This anthology envisions winters of the future, with stories of scientists working together to protect narwhals from an oil spill, to bring snow back to the mountains of Maine, to preserve ecosystems—even if they have to be under glass domes. They're stories of regular people rising to extraordinary circumstances to survive extreme winter weather, to fix a threat to their community's energy source, to save a living city from a deep-rooted sickness. Some take place after an environmental catastrophe, with luxury resorts and military bases and mafia strongholds transformed into sustainable communes; others rethink the way we could organize cities, using skybridges and seascrapers and constructed islands to adapt to the changes of the Anthropocene. Even when the nights are long, the future is bright in these seventeen diverse tales.
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.