Global warming

The Dreamlike Apocalypse

The two most important trends I’v seen recently in modern science fiction are a tendency towards a much more literary style of writing and an equally strong tendency towards eschewing far-future space-based scenarios for near-future dystopias.

Few books embrace both these trends as completely as Eliza Mood’s O Man of Clay.

O Man of Clay - Eliza Mood

Set in a post-global-warming England in a town half-submerged under the rising sea, the book tracks two women and one man as they navigate, each in their own way, the new reality of scarcity, radiation and pollution.

But it’s the way this book is written that sets it apart.  Within the linear structure following the main character, a young girl who lives outside the new society starting to form, we get flashbacks into the life of the antagonist, a former prisoner in a Siberian camp.

To make things a little more interesting, some of the characters are not perfectly aware of who they are, others are totally confused about what year it is and the only one thinking clearly is expressly trying to avoid the rest of them.

The fact that the writer managed to keep the threads advancing coherently and not have the whole thing unravel on her qualifies this book as a writing tour-de-force.  This is the kind of book that will appeal quite strongly to those who enjoy the more literary aspects of genre work, as well as a different look at a post-apocalyptic society.

Those who love deciphering themes in their fiction will enjoy it as well.  It comments on both authoritarian régimes and capitalism overtly (and, in a nice change of pace from usual practice, it attacks them both), but there are several other things to find.

The characters don’t act like characters.  They act like people.  Unbalanced, obsessive people from a Russian novel, perhaps, but definitely not characters.

This is a book for those who want to be one step ahead of the bleeding edge: post-apoc, dark and literary to a degree seldom seen.  If that describes you, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

 

Gustavo Bondoni is a novelist and short story writer.  His science fiction book Outside deals with some of the same themes, but very differently.  You can check it out here.

Hope and Terror in the Aftermath

I always read the contributor copies of the publications where my stories appear (when they manage to successfully brave the postal system between the English-speaking world and Argentina, that is).  I don’t always read them immediately, though, as they go into the to-be-read pile, which is often biblical in scope.

into the ruins volume 7

So the Fall 2017 issue of Into the Ruins, which contains my tale “Anchored Down in Anchorage” has just cycled through.

When I read the guidelines prior to sending my story through, I remember thinking that a collection of stories set in the ruins of civilization would make for somewhat depressing reading, but the reality is that the magazine was actually a different from what I expected.

In the first place, half of the stories focused on the potential for adventure after the fall of civilization.  It might be worrying if you stop to think about it, but while reading, these tales are mainly entertaining.

The other half of the stories are, interestingly, of the type where humanity falls into its basest patterns… terrifying for different reasons.

So these stories, though set in a world after global warming takes its toll, are not about the catastrophe (even though every single one of them uses global warming and rising sea levels as its starting point as opposed to some other kind of calamity).  The post-civilization world is just a setting to explore the ins and outs of the characters immersed therein.

My favorite was “The Cupertinians” by Damian Macrae, which might best be described as a morally ambiguous romp in the Indiana Jones style.  Wonderful.

 

Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist and short story writer.  His latest novel is entitled Timeless, and you can check it out here.

Global Warming Antho – My Take

I love reading publications that contain my stories.  Unlike many authors who just keep cut sheets of their own stories and discard the rest of the book or magazine (for reasons of space), I not only keep everything, but I also put it in my to-be-read pile.  Eventually, they cycle to the top (my TBR pile is an epic thing which holds a year or more of reading material at any given point in time).

Ecotastrophe II - Edited by J Alan Erwine

The latest contributor copy to make it to the top of the pile was Ecotastrophe II.  As explained in the Amazon book description (see link), this one is a follow-up to an antho that Sam’s Dot published a decade or so ago – this one is from Nomadic Delirium Press.  I have a story in this one called “The Wrong Kind of Ship”, which is an SF piece that I like quite a bit.

Sometimes small press anthos can be hit and miss, but I found this one to be solid all the way through.  The seven stories are entertaining, and though they all speculate about global warming, and therefore fall in the realm of science fiction (for now), there are different styles, ranging from the horror of “The Last Polar Bear” to the bleak outlook of “Pelagus”.

My own favorite was “The Perisphere Solution” by Robert J. Mendenhall, which is a futuristic thriller.

So, recommended not only for the eco-consciousness, but also for holding a number of good stories.

 

Gustavo Bondoni’s is an author whose short fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, but a good place to start is with his reprint collection Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places.  You can see it here.