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Solarpunk is a type of optimistic science fiction that imagines a future founded on renewable energies. The seventeen stories in this volume are not dull utopias—they grapple with real issues such as the future and ethics of our food sources, the connection or disconnection between technology and nature, and the interpersonal conflicts that arise no matter how peaceful the world is. In these pages you'll find a guerilla art installation in Milan, a murder mystery set in a weather manipulation facility, and a world where you are judged by the glow of your solar nanite implants. From an opal mine in Australia to the seed vault at Svalbard, from a wheat farm in Kansas to a crocodile ranch in Malaysia, these are stories of adaptation, ingenuity, and optimism for the future of our world and others. For readers who are tired of dystopias and apocalypses, these visions of a brighter future will be a breath of fresh air.
This thought-provoking follow-up to 2018's Solarpunk Summers brings together 17 diverse "solarpunk" tales, defined by Ulibarri as "optimistic climate fiction, depicting futures in which we have mitigated the worst effects of climate change, or adapted to the changes we can no longer prevent." Each of these stories features a wintry, inhospitable setting occupied by tenacious survivors and innovators, and an emphasis on LGBTQ representation and female empowerment runs through each of these visions for more progressive futures. An Inuit scientist works to save narwhals after an oil rig explosion threatens their migration in Jennifer Lee Rossman's "Oil and Ivory." Thomas Badlan's "Orchidae" follows a horticulturalist's attempts to find space for her beloved orchids in a government-run greenhouse focused on growing crops to rebuild the human population. In Sarah Van Goethem's "The Healing," an ailing woman learns that her illness is inextricably linked to the bioengineered living city she cares for. Though this anthology achieves its goal of conjuring myriad ways humanity might thrive on a permanently altered planet, few of the individual stories stand out. Still, readers will take comfort in this wide range of snowy, hopeful tales.