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New entry May 28

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Comments for: Save the World: Twenty Sci-Fi Writers Save the Planet, Other Worlds Ink, https://www.amazon.com/Save-World-Twenty-Sci-Fi-Writers-ebook/dp/B09XD4TSPG

The comments below are from those who voted for this entry. (To add a comment, visit the voting page and vote for this entry.)

A couple of years ago, Scott Coatsworth, like the rest of us, found the “almost unrelentingly bad news day after day” more than a little depressing. He “felt like we needed a little hope, some light at the end of the tunnel” ( Fix the World ix). To meet this need, Coatsworth, a co-owner of the publishing company, Other Worlds Ink, came up with a thought-experiment: pose a “what-if” question, answer it in fiction. Can the world be fixed? Coatsworth posed a similar question in 2021, albeit with a tighter focus: climate change. He called for stories “about how humanity would deal with the coming changes, and even find ways to reverse them” (Save the World xi). The answers can be found in Other Worlds Ink’s latest hopepunk anthology, Save the World, just out in June 2022. Like its predecessor, the twenty stories in this anthology are all engaging, interesting, and they kept me reading. They are set in, or too near, a grim future: the world is on a precipice. “Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of rain in less than 24 hours” (back cover). Can the world be fixed? Can it be saved from climate change? Is a hopeful future even possible? These stories offer imaginative solutions to the climate crisis. I would argue that for there to be hope, for there to be solutions, we have to imagine them first. Such solutions, as presented here, involve science and technology, yes, but also in art, in rescuing baby sea turtles, in love, and family, and “acts of change, both large and small.” Here, the reader will find stories, acts of imagination, offering ways to repair and/or reverse the damage, sometimes when things have gotten far worse than they presently are. Those solutions are as diverse, ranging from a device that can cut off the lights with a click, “solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation,” producing oil from plastic bags, and knitting to cover and protect Greenland’s ice. The diversity of the solvers is just as expansive, including gays and lesbians, bisexuals, the polyamorous, the very old, the young, black, white, brown, red, and yellow. For example, in “By the Light of the Stars,” by N.R.M Roshak, the act of change is relatively small: the light clicker. Such a device can help baby sea turtles find their way to the sea and not be drawn further inland, following artificial light, not the light of the moon. The protagonists are two women falling in love, with a few complications, such as one a doubter in the existence of more than a handful of star. Yes, stars. Natural light will help here, too. In Jana Denardo’s story, “Just A Little Empathy,” Yoshi and Raine, and their husband, Michael are on the front lines of fighting climate change. Yoshi is working to develop “plastic-eating enzymes”, and lives on an eco-friendly farm with her wife and husband, and two children, where they will be hosting a concert to raise money for “the Save the Earth project, which would funnel money into tech and works that combated climate change and fund social justice projects.” But this is not a utopia. The Earth Rhythms group believes climate change is part of nature’s grand cycle, and are willing to blow up things for the cause. “Operation Cover Up (Kamikaze),” by Rachel Hope Crossman, offers a particular small act of change that is enacted on a large scale. To protect and preserve the Greenland Ice sheet, it is “[b]lanketed in knitted cozies,” and those who are doing this blanketing are “wrinkled old ladies with gray hair and bad attitudes.” Some won’t return from the action. The Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets are melting. The seas are rising. Can anything be done? I loved the old ladies and their fierce determination to do something, even if their own lives are at risk, even if they make the ultimate sacrifice. The other stories are just as intriguing and captivating and interesting, both in the solutions offered, and the solvers. As this book, and its predecessor, attest, what we need most, perhaps, is hope, and a belief that problems can be solved, that there are good solutions to “what-if” thought experiments. And these solutions must be human ones, found by human beings who fall in love, who care for each other. Pray it isn’t too late. Recommended.

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