Imagine a sustainable world, run on clean and renewable energies that are less aggressive to the environment. Now imagine humanity under the impact of these changes. This is the premise Brazilian editor Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro proposed, and these authors took the challenge to envision hopeful futures and alternate histories. The stories in this anthology explore terrorism against green corporations, large space ships propelled by the pressure of solar radiation, the advent of photosynthetic humans, and how different society might be if we had switched to renewable energies much earlier in history. Originally published in Brazil and translated for the first time from the Portuguese by Fábio Fernandes, this anthology of optimistic science fiction features nine authors from Brazil and Portugal including Carlos Orsi, Telmo Marçal, Romeu Martins, Antonio Luiz M. Costa, Gabriel Cantareira, Daniel I. Dutra, André S. Silva, Roberta Spindler, and Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro.
In a dark departure from the usual uplifting themes of the ecopunk genre, this Brazilian collection's speculative exploration of technological primacy is anything but cheerful. Some of these awkward narratives are rife with translation errors and overburdened by their own ambition, sacrificing pacing and plot for forced exposition and abrupt but predictable twist endings. Telmo Mar al's "When Kingdoms Collide," Gabriel Cantareira's "Escape," and Carlos Orsi's "Soylent Green Is People!" craft glossy utopian veneers that are pulled back to reveal ugliness beneath. Three are alternate histories: Andr S. Silva's "Xibalba Dreams of the West" imagines a Brazil that was never colonized, Antonio Luiz M. Costa's "Once Upon a Time in the World" is set in a retro-futuristic version of 1929, and Daniel I. Dutra's "Gary Johnson" echoes gruesome and dehumanizing scientific experimentation on African-Americans in the early 20th century. Lodi-Ribeiro's action-packed but emotionally anemic "Cobalt Blue and the Enigma" feels out of step with the rest of the collection, especially when compared to Roberta Spindler's thoughtful and bittersweet standout "Sun in the Heart." Though the goal of bringing Brazilian science fiction to Anglophone audiences is laudable, this anthology is a weak introduction.