31, 2018). "Local author Tom Sweterlitsch on his second science-fiction novel — and his Hollywood connections". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  11. ^ a b LetterSwitch (July 16, 2014). ""I Am Scifi / Cyberpunk Author Thomas Sweterlitsch of Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Ama!"". r/books. Archived from the original (Reddit Post) on January 10, 2022. Retrieved January 10, 2022.