I was extremely pleased to be offered an ARC of this book as my exposure to the solarpunk genre has so far been rather limited and I’ve wanted to change that. I read enough depressing stuff, fiction and nonfiction, that the prospect of reading a collection of stories all of “a type of optimistic science fiction that imagines a future founded on renewable energies” (back cover) is enormously tantalising.
The book promises stories that are uplifting and optimistic, and the seventeen stories in this anthology are speculative in the very best sense of the word: They speculate on how our future could be, rather than how it must be, and provide an optimistic view which somehow manages to escape being escapism. Reading these stories, there is still a sense that these speculations could turn out to be true. The red thread that runs through all of them and ties them together into a lovely whole is the thread of hope: Sometimes the hope that survives in the face of adversity, sometimes the hope that thrives in the seat of comfort. I came away from reading these uplifted.
As is usual with our reviews of anthologies, we’ll review each story individually, and link to the reviews in the contents list below as the reviews are published:
- “Caught Root” by Julia K. Patt
- “The Spider and the Stars” by D. K. Mok
- “Riot of the Wind and Sun” by Jennifer Lee Rossman
- “Fyrewall” by Stefani Cox
- “Watch Out, Red Crusher!” by Shel Graves
- “The Call of the Wold” by Holly Schofield
- “Camping With City Boy” by Jerri Jerreat
- “A Field of Sapphires and Sunshine” by Jaymee Goh
- “Midsummer Night’s Heist” by Commando Jugendstil and Tales from the EV Studio
- “The Heavenly Dreams of Mechanical Trees” by Wendy Nikel
- “New Siberia” by Blake Jessop
- “Grover: Case #C09 920, ‘The Most Dangerous Blend'” by Edward Edmonds
- “Amber Waves” by Sam S. Kepfield
- “Grow, Give, Repeat” by Gregory Scheckler
- “Cable Town Delivery” by M. Lopes da Silva
- “Women of White Water” by Helen Kenwright
- “Under the Northern Lights” by Charlotte M. Ray
All of the authors are new to me but one; Julia K. Patt’s story in Luna Station Quarterly was one of the first I reviewed for this site. But this is what I love about anthologies: A chance to be exposed to new genres and new authors.
The book itself is a lovely one, with attractive typesetting, impeccable proofreading, and a colorful and enticing cover. Having reading this anthology, I’m now quite interested in seeing what else World Weaver Press has to offer.