Marshall T. Savage

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Marshall Savage, circa 2014

Marshall Thomas Savage (born 6 August 1955) is an entrepreneur, business executive, energy innovator and futurist from Rifle, Colorado. He currently lives in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Early life

Savage was born in Grand Valley, Colorado [1], on 6 August 1955, to John Savage Sr. and Joan (nee Leonhardt), the third of four sons. The Savage family continues to be very active in the development of natural gas, real estate, water, timber, and wind power in Colorado.

See main article: Savage Family of Rifle, Colorado

In 1963, John and Joan Savage moved their family of four sons to Graham Mesa in Rifle, Colorado.

During the 1968 to 1969 year, his parents took him and his siblings out of school for a trip to Europe.

For me, I think the key moment in the whole idea of Man in space came with the first orbital fly by of the Moon. Somehow that impressed me more even than the Moon landing, because it was the idea that these are the first guys who went into outer space. They left the Earth. They weren’t just flying in orbit. They were out there in deep space. My family and I had taken a year off and we were traveling around Europe in a Volkswagen van. I think we were the first yuppie hippy family in history. And we were on the island of Rhodes, Christmas Eve 1968. Terrible weather. Rain pelting down, absolutely black outside. And we’re all jammed up in our own little life support capsule there, and we’re listening to the radio. These guys, these men. The first true spacemen. And their voice came disembodied from the depths of space. I didn’t grow up with a religious background, but when they started reading from the book of Genesis, and [I was] listening to these guys on Christmas Eve out there in the depths for the first time. It just touched me at a vital chord that said: this is the future; and not just the future of mankind but [my] personal future. [I felt] these guys [were] talking to [me].

— Savage, telling his story on the documentary Space Colonies in 1999.

Savage attended Rifle High [2], likely from Fall 1969 to Spring 1973.

He took a gap year from Fall 1973 to Spring 1974.

At some point during the Spokane, Washington World's Fair, 4 May to 3 November 1974, Savage "and his buddies" drove up to the region. He never forgot its beauty, as 23 years later he would move his young family there permanently to live nearby, in Idaho, in late 1997.

After high school, Savage's original ambition was to become an astronaut. He was accepted for Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder) [3]. However, when it became clear that Spiro Agnew's plan for a post-Apollo space program was not going to happen, he declined to continue.

Savage instead opted to follow his other interest, literature, and attend Swarthmore College, which he attended for one full year (two semesters) from Fall 1974 to Spring 1975.

In early 1975 Gerard K. O'Neill came to Swarthmore to deliver a speech on space colonies. This re-ignited Savage's interest in space. Savage attended a conference, likely the 7-9 May 1975 Space Manufacturing conference, in Princeton [4] put on by Dr. O'Neill.

He then took a break from school for three years, missing the 1975-6, 1976-7, and 1977-8 school years.

Savage, April 1978, working for the California Museum of Science and Industry

While taking a break from his studies, on 20 April 1978, he was featured in the Yuma Daily Sun while working for the California Museum of Science and Industry's travelling team. His team visited elementary schools, in this case San Pasqual School of Yuma, Arizona. The exhibits gave students "firsthand experiences with recent events in the fields of mathematics, the human body, electricity, minerals, science, space exploration, and energy."

Savage took two further semesters at Swarthmore, in Fall 1978 and Fall 1979.

Perhaps inspired from his experience with the California Museum of Science and Industry, he attended the University of Southern California (USC), taking a variety of classes, including film studies and television production, [5], ultimately completing his English degree there and graduating in 1981. [6].

After graduation

After graduating from USC, aged 26, he returned to Rifle to participate in managing his family's business interests.

Shale Energy Corporation of America

In the mid-80s Savage also worked for a small company, Shale Energy Corporation of America (ECA) in Denver.

West Anvil Water & Power Company

One project he worked on for about five years was a campaign to build a dam on the Colorado River. He founded an entity called "West Anvil Water & Power Company". He established it with family members to develop the Webster Hill reservoir and hydropower project on the Colorado River. In 1982 this entity applied for a permit to build a dam on this river, submitting an environmental assessment and resource management plan for Glenwood Springs Resource Area, but the application was ultimately rejected by the relevant regulatory agencies. It was after this time, circa 1984, that Savage began to write what would become The Millennial Project, in his spare time.

Quality Times Audio Bookstore

Savage, 3 March 1987, at Quality Times Audio Bookstore, Denver

Circa 1987, with his younger brother Dan, he founded a pioneering audiobook store called Quality Times Audio Bookstore, in Denver, Colorado.

"As children we were carefully taught how to read," he said in an interview on 1 April 1987 with the Denver Post. "But not many people have been taught listening skills. One thing audio books are very good at is reawakening that latent ability to understand and follow the spoken word."

More important than the difference between reading and listening, Savage said, is the difference between watching a story on television and listening to a storyteller.

"The fundamental difference between theater of the eye and theater of the mind is that when you watch TV, everything is presynthesized for you. Theater of the mind is so much more powerful by comparison. Look at what happened in 1938 when Orson Welles' 'War of the Worlds' was aired over national radio. The whole country went berserk. Get a message orally, and your mind fills in the details. Believe me, George Lucas cannot provide the props and special effects that my imagination produces spontaneously."

Tri-County Ambulance

He returned to Rifle in about 1991 to start an ambulance transfer business called Tri-County Ambulance. Marshall Savage and his brother John Savage were volunteers on the Ambulance Transfer business, but ultimately they decided to buy an ambulance, and start charging people for it. At its peak they had 2 brand-new ambulances. He handed the day-to-day management of this business over to his bride, whom he had just married, in 1993. She managed the business until 1997 when they sold it and moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Savage Land Company

Savage was also involved as a supervisor of his eldest brother's construction business, building homes on Graham Mesa in Rifle. Savage did not want to continue in this role, however, and resolved to leave Rifle in 1997.

Writing Career

- Savage self-published The Millennial Project, in 1992. He mailed copies to authors he admired, and this provoked an admiring response by Arthur C. Clarke, who agreed to write the forward to a second edition should it be printed. This attracted the attention of a serious publisher, Little, Brown, and so in summer 1994 this second edition was published with the forward by Arthur C. Clarke. Approximately 25,000 copies were printed, with 14,000 sold, turning Savage into a noted futurist overnight, with hundreds of enthusiastic followers.

- In November 1997 Savage's 17,000-word feature article "Convergence with Destiny" was published in the 5th of 13 issues of the First Millennial Foundation / Living Universe Foundation's publication, Distant Star.

- As of early 1997, he was working on another book, on longevity, tentatively titled The Methuselah Project, but at some point afterwards, shelved the project.

- As of August 2018, Savage is working on an expansion of the Moon chapter from TMP into a standalone book, entitled TMP 2.0 (not to be confused with Eric Hunting's website with the same name, which Eric worked on from about 2001 to 2011).

Marriage and family

In about 1993 he married Tami Savage and became step-father to her two children from a previous marriage to a man called Mr. Eichman.

  • Jeffrey Michael "Jeff" Eichman (born 1983)
  • Matthew "Matt" Eichman (born 1986) [7], a chef. Currently Executive Director of the Savage Catering Group in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.

He had two children with Tami:

  • Dyson A. Savage (named after futurist Freeman Dyson [8]), born circa December 1995. [9] On 13 May 2018 he graduated from the University of Idaho with a double major in Economics and Finance.
  • Mackensie Savage (born circa 1998) [10] [11]. As of 24 December 2016 she works at Shopko Coeur d'Alene [12].

The Millennial Project

Savage, from the inside jacket of TMP, circa 1992
Cover of the first, self-published, edition, 1992

From about December 1992 to about November 1997, he was an active member of the tech futurist community, especially after the publication in 1992 of his 512-page magnum opus, The Millennial Project (TMP).

TMP discusses an expansive vision of the future for humanity, a utopian vision where men live among the stars in space colonies.

In this boldly optimistic manifesto, Savage proclaims a master plan for the human race: to spread life throughout the galaxy. To many, space exploration seems irrelevant to Earth's real problems; but humanity may in fact have no other way to secure its long-term survival. To remain confined to Earth, Savage claims, is to court extinction, possibly within a few decades. Savage (an engineer who has established the Millennial Foundation to promote space exploration) outlines his program for transferring a significant portion of humanity off-planet. The crucial first step is to colonize the ocean surface with floating cities, quadrupling the living space available to the growing population of Earth. This allows us to reverse the degradation of the environment by shifting to the thermal energy of the deep ocean as our primary power source. At the same time, spirulina algae (already on sale in health food stores) becomes a major new food crop. The hardware for these oceanic colonies is already within practical reach: Savage provides a detailed inventory of how his floating cities would work and support themselves, with copious citations of the scientific literature. Once this move is well underway, it frees up energy and resources for the next steps. Improved space vehicles make possible orbiting space colonies, then settlements on the moon. A larger step is terraforming Mars--creating an atmosphere and a water supply for our lifeless neighbor to form a human habitat. On an even longer time scale, the race can expand into the rest of the solar system: asteroids and the moons of other planets. Ultimately, artificial habitats may completely surround the sun. With the resources of an entire solar system at our command, according to Savage, humanity can at last send out emissaries to other stars. The stuff of science fiction? Of course--but rigorously built from existing science, carefully documented, and convincingly argued. Highly recommended.

— Kirkus Reviews, 1 June 1994 Issue [13]

He wrote TMP and self-published it in 1992 by founding a publishing house, calling it "Empyrean Publishing" ("empyrean" meaning "belonging to or deriving from heaven"), entirely for the purpose of self-publishing TMP. Empyrean Publishing was billed as being based in Denver, Colorado, and only ever published the first edition of TMP and never published anything else. It was managed together with the Savage family's other businesses.

He dedicated the book to his mother:

To my mother, whose love and wisdom illuminate my life

— Marshall T. Savage, The Millennial Project

Savage forwarded a copy of his self-published book to several people he admired, including famed author Arthur C. Clarke, who was interested enough to agree to write the forward for the second edition. Clarke finished writing the forward in his home of Colombo on 7 May 1993. Perhaps this is what convinced a real publishing house to take up the book.

Cover of the second edition, 1994

On 1 August 1994, it was re-printed by famed publishing house Little, Brown & Company. This reprint included a forward by Arthur C. Clarke, one of the leading science fiction writers of the era and President of the National University of Sri Lanka, praising TMP for Savage's "command of a dozen engineering disciplines and his amazing knowledge of scientific and technical literature."

In the late 1980s [sic] futurist author Marshall Savage published what is perhaps the most comprehensive space development and colonization plan ever proposed. Dubbed The Millennial Project (or TMP for short) and detailed in a book of the same name, this millennium-spanning plan set out in colorful detail every major step of human civilization's progression into space, from the cultivation of a new space-focused society and the establishment of a terrestrial renewable energy and industrial infrastructure to drive the initial expansion into space all the way through to the creation of a vast Solar Civilization based predominately on orbital settlements with a collective population of trillions and culminating in the first missions to colonize neighboring stars.

— Eric Hunting, circa 2009 [14]
TMP Step 7: Solaria. Art by Keith Spangle

The book features inspiring, dreamlike art by artist Keith Spangle. [15] He worked closely with Savage to ensure the artwork hewed closely to Savage's vision:

My involvement and Marshal's [sic] depended on the specific illustration. On many of them, Marshall would give me a general idea of what he wanted, then let me do the rest. If I had what I thought was a really cool idea, I would do a fairly detailed color sketch and show it to him. Other times, Marshall had a very specific idea in mind and closely watched and corrected what I was doing. On many of the color illustrations what he wanted was something that would illustrate the idea rather than what the actual thing would look like: the illustration of the endlessly repeated golden spheres is a case in point. It was meant to illustrate the IDEA of a space based society rather than what such a society would actually look like (you probably would not be able to see your closest neighbor). Doing these illustrations was slow and a lot of work, since this was pre-digital. I suspect that with a team of digital artists, Marshall could have produced the book in half the time, and probably would have gotten even better results.

— Keith Spangle, 2017. Private correspondence with Michael Currie.

This book was highly influential on the thinking of a generation of young scientists and visionairies, including entrepreneur Michael Currie and others.

Upon publication in August 1994, TMP was reviewed in several articles. See main article: Reviews of The Millennial Project

The copyright on the book is controlled by the author, Marshall T. Savage, and his publisher, Little, Brown, and Company, which is now owned by Hachette Book Group. [16]. Rights to a film were discussed, possibly with Columbia Pictures, in about 2000, however, nothing came of this.

The second edition of the book had the following results:

Edition Hardcover (Library Binding [17]) Paperback
Printed 1,500 25,000
Shipped to stores or libraries 971 27,000*
Sold 496 14,900
Price (USD) $50.85** $16.95 (FPT [18])
Revenue (USD) $25,221 $252,555
Royalty (estimated) 10% 8%
Author's share (USD) $2,522 $20,204

* higher than the number printed due to returns causing double-counting

** estimated at 3x paperback price

As normal, Savage was paid an advance, which he thought at the time was "quite generous". Like most books, sales were not sufficient for Savage to "earn out" his advance. [19], and a third edition was not printed. It's possible his advance was something on the order of $40,000 - $50,000 USD, and since his royalties were $22,726, he did not "earn out" his advance and receive any additional royalties. However, his publisher still earned a tidy profit, so all parties profited in the end:

Revenue $277,776
Printing and Distribution $92,750
Author's advance $50,000
Publishers' Profit $135,026

* printing and distribution costs are on the order of $3.50 per book [20]

The First Millennial Foundation

See main article: The First Millennial Foundation.

The cover to the 1994 edition of TMP states FMF was founded by Savage in 1987, although formally, the articles for incorporation were signed by Savage on 2 December 1992. Savage founded this Colorado-based organization as being dedicated to promoting the colonization of space. The basic building blocks that he lays out for this grand mission -- extraordinary transport systems, self-sustaining space cities and terraformed planets -- are not fully his own visions, but he explains them in detail in the TMP book.

By January 1995, Savage had an assistant, Theresa Hamilton [21], and TMP had 700 people on their mailing list and 150 memberships, according to correspondence with a student at Whitemore College:

I'm not sure I will totally address your next question, but let me just say, that I don't think that support for Aquarius will be forced at all! We already have almost 700 people on our mailing list and about 150 in actual memberships. Those who become involved with our project in this gestational stage will probably be with us to see Aquarius through. If support continues as it has over the last 6 months, we will have no problem filling Aquarius when the time comes.

— Theresa Hamilton, Savage's assistant, 18 January 1995

This correspondence was derisively commented on at the time by future Red Hat Senior Patent Counsel David Perry, then a sophomore student at Whitemore College [22] [23]:

Whoa!!! Only 77,627 people left to go before we reach consciousness!!!

(They need 77,777 people -- the square root of the number of people on earth, which is the intuitive derivation for such a determination :) ).

Heard on the grapevive -- Savage is Elvis's long lost brother!!!

Also, could someone please post the results of Junior Division at GSL???



— David Perry, Whitman College, 25 Jan 1995

Although he was influenced by and communicated with the field's greatest luminaries: Gerard O'Neill, Freeman Dyson, and Arthur C. Clarke, Savage tended to work alone and thus did not direct his foundation to participate the Space Studies Institute conferences that were running contemporaneously with his foundation.

Like Gerard O'Neill, he was inundated with interest in his space colony concepts. [24] [25]

Savage, in Future Fantastic in 1996

In 1996, Savage was featured in Future Fantastic, a BBC show narrated by Gillian Anderson. [26] [27]:

COLORADO: "Strange and desolate" terrain near Rifle serves as the back-drop for a British Broadcasting Corp. television series on the possibilities of colonizing other planets. "The crew wanted me in this sort of Martian landscape," said writer Marshall Savage. The Rifle-based space thinker, author of "The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy In Eight Easy Steps," was interviewed for the BBC series "Future Fantastic." It will be shown in the United States on the Learning Channel as one of five 60-minute programs [that] will concern a different aspect of the future of humanity.

— Colorado Gazette-Telegraph, page B12, 1 June 1996

In the summer of 1997 (or possibly 1998), Savage was one of six visionaries interviewed by David Hickman [28] for a Discovery Channel documentary produced by Hickman entitled "Space Colonies: Living Among the Stars", which eventually aired on 1 February 1999.

In approximately May 1997, Savage received a fax from the St. Croix property owner informing him that the land deal had fallen through.

In November 1997 Savage was expressed his disillusionment in the progress that the Foundation had made, in a long-form article called Convergence with Destiny, which is as of 2021 his only other substantial published work besides The Millennial Project.

After five years of pounding my head against an intransigent public it has begun to dawn on me that the world at large is not ready to embrace First Foundation's message of mankind's rendezvous with stellar destiny, at least not yet. That is somewhat discouraging, but despite this I am more optimistic now that we will ultimately achieve our ends than at any time hitherto. The reason for this is a growing conviction on my part that the human race is riding a rocket that will ultimately carry all of us to the stars. This rocket is not yet evident in the literal sense, but figuratively I think it analogizes present history accurately.

— Marshall T. Savage, Convergence with Destiny, Distant Star, Volume 5 of 13, November 1997

See main article: Convergence with Destiny.

Between that fateful fax in May 1997 and the end of 1997, Savage gradually stopped actively contributing to the FMF, and also in October 1997 FMF was renamed the Living Universe Foundation (LUF). [29] From May 1997, his interest and involvement in the organization declined.

In August 1998 Dr. Richard Crews announced at that year's Conclave that Marshall Savage was "stepping back" from the foundation and "giving the rest of us" a chance to take the reins.

Savage by late 2000 had stopped interacting with the organization. By late 2000 he was only indirectly communicating with the organization he founded; he did maintain friendly relations with Phil Kopitske.

Savage shared his perspective on FMF for Wired Magazine published 1 July 2001, reacting to Robert Zubrin's idealistic plans for a Mars colony:

...Soon the political goal is reached: independence from Earth! You've finally achieved the dream - a society comprised entirely of space enthusiasts. Naturally, we'll all get along - just as we do on Earth.

Uh huh. In reality, even when like-minded people rally around a noble cause, political infighting invariably breaks out. Just ask author and futurist Marshall T. Savage, who found out the hard way. He established the First Millennial Foundation to promote citizen space exploration based on the principles laid out in his 1994 book, The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, which advocates transferring a significant number of humans from Earth to nearby planets, moons, and asteroids. But Savage himself left the group in 1998 amid rancorous debates among members over tactics and direction.

"I had these idealistic notions about how space societies would be self-organizing groups, which is all well and good in theory," says Savage. "But in practice, believe me, the process is ugly. It's like getting a bunch of cats together in a burlap sack. The people who are most motivated to acquire political power will make their way to the top of an organization, even if they have to do it over the body of every other person there."

— Tom McNichol for Wired Magazine, 1 July 2001, [30]

Savage had essentially withdrawn from the futurist community after leaving FMF in 1998. His last contribution appears to be a short article for Wired Magazine, on 1 July 2001, entitled "The Moon Base Race" [31]

Savage was featured in three articles in Wired Magazine:

  • one quote on 8 January 2000:

If we ever achieve it, helium-3 fusion will be the premier rocket fuel for centuries to come. The same lightness that floats CargoLifter's CL160 will allow helium to provide more power per unit of mass than anything else available. With it, rockets "could get to Mars in a weekend, instead of seven or eight months," says Marshall Savage, an amateur futurist and the author of The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps.

— Wired Magazine, 8 January 2000 [32]
  • one article written by him in 1 July 2001 entitled "The Moon Base Race" [33], and
  • another article in the same 1 July 2001 issue quoting him on Robert Zubrin's Mars colony ideas.

After these contributions, Savage has not made any further public intellectual contributions. Since 2001 he has given no interviews.

As of July 2018, twenty years after he left it, LUF has a Facebook page with 1,114 "likes", showcasing the enduring power of Savage's vision.


In about 1998, he withdrew from active involvement in the FMF. Prompted by a desire not to work in his family's construction business in Rifle, he wished to leave this small town. So, he moved with young family to Idaho, to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, [34], population 50,000, close to the Canadian border. His family made their home in a suburb called Hayden. [35].

Savage Resources oil pump

After moving to Coeur d'Alene Savage continued his involvement in his family's efforts to extract the petroleum and natural gas on their properties. He returned to Rifle on an approximately monthly basis to pursue this business. As of 2016 he was still listed as President of Savage Resources, when it filed for bankrupcy. Savage resources was listed at the time of its Chapter 7 filing as having 109 natural gas wells, operated by third parties [36] [37] [38]

From about 2011 to 2014 he worked on a "Geothermic Fuel Cell" technology with longtime business collaborator Allan Forbes. They promoted this technology, designed to enhance oil extraction while also producing surplus electricity, through an entity called Independent Energy Partners (IEPM) [39]. Savage was billed as Vice President, Technology Development.

On their website circa 2018 his biography stated:

Marshall Savage was born with a visionary and innovative mind that he applies across broad entrepreneurial experience in a variety of fields including energy development. He is the inventor of Geothermic Fuel Cells and is responsible for primary technology development. This includes ongoing patent applications, design refinement, and prototype development. Mr. Savage was the founder and President of West Anvil Water & Power Company, which was established to develop the Webster Hill reservoir and hydropower project on the Colorado River. Mr. Savage joined a co-venture with the Shale Energy Corporation of America to develop an oil shale project on lands owned by the Savage family. The Savage family is very active in the development of natural gas, real estate, water, timber, and wind power. Mr. Savage continues to participate in all of these activities on a limited basis.

— Independent Energy Partners

In 2014, the oil price declined, which caused Total S.A. to terminate its funding of IPEM's geothermic fuel cell research. Soon afterwards, Savage retired from working with IEPM.

As of 2018, Savage is retired from day-to-day employment and continues to live in Hayden, Idaho.

With his wife, Tami, he is active at the Unity Spiritual Center of North Idaho, in Coeur d'Alene [40]; she gave a speech on world progress there on 12 August 2018. They are also active at Avondale Golf Club.


The Millennial Project: Colonising the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps Author - Marshall T. Savage ISBN - 0 316 77163 5 Publisher - Little, Brown & Co Price - £11.99 Pages - 508

"Go Up, Young Man," by Marcia Bartusiak. Washington Post, 8 January 1995. [41]

Docuwiki [42]

The Millennial Project Revisited: a Book Review, by Jeff Fullerton. The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 822, 17 May 2015. [43]

TMP2, by Eric Hunting [44]

LUF Facebook Page [45]

Reagan Arthur [46], Senior Vice President, Publisher of Little, Brown & Co., who was contacted on 5 August 2019 by Michael Currie by email and telephone.

1 November 1994. Review of the book TMP. By Dan Perlman, Editor of Space Frontier News, Space Frontier Society, A Chapter of the National Space Society.