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Collected by the editor of the award-winning Lightspeed magazine, one of the first anthologies of climate fiction—a cutting-edge genre made popular by Margaret Atwood. Is it the end of the world as we know it? Climate fiction (cli-fi) explores the world we live in now—and in the very near future—as the effects of global warming become more evident. Join bestselling, award-w Collected by the editor of the award-winning Lightspeed magazine, one of the first anthologies of climate fiction—a cutting-edge genre made popular by Margaret Atwood. Is it the end of the world as we know it? Climate fiction (cli-fi) explores the world we live in now—and in the very near future—as the effects of global warming become more evident. Join bestselling, award-winning writers like Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kim Stanley Robinson, Seanan McGuire, and many others at the brink of tomorrow. Loosed Upon the World is so believable, it’s frightening.


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Collected by the editor of the award-winning Lightspeed magazine, one of the first anthologies of climate fiction—a cutting-edge genre made popular by Margaret Atwood. Is it the end of the world as we know it? Climate fiction (cli-fi) explores the world we live in now—and in the very near future—as the effects of global warming become more evident. Join bestselling, award-w Collected by the editor of the award-winning Lightspeed magazine, one of the first anthologies of climate fiction—a cutting-edge genre made popular by Margaret Atwood. Is it the end of the world as we know it? Climate fiction (cli-fi) explores the world we live in now—and in the very near future—as the effects of global warming become more evident. Join bestselling, award-winning writers like Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kim Stanley Robinson, Seanan McGuire, and many others at the brink of tomorrow. Loosed Upon the World is so believable, it’s frightening.

30 review for Loosed upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    This was a great read. Some of the stories did drag a bit, but for the most part the short stories were full of intrigue. This anthology features many prominent fiction writers, but in my opinion the stories by the lesser known authors were remarkable as well. Reading anthologies like this one is a great way to find out about authors writing this type of speculative fiction. I have read Wastelands, another anthology edited by John Joseph Adams; Wastelands is less focused on climate-related "the This was a great read. Some of the stories did drag a bit, but for the most part the short stories were full of intrigue. This anthology features many prominent fiction writers, but in my opinion the stories by the lesser known authors were remarkable as well. Reading anthologies like this one is a great way to find out about authors writing this type of speculative fiction. I have read Wastelands, another anthology edited by John Joseph Adams; Wastelands is less focused on climate-related "the end is nigh" scenarios, and concentrates on apocalyptic situations brought on by more varied catalysts. Though each short story in this anthology is a work of climate fiction, the theme is not belabored; each story introduces a fresh perspective on the catastrophes induced by mankind's carbon-spewing ways. Each story incorporates a non-fiction element, connecting each plot in one way or another to the reality we live in. With topics ranging from flooding and drought, to cross-country pipelines and radioactive animals, each short story elicits a genuine emotional response from the reader. No matter who you are, where you live, or how much money you have, climate change is an indiscriminate force indifferent to the continued well-being of the human population. A quote from Margaret Atwood's short story "Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet" succinctly epitomizes this anthology: "Pray for us, who once, too, thought we could fly."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    As with so many anthologies, this was very much a mixed bag. I think it particularly suffered because the stories within were all reprints, so there was very little cohesion between them. It was obvious when a story had been written for a non-climate-focused project, because the authors felt the need to explain to us how, exactly, climate change was bad- not exactly necessary in the context of this anthology, because it is safe to assume that anyone who has picked up something described as an an As with so many anthologies, this was very much a mixed bag. I think it particularly suffered because the stories within were all reprints, so there was very little cohesion between them. It was obvious when a story had been written for a non-climate-focused project, because the authors felt the need to explain to us how, exactly, climate change was bad- not exactly necessary in the context of this anthology, because it is safe to assume that anyone who has picked up something described as an anthology of climate fiction is already rather aware. There were a few standout stories: - "Shooting the Apocalypse" by Paolo Bacigalupi: Bacigalupi had two stories here, and both were among the collection's strongest, but I think I like this one better; it had a lot of fascinating layers going on and managed to make climate disaster a powerful part of the plot while still telling a story about other conflicts. I also quite liked the way social media was integrated into the worldbuilding, which turned out to be a common theme across many of these stories. - "A Hundred Hundred Daisies" by Nancy Kress: A story with some serious heart to it, which really focused on the difficulty of maintaining relationships under the strain of slowly-unfolding disaster. It asks the question "how will we explain this to future children?" and that question sticks with you. - "Enganglement" by Vandana Singh: While the prose of this story felt weak, it was thematically very strong and had a perspective that resonated with me. It's a very clever way to tell a story about the rich interconnectivity of ecology through a human lens. - "Staying Afloat" by Angela Penrose: In a practical sense, I am a big advocate of using ancestral knowledge to solve modern ecological problems, and this story both presented that idea cleverly and was a satisfying, tidy bit of storytelling. - "The Mutant Stag at Horn Creek" by Sarah K. Castle: Definitely my favorite of the collection, even if its presentation of natural selection's effects felt rather exaggerated. Great character voice and sense of place, and successfully layered a story of climate impacts over interpersonal and societal critiques. Like "Shooting the Apocalypse", there's a lot of stuff here about how social media might impact us in the future, but it's handled a bit more sympathetically, treated more like a coping mechanism than fiddling while Rome burns. I also loved the way the world of this story has become foreign in a very slow, inexorable way - that makes the changes all the more horrifying. A couple I particularly disliked: - "The Precedent" by Sean McMullen: Aside from an awful lot of history navel-gazing, this story felt like it was rebuking younger generations for resenting the wasteful choices of older generations. Comparing 'climate victims' to the Salem Witch Trials is not a good look. - "Hot Sky" by Robert Silverberg: So, for this story to make sense, you have to believe that in a severe global warming situation where freshwater is extremely limited, San Francisco is somehow still around and powerful, and basically choose to ignore that South America exists, because apparently an iceberg valued for the fresh water it contains can float all the way north from Antarctica to California before there's any competition over it. It just felt profoundly sloppy. - "That Creeping Sensation" by Alan Dean Foster: Contained the following actual segue into a historical info-dump: As she and the corporal worked their way through the swarm, she reflected on the unexpected turn of history. Seriously? The rest were... largely mediocre. There were several which I felt could have been poignant if positioned differently in the anthology - "Quiet Town" by Jason Gurley is a small, straightforward portrait of the moment the seas rise too far for one town, but it just sort of vanishes between longer, more complicated stories. I am, in general, not impressed with John Joseph Adams' editing here. Personally, my takeaway was that I really, really need to read some of Bacigalupi's novels - and thankfully, I have a copy of The Water Knife on my shelf already.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    ...Although there are some stories in this anthology that I didn't really do much for me, and one - That Creeping Sensation (2011) by Alan Dean Foster - that left me wondering how on earth the author managed to sell that heap of nonsense, most of the stories were at the very least entertaining. A few reached into the excellent category. Adams managed to gather a diverse set of stories and as such, the anthology is likely to keep most readers on board until the last pages. Both Bacigalupi in the ...Although there are some stories in this anthology that I didn't really do much for me, and one - That Creeping Sensation (2011) by Alan Dean Foster - that left me wondering how on earth the author managed to sell that heap of nonsense, most of the stories were at the very least entertaining. A few reached into the excellent category. Adams managed to gather a diverse set of stories and as such, the anthology is likely to keep most readers on board until the last pages. Both Bacigalupi in the introduction and Ramez Naam in the afterword mention how interlinked all these changes are. It is not just climate that changes but the entire world around us. If there is one thing this anthology succeeds in, it is showing the reader how complex an issue climate change really is. You may argue Adams' selection of stories of course, but looking at it from that angle, I consider it a job well done. Full Random Comments review

  4. 4 out of 5

    Treesong

    As an avid reader of climate fiction (cli-fi), I was very much looking forward to the release of Loosed Upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction. I’m pleased to report that this anthology definitely met and exceeded my expectations. This volume brings together an impressive collection of authors with a wide range of writing styles and a variety of takes on the broadly-defined theme. As with almost any anthology, there are hits and misses. There were a few stories I’d read before, one As an avid reader of climate fiction (cli-fi), I was very much looking forward to the release of Loosed Upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction. I’m pleased to report that this anthology definitely met and exceeded my expectations. This volume brings together an impressive collection of authors with a wide range of writing styles and a variety of takes on the broadly-defined theme. As with almost any anthology, there are hits and misses. There were a few stories I’d read before, one of which is honestly not among my favorites and wasn’t what I have in mind when I think of climate fiction. However, even the “misses” were still decent works of fiction that only suffered in comparison to the groundbreaking work in the rest of the anthology. I was glad to see contributions by Margaret Atwood, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Paolo Bacigalupi. These three big names were already familiar to me and are essential reading for the emerging cli-fi genre. Robinson’s piece was an excerpt from his Science in the Capital Trilogy. I had read the trilogy already, so this chapter was nothing new to me. But I was glad to see it here because it will point more people in the direction of this important and underappreciated series. I was also glad to see new (or at least new to me) works by Atwood and Bacigalupi, both of whom have crafted (and continue to craft!) excellent stories that include prominent climate change components. My favorite part of this anthology was the wide variety of writing styles and content choices. If I had to pick one story that stood out, though, I’d go with “The Precedent” by Sean McMullen. This story’s premise is so dark and apocalyptic that it could have gone horribly wrong in the hands of a lesser author. However, for me, the vivid descriptions and rich characterization give this story a very real feel in spite of the incredibly stark plot and setting. This story speaks powerfully to the horrors of the climate crisis, challenge us to reflect on those horrors and our involvement in them without shoving any particular solution down our throats. I would recommend this book both to readers who are looking for good cli-fi and to readers who are looking for good fiction in general. From now on, this will be the anthology that I recommend to people who are looking for an introduction to climate fiction.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike Finn

    Climate Change Fiction anthology that is horribly plausible, deeply frightening and that fills me with guilt about the mess the generation now in school will inherit from us. “Loosed Upon The World” is a collection of twenty-six short stories that imagine our future in a world undergoing dramatic climate change. The message that they have in common is that the next generation will be facing some hard choices, that science may mitigate the effects of climate change but that the way we live today Climate Change Fiction anthology that is horribly plausible, deeply frightening and that fills me with guilt about the mess the generation now in school will inherit from us. “Loosed Upon The World” is a collection of twenty-six short stories that imagine our future in a world undergoing dramatic climate change. The message that they have in common is that the next generation will be facing some hard choices, that science may mitigate the effects of climate change but that the way we live today will not survive. Most of the stories give grimly pragmatic views of how the next generation will play the hand we've dealt them. I find the stories so depressingly credible that I feel I need to apologise in advance to the next generation. While this IS a collection with a message, it is primarily an collection of excellent, innovative Science Fiction. I've reviewed my six favourite stories as I've gone along. I've summarised them below. In addition, I really liked: "Outliers" by Nicole Feldringer which was an amusing, quirky view of how to outsource solving the climate emergency. I'd love that to work in real life. "The Mutant Stag At Horn Creek" by Sarah K Castle which gave me a close-up view of how life might change in the Grand Canyon. "Hot Rods" by Cat Sparks, an enigmatic but very atmospheric tale of the young racing old cars and contracting out to a secret base in the Australian outback in a prolonged drought. I've now bought her short story collection "The Bride Price" to read more of her work. "Shooting The Apocalypse" by Paolo Bacigalupi is a grim tale set in the same world as his novel "The Water Knife" that describes a brutal future defined by the struggle to control the supply of water in a US that doesn't have enough for everyone. His message seems to be that the shift, when it comes, will be fundamental and irreversible. The future goes to those who adapt and move forward, not to those who bemoan what they’ve lost or who try to create pockets of wealth where they can pretend nothing has changed. "The Myth Of Rain" by Seanan McGuire is a chillingly prescient 2015 view of the near future struggle between the rich and the rest of us as the climate fails. Here's part of her vision of the future: “The thing about lies is that no matter how often you tell them and how much you believe them, they’re not going to become true. “Fake it until you make it” may work for public speaking and falling in love, but it doesn’t stop climate change. By 2017, it was pretty clear who the liars were, and they weren’t the scientists holding up their charts and screaming for the support of the public. By 2019, it was even clearer that we’d listened to the lies too long. The tipping point was somewhere behind us, overlooked and hence forgotten." "A Hundred Hundred Daisies" by Nancy Kress is a story of a boy, Danny, coming of age in the an environment of escalating violence and the looking threat of failure caused by climate change. What made the story for me was that, in the midst of this clearly-painted grimness, Danny focuses on creating a moment of beauty, related to the “Hundred Hundred Daisies” of the title, for his little sister Ruthie, . I loved this acknowledgement that creating beauty is important, even when the world you’ve known is ending and that creating a good memory for someone you love is a way of seeding your world with hope. "The Precedent" by Sean McMullen is one of the stories that has stuck with me most, perhaps because, if I survived to this future world, I'd be one of the people on trial in this story The narrator is a climatologist, now in his eighties, who spent his life campaigning to prevent or delay climate change. He intends to beat the audit. We get a ringside seat on the audit as he attempts this. The power of this story comes from the plausibility of the idea and the matter-of-fact way in which these acts of institutionalised cruelty by the self-righteous young are experienced by the mostly guilty but seldom repentant old. This was my first Sean McMullen story. I've now bought "The Ghosts Of Engines Past" to read more of his work "Eagle" by Gregory Benford and "Hot Sky" by Robert Silverberg both focus on characters doing difficult and unpleasant things in the face of melting Polar Ice Caps. "Eagle," tells the story of a woman carrying out an act of eco-terrorism because she believes it is necessary to push people to change their behaviour. "Hot Sky," tells the story of an ambitious corporate manager hunting icebergs to two home who has to make hard choices when he responds to a distress signal. Both are character-driven stories that reminded me that the best Science Fiction has real people at the centre of it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dan Connolly

    An anthology that is relevant, scary, and unfortunately, in some cases, provides portraits of very possible scenarios of how our children’s children may be living. While this large collection will not persuade anyone to not drive over the bridge, it will further motivate those of us who follow the science. My analogy of driving over the bridge came from discussion of climate change (or, as Margaret Atwood calls it, “The Everything Change”) with a friend. He told me that any time a climate change An anthology that is relevant, scary, and unfortunately, in some cases, provides portraits of very possible scenarios of how our children’s children may be living. While this large collection will not persuade anyone to not drive over the bridge, it will further motivate those of us who follow the science. My analogy of driving over the bridge came from discussion of climate change (or, as Margaret Atwood calls it, “The Everything Change”) with a friend. He told me that any time a climate change denier converses with him he tells them, “Oh, you would drive over the bridge.” They ask what he means and he tells them, “Say you and your family are driving down a country road, round a bend, and come upon a wooden bridge. Before the bridge is a large sign that notes that 98.9% of structural engineers declare that his bridge will collapse when the next car drives over it. “So, you would drive over the bridge then,” he repeats. Like its topic and all-inclusiveness, the locales range from Siberia, the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf Coast, Greenlad, Southern California, the Midwest, the Arctic, the Netherlands, the Himalayas, and other place to various states of character’s mindsets. Most of the stories are strong, and while some are short on characterization, the science seems very plausible. The story that impacted me the most was “Entanglement” by Vandana Singh. It is really a set of interlocking stories: a lone woman scientist in the Arctic who puts herself in jeopardy ; a woman in the Amazon who receives help to get the message across; a young lower cast teen boy in India gains insight on his purpose in life; an older woman in Texas who shakes off the old thinking of her dead husband, and a young man in the Himalayas seeking guidance about his and the world’s malaise. In addition to the mass of the world’s population wearing blinders, the other villain is big business as in Seanan McGuire’s “The Myth of Rain”, Toiya Kristen Finley’s Outer Rims, Jean-Louis Trudel’s “The Snows of Yesteryear”, Nancy Kress’s “A Hundred Hundred Daises”, and excerpts from Kim Stanley Robinson’s recent everything change novels. Bottom line: an intriguing, thought-provoking, and disturbing collection of epitaph’s for a disappearing way of life on Earth.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    This book is a collection of extremely readable, extremely compelling stories that imagine the immediate future and the possible effects of climate change on the world and its inhabitants. I kind of think that this anthology, or something like it, should be required reading for everyone on the planet. The best speculative fiction challenges us to escape the fog of denial. I'm not talking about Denial, as in Climate Change Denial, I'm talking about the everyday garden-variety denial that lets us This book is a collection of extremely readable, extremely compelling stories that imagine the immediate future and the possible effects of climate change on the world and its inhabitants. I kind of think that this anthology, or something like it, should be required reading for everyone on the planet. The best speculative fiction challenges us to escape the fog of denial. I'm not talking about Denial, as in Climate Change Denial, I'm talking about the everyday garden-variety denial that lets us avoid going to the doctor to have them check out that new mole, because if it is skin cancer we'd rather not know about it. These stories make you think about the future, and the possible consequences of our current, business as usual path. But not by preaching at you: by making you feel. By creating characters and situations you empathize with. You can picture yourself faced with these same challenges and dilemmas. And you wonder, you have to wonder, what you would (will?) do in similar situations.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pearse Anderson

    This collection did ideas right. Authors had a lot of great ideas. Authors had, however, terrible execution. I read about characters I didn't care for. I read rushed or broken arcs and plots. I read paragraphs that somehow made it through the copy editor despite grammatical and structural problems. The last hundred pages, combined with "The Eight Wonder" were the best pieces in the collection. But they why—why for God's sake—would you leave the best for last? I had to trawl my body through this This collection did ideas right. Authors had a lot of great ideas. Authors had, however, terrible execution. I read about characters I didn't care for. I read rushed or broken arcs and plots. I read paragraphs that somehow made it through the copy editor despite grammatical and structural problems. The last hundred pages, combined with "The Eight Wonder" were the best pieces in the collection. But they why—why for God's sake—would you leave the best for last? I had to trawl my body through this brick of a book for a tale or two I could read in a Clarkesworld anthology at the beginning. Worldbuilding felt incomplete, characters felt like mouthpieces, scenes felt broken. I am surprised John Joseph Adams and Atwood got anywhere close to this stuff. Bleh.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alton

    Anthologies are typically a collection of good material surrounded by weaker brethren; this one is no different. Its better works have one thing in common: they are more than just a tale of climate catastrophe. Some of my favorites: "The Netherlands Lives With Water," for its living, believable characters, and "Shooting the Apocalypse," for capturing the spirit of the those that will survie in the bone-dry Southwest US.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jim O'Donnell

    Overall pretty mediocre. That said, there are a few very strong standout stories such as "racing the tide" and "hot sky". "the precedent" was utterly disturbing and congratulations to the author for that smack in the face! "The Netherlands lives with water" also stood out. But all in all this is a mediocre collection and speaks to the larger challenge of writing good climate fiction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Unusual anthology of science fiction stories about climate change by international authors. They each focus on different aspects and all offer fascinating perspectives. If you like science fiction and are concerned about climate change, you'll appreciate this book. My favorites of the 26 stories: The Snows of Yesteryear by Jean-Louis Trudel The Rainy Season by Tobias S. Buckell The Precedent by Sean McMullen That Creeping Sensation by Alan Dean Foster Eagle by Gregory Benford The Day It All Ended by Unusual anthology of science fiction stories about climate change by international authors. They each focus on different aspects and all offer fascinating perspectives. If you like science fiction and are concerned about climate change, you'll appreciate this book. My favorites of the 26 stories: The Snows of Yesteryear by Jean-Louis Trudel The Rainy Season by Tobias S. Buckell The Precedent by Sean McMullen That Creeping Sensation by Alan Dean Foster Eagle by Gregory Benford The Day It All Ended by Charlie Jane Anders The Smog Society by Chen Qiufan Racing the Tide by Craig Delancey Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet by Margaret Atwood

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I was sceptical about if I would enjoy this book or not. It sounded good on paper, but I wondered about the execution. I needn’t have worried! A really brilliant and eclectic (in a good way) mix of stories focusing on the climate and the myriad of conditions it could theoretically be put under. Whilst you could argue that it is speculative fiction, the majority, if not all the stories have an essence of realism to them. It really isn’t that much of s leap to get to several of the situations tha I was sceptical about if I would enjoy this book or not. It sounded good on paper, but I wondered about the execution. I needn’t have worried! A really brilliant and eclectic (in a good way) mix of stories focusing on the climate and the myriad of conditions it could theoretically be put under. Whilst you could argue that it is speculative fiction, the majority, if not all the stories have an essence of realism to them. It really isn’t that much of s leap to get to several of the situations that occur in these stories. My favourite was “Mutant Stag At Horn Creek” but there were such a vibrant range of stories that it was really enjoyable, despite how long it took me to read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    An impressive collection of fiction about one of the greatest crisis facing the world today: climate change. Each story is thought provoking and disturbing. It took me longer than I thought to read this because I had to set it down between stories...to catch my breath. Very intense. My favorite stories are: -The Myth of Rain, by Seanan McGuire -A Hundred Hundred Daisies, by Nancy Kress -The Day it All Ended, by Charlie Jane Anders -Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet, by Margaret Atwood

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Overall, this was good. Of course some stories i liked more than others, my favorites being Truth + Consequences by Kim Stanley Robinson ( this was small bits from his series that starts with 40 days of rain, i definitely want to read more from him), and The precedent by Sean McMullen. I bought this because I love disaster movies and this definitely delivered that. I really appreciated the amount of science in these stories as well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This collection starts out strong with Shooting The Apocalypse by Paola Bacigalupi and kept up the pace throughout. I immediately started reading this book after purchasing it,and over four hours later I reluctantly had to tear myself away.I highly recommend this anthology to any fan of the post-apocalyptic genre.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    Environmental Doom and gloom on an unending scale make this anthology’s theme somewhat redundant yet creative. Each story has a different environmental threat. However, they are uneven, some few being well-written while others are barely mediocre. The scope is broad but being saturated in one after another, leaves one feeing helpless, distressed and depressed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura Boram

    This was both the easiest and most difficult anthology to read; wonderfully edited exploration of our emerging climate crisis. Great writers assigned a very difficult and sad task and at the end of the onslaught of dystopic postulations - I'm still rooting for the humans.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)

    This is an excellent collection, depressing, but excellent.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ebenmaessiger

    "The Netherlands Lives With Water," by Jim Shepard (2009): 7.25 - An unfortunate perfect storm of mundanity: the mainstream author doing genre who, as usual, skips over the interesting shit genre qua genre can do, and also just so happens to not do any of the nice things litfic can do in the process. The sexuality of the marriage reads like the worst of genre's attempt at Cool Directness; the marital and maternal problems are largely disconnected from the climatic drama; and the attempts at lit "The Netherlands Lives With Water," by Jim Shepard (2009): 7.25 - An unfortunate perfect storm of mundanity: the mainstream author doing genre who, as usual, skips over the interesting shit genre qua genre can do, and also just so happens to not do any of the nice things litfic can do in the process. The sexuality of the marriage reads like the worst of genre's attempt at Cool Directness; the marital and maternal problems are largely disconnected from the climatic drama; and the attempts at litfic narrative evasiveness and ambiguity are more confusing than intriguing. The story: (view spoiler)[ two Dutch engineers deal with their own marital problems and nation's climate change vulnerabilities, until the dams eventually burst in both (literally and metaphorically) (hide spoiler)] . Bigger Takeaway? Maybe climate change is not (current) sf's ideal mode, which is a worrying trend for the genre (or it's current crop of writers). There are a host of conjectures for why this might be so. Some of them: it's too near future; the sf and sf tropes they're raised/weaned on weren't primed to deal with something like this; small-scale domestic impacts and scenes have never been sf's strong suit, and that is currently how most sf modes are trending in the characterological framing of their works (i.e. gonna focus on smaller/less "important" units [the family, the community, the "impacted"] rather than the old top-down takes [what's the president/Russia/UN doing?]). "Hot Sky," by Robert Silverberg (1990): 7.75 - A flaky little moral exploration, moderately ill-suited to the collection at hand, given its relative age compared to other entrants. Construction-wise, the discrete story-parts hang by a thread, namely in the straining-for-a-conflict introduction of the marooned ship struggled against either mutineers or crazed first officers. The section, while the fulcrum for the Moral Quandry [is it, in the end, much of one?], too little touches the Big Pic thematic/sfnal elements at play [climate, iceberg towing]. Moreover, that quandry itself, might've easily existed outside the specific realm posited by the main sfnal conceit in the story. Not wholly damning, just not less than what it demonstrates: that such scotch-taped narratives are more likely the rule than the exception when someone reaches the five-hundred short story marker. "Shooting the Apocalypse," by Paolo Bacigalupi (2011): 7.25 - The hard thing about having a clear, black-and-white moral vision (right or wrong) as a fiction writer is that the only difference between you and a humorless scold (again, sadly, right or wrong) is the quality of your fiction. And, so far as I can tell from Bacigalupi’s short fiction, he’s too often on the mediocre range of that spectrum — albeit totally competent and with the beneficial fact that the majority of his literary “sins” are more or less ubiquitous in his genre, and therefore far from worthy of outright dismissal (as, for example, the same sins might be in someone aspiring to something more Literary). Namely: flat tough talkers abounding, workmanlike prose otherwise, and small stories that remain small regardless of the monumental circumstances off of which they’re playing. The story: (view spoiler)[ two journos in near-future, barren SW USA — in which Texans, in an unsuccessful attempt at the old SF ‘but what if it was happening to white people’ twist (think “People are Alike All Over” Twilight Zone), have to illegally steal into Cali and Arizona to escape water scarcity — uncover evidence of murdered refugees, only to realize thereafter that this is actually the smaller story compared to the climatological context around them (hide spoiler)] . "The Myth of Rain," by Seanann McGuire (2015): 4 - Dreadful. Dreadful dreadful. Take all my points about Bacigalupi and restate them here, amplified sevenfold. Bacigalupi’s take, in contrast to this, might as well be George Eliot. The horrible combination: pestering, repetitive bombast next to a near-complete lack of actual narrative story ideas (the Original Anthology Problem rears its boring head once again). Witness the four pages of straight, boiler-plate exposition and the Absolute Heroes we end up following thereafter. And a personal issue: her prose tone exemplifies that certain type of SFF / WB humornerd I find to be an unequivocal negative most unique to the genre (for a nice example, see that Author Bio at the end). "Outer Rims," by Toiya Kristen Finley (2011): 8 - The small story that works: a family fleeing an incoming climate-related hurricane inadvertently exposes itself to a malaria-like disease after Good Samaritaning a stranded motorist. The “climate” aspect here isn’t central, which is to its benefit, esp. following the collections first two stories. And there are a lot of small, nice human moments: such as the masked doctor wanting to connect with her frustrated patient over their shared blackness, or the dying motorist hoping the family made it. "Kheldyu," by Karl Schroeder (2014): 7.5 - Our story: petty corporate rivalries corrupt an heir's attempts to get rich capturing carbon out of the atmosphere; (or) Capital gonna capital. A tired opening, but, there’s a lot to like here. There’s the successful big context through small story structure, and the smart look at the inevitable role the Technological Panacea will play. Most of all, however, it’s the absence of clear-cut Moral Heroes (as in that McGuire story) — i.e. there are those invested in “fighting”climate change who themselves are far from Pure Souls. But there’s also just a lot missing — from the over-descriptive monotony of the prose (I still really have little idea what this structure and its environs actually looks like) and to the absolute heartlessness of the proceedings in general. "The Snows of Yesteryear," by Jean-Louis Trudel (2014): 8.75 - This does little to rise above its genre’s well-documented limitations—i.e. the characterization is thin, dependent on one or two combined anecdotes and descriptors (the Old Man tells tale tales from the C20; he’s smitten with Francine!), and the exposition disguised as extemporizing is failing (“you’re from the generation that ... [insert paragraph abt the progression of climate change])—but this works through the simple microcosm-ness of its “event” and it’s more complicated vision of the highly leveraged and highly vested means through which the elite will, inevitably, “come to terms” with cc and it’s effects (namely, profit-seeking). "The Rainy Season," by Tobias S. Buckell (2012): 8 - The piece here: a small domestic drama, fixed up with some climatological effluvia, in which family bickering over house willed to black sheep of family finds the way to love each other again. Was initially refreshing to read this sturdy but otherwise cookie-cutter family-squabble story ably told, although increasing ludicrousness of the speculative apparatus got in the way, and demonstrated a greater uncertainty abt how Buckell actually wanted to fit climate into the story—as constant, dangerous, but otherwise now Normalizaed background aspect of life for people in these circumstances, or as existential danger quite conclusively reconfiguring all arenas of life for these people? I think, as a Story, he wanted the first, and as a reality, he got the latter, to the detriment of the actual story. "A Hundred Hundred Daisies," by Nancy Kress (2011): 7.5 - A fine story that doesn’t totally know what it wants to be or say outside of its premise—which I’ve increasingly come to see as okay; it’s a completely valid mode of mid-tier sf and there’s no use getting riled up one way or the other. “The Precedent,” by Sean McMullen (2010): 9.25 - Considering my reservations about the other entries in this collection so far, what works here is precisely its distance from the actual, most immediate conclusions we can reach regarding its subject. And strangely, that also allows it to “say” something most resonant, perhaps, even if, impressively, it’s threading the needle between allegory and gritty dystopic realism. "The Tamarisk Hunter," by Paolo Bacigalupi (2006): 7.75 - all in all, slight, a toss off, clearly, but one done with enough sincerity and investment to push it past it's obvious rushed composition and conclusion. There's something to be said for his dogged commitment exploring the consequences of climatic change and his emphasis on the perils of water usage in the Southwest. I appreciated how California is clearly the enemy here, although it's decisions weren't totally demonized or made to seem as if they were pure Evil. Again, the conclusion was a bit rushed and anticlimactic, although I think the scenario itself was the purpose rather than broader narrative arc. “That Creeping Sensation,” by Alan Dean Foster (2011): 6.75 - And thus is illustrated the yawning gap between the moral imperative to address the Present Crisis, to tell a true tale, and the danger in, and near anti-speculative demands of, writing near-future sf (and especially when collected in an anthology such as this, what with its explicit imprimatur to speak to the thing, thereby rendering moot any claim for the stories to simply exist, as is, as fiction). Namely, here the central clifi dystopic fulcrum is an expansion of aggressive giant insects, massively oversized on account of runaway oxygenation — an effort, if not the opposite of, at least far from the current trajectory of a massive insect die-off, a learning to live without, rather than with, fauna we already detest. Oh well; far from Foster’s fault, and more indicative of the presently dismal realization of an sfnal problem nearly immune to sfnal interrogation. Otherwise, the story wrapped around the conceit was ho-hum, although I admired its seeming aversion to ambition — its a small, slice of life story, told small. Also, some just exceptionally clunky action-to-exposition transition here (see: “ as she in the corporal worked their way through the swarm, she reflected on the unexpected turn of history.” Oof).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    The stories are hit and miss (as most anthologies are), but overall written well. Reading them made me want to just go ahead and fling myself into the ocean to feed what little marine life is still out there, though. Super depressing read, which I suppose I should've anticipated given the topic. Also, I was rather annoyed that Atwood's contribution was so short. It was good, but it's not even two whole pages, and felt more like an intro to a story than a story itself. I think I'd have been less The stories are hit and miss (as most anthologies are), but overall written well. Reading them made me want to just go ahead and fling myself into the ocean to feed what little marine life is still out there, though. Super depressing read, which I suppose I should've anticipated given the topic. Also, I was rather annoyed that Atwood's contribution was so short. It was good, but it's not even two whole pages, and felt more like an intro to a story than a story itself. I think I'd have been less annoyed with it if it had been at the beginning of the anthology rather than the end. So, pick this up if you like the authors included, but go in knowing you're definitely not going to feel better or happier after this read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    I read "Entanglements" by Vandana Singh from this anthology for a discussion with students from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. This piece reminded me of The Overstory by Richard Powers, only in this case the disparate stories of climate devastation were connected by technology as opposed to trees. Talking with the students, I realized that across generations we all negotiate the emotional landscapes of hope and despair and the practical ones of action and paralysis. These are the subt I read "Entanglements" by Vandana Singh from this anthology for a discussion with students from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. This piece reminded me of The Overstory by Richard Powers, only in this case the disparate stories of climate devastation were connected by technology as opposed to trees. Talking with the students, I realized that across generations we all negotiate the emotional landscapes of hope and despair and the practical ones of action and paralysis. These are the subtitles for each section: "Flapping Its Wings...In the Amazon...Can Cause a Tornado...In Texas...The End," representing characters in the Arctic, the Amazon, India, Texas, and the Himalayas.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A lengthy and painful set of stories with societies confronting a runaway climate. Sometimes there is a personal struggle, sometimes massive technological attempts. Always the climate catastrophe is bigger than anyone’s ability to combat - rising seas on the coasts, withering drought in the interior, ice caps disappearing and desperate hunts for icebergs. Some stories are set in a distant future while others are as contemporaneous as the current day.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andy Janes

    Good collection of short stories, all featuring climate change as a theme. I was actually surprised, I had only read one of the stories before (although two others were based on stories I had read).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roxy

    This is a really important book, and while a good number of the stories dragged, it was worth it for the ones that didn't.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Great stories, pretty scary. I rated 4 stars because some stories were way better than others.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zamy

    Thank you, Ms. Atwood for saving the anthology from a complete disaster. It’s been a pretty tedious read with some patches of good stories in-between.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    A lot of very solid stories here, with a few that were standouts: - Kheldyu - The Rainy Season - A hundred Hundred Daisies - The Precedent - Entanglement - Mutant Stag at Horn Creek

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robert Mayer

    Quality of stories is uneven.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sean Edwards

    Ughh, what a slog

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    A fantastic, thought provoking frightening and hopeful anthology about climate change. So relevant to everything going on right now. Everyone read it. I highly recommend it!

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