Dystopian fantasy novel written by first-time author Andrew Casher ’24 explores meaning of life

English major and newly-published author Andrew Casher ’24 remembers going to the library when he was younger and finding a book that truly piqued his interest—“Silver” by Chris Wooding, a children’s book about a silver beetle that turned people into monsters with a single bite.

“I remember it ended on a cliffhanger,” Casher said. “The main characters were taken away in a helicopter, and I found myself asking: What happened to them? I went online to see if there was a sequel—there wasn’t—and there was a whole forum of people talking about the book.”

That’s what he hopes to accomplish as an up-and-coming author: create a story so captivating that it leaves people wanting more.

Headshot of Andrew Casher
Andrew Casher ’24

Passionate about storytelling since his early teens, Casher wrote several poems and short stories that went unpublished. Ultimately, when he was a junior in high school, he began writing his first book, “Omniscience Among Mortals,” which he finished—and published—during his first year at Gettysburg College.

“It started as a short story, just a few pages, and it was about this unnamed protagonist that had this dream of finding some sort of meaning of life,” said Casher, who set the story aside for some time—allowing it to simmer. “One day, randomly, it came back to me. It was there in my head, and I realized the short story could be a longer-form story.”

Making an analogy between writing and oceans’ rising and retreating tides, Casher said this impromptu moment of ideation was like high tide. He let the ideas flow.

“Sometimes I would surprise myself, and when an idea would pop in my head I thought, ‘Wow, that’s good,” Casher said. “I feel like walking the journey of the story step-by-step with the characters is what kept me motivated to keep writing, because as I was writing, I didn’t quite know yet what was going to happen later in the story. I didn’t know what conflicts would arise and how the characters would evolve. I had ideas for how it might end, but I didn't know how I was going to get there yet. But, by sitting with my thoughts and just writing during the high tides, the characters showed me the way.”

“Omniscience Among Mortals” was independently published last winter, and this debut dystopian fantasy novel by Casher invites readers to explore the meaning of life through the eyes of protagonist Joseph Finn–a lowly government worker. In pursuit of a more profound purpose, Finn escapes his domed-in city that’s ravaged by a super virus known as “The Great Crisis of Man.” After risking his life and leaving everything he knew behind, Finn soon comes to realize that the outside world is not dead as he was led to believe.

Image of Andrew Casher's book jacket with the words Omniscience Among Mortals on the cover
“Omniscience Among Mortals,” written by first-time author Andrew Casher ’24.

Being able to share his story with others, and even more so, holding his first bound book in hand, is an accomplishment Casher said he will cherish forever. However, this is only the beginning—Casher is looking for an agent to represent him and sees more of his works becoming tangible in the not-too-distant future.

“I have a document on my laptop with all these different ideas that I have. There are a bunch,” Casher said. “Right now, I’m working on finishing the last few pages of a children’s book that I’m writing and my girlfriend, Elinor Gass ’24, is illustrating. Once we’re finished, I’m going to explore a sequel for my first book. Generally, I’m going to go with the flow and see what comes next—that’s often how the best ideas are born.”

Learn about the English program at Gettysburg College and how it encourages students to use language as a tool to explore the ethical, cultural, and political complexities of the human experience.

By Molly Foster
Photos by Anh Nguyen ’22
Posted: 11/02/21