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Review: Save the World Anthology

Save the World - J. Scott Coatsworth

Genre: Sci-Fi, Hopepunk

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

Get It On Amazon | Universal Buy Link | Liminal Fiction |  Goodreads

About The Book

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

The Review

As with his previous anthology of climate-change related sci-fi stories, Scott Coatsworth presents us with a remarkable collection of writers and their work. There is no way to describe this diverse group of tales, other than the fact that every one of them deals with issues of climate change. The range of fantasy scenario stakes the reader from pragmatic solutions applied to global problems, to narrative scenarios laying out the extreme consequences of inattention.

Some stories present post-apocalyptic visions of a world forever altered; while others offer a more optimistic vision of change created in the nick of time. In no scenario, however, is it easy. A lot of uncomfortable topics are raised, not the least of which is the human inability to relinquish its selfish nature without external pressure. We will not change until we are forced to change.

But these are also nearly all tales of personal relationships, ties of kinship and friendship and love shaping the lives of those who are trying to save the world. There are children and young people and old people, offering us a striking range of experiences and perspectives.

By the Light of the Stars, by R.M. Roshak

Grace and Mishael, two young women on a date, learn about each other while trying to save a clutch of newly-hatched baby sea turtles. A startling basic lesson on how humans have the power to change things.

The Sand Ship Builders of Chitungwiza, by Masimba Musodza

A mythical story set on the African continent, contrasting those who value intellect and know-how (embodied by the wheel-chair bound Muchenjeri) with those who believe in power (exemplified by Chief Seke Mutema).

Operation Cover-Up (Kamikaze), by Rachel Hope Crossman

A touching, rather heartbreaking story of just how far Joy, a 75-year-old grandmother, will go to save the planet for her grandchildren.

Black Waters, by Lisa Short

York Douglas is a teenage girl, raised in a decrepit high rise known as Halcyon Blue. She and her girlfriend Jakarta Asali face the realities of what upward mobility means in a world polluted beyond repair.

Stubborn as Dirt, by Holly Schofield

Allie Gunderson, a schoolgirl with a great mind and dreams of saving the planet, finds herself challenged by Nature itself as she works with her teacher and classmates to remediate human damage to a local creek.

Old McDonald Saves the World, by Jennifer R. Povey

A young woman courting another, Frances meets with her new romantic interest Briony on her family’s cattle farm. A gentle and clever exposition of contradictory viewpoints on saving the planet.

Graft by Jennifer Irani

Emmitt and the narrator, friends since childhood, are caught in a fire that burns Emmit badly, along with much of their planting of Azolla ferns—a plant with the potential to help heal the earth. Emmit’s painful recovery is bolstered by an outpouring of community support.

Interview by M.D. Neu 

Jason Emerson and his husband of 51 years are being publicly honored for all they’ve done to save the planet. As Jason sees it, all that happened was that they were inspired by a trip into space.

House of Cinders, by Michael McCormick

A man has a recurring nightmare of a burning house, symbolic of the rising temperature of the planet. A rather mystical story ending with the birth of a child. This sent a shiver down my spine.

Shit City by J. Scott Coatsworth

Jason Vasquez, a brilliant gay teenager and engineer-wannabe, is rescued from the roof of his apartment house during the great Oakland flood. He is transported by his rescuers to a barren settlement in the middle of the midwestern desert. What at first seems to be a nightmarish internment camp begins—surprisingly—to feel like home.

Just This Side of Salvageable, by Andrew Rucker Jones 

A quirky polyamorous trio, Matt, his girlfriend Sigrid, and her wheelchair bound husband Donovan—are engaged in a botanical quest to reforest the parched planet.

The Mycoremediator, by Derek des Anges

Non-binary Damo and his friends are, on the one hand, fun-loving club kids, and on the other hand young scientists trying to save the planet through fungi. His friends introduce the socially-resistant Damo to Leon, a musician who thinks outside the box.

Saviors by Geoffrey Hart

Another brief, somewhat mystical story that I found weirdly exalting. An unknown little girl is born and, without anyone quite noticing, changes the world.

Chasing the Zephyr Prize, by J.G. Follansbee

Personal ambition, family pride, and basic human decency all come to the fore as Captain Matt Peasley and his daughter Sally sail their wing-sail ship in the race of their lives.

Drawing the Line by Gustavo Bondoni

Yevgeny, an engineer, is the only Russian working at an African climate change center that maintains what is called The Line—a dense forest that has reclaimed much of the Sahara Desert. The center’s director, Siti Gisemba, a woman of Maasai heritage, both intimidates and enthralls Yevgeny’s imagination.

Just a Little Empathy, by Jana Denardo

On an idyllic farm deeply rooted in earth-friendly practices, Yoshi, her wife Raine, their husband Michael, are raising their children and planning a music festival. Their chief hurdle is an eco-terrorist group that rejects any efforts to change what they see as the earth’s natural climate cycle.

Thunder on the Ocean, by Christopher R. Muscato

A splendid, vivid mini-epic tale of a seagoing Northwestern Native tribe, whose forebears to have solve the mystery of depolymerizaton of plastics. This blew me away.

Thirty-Five and Change, by M.J. Holt

Anna Wills, a thirty-five year-old language teacher, is caught up in the push toward climate change reversal, before she is caught up in a mysterious plasma cloud that arrives on earth.

Protective Acts, by Heather Marie Spitzberg

An old woman ponders a changed world over oat milk and cookies with her grandchild. A gentle, lyrical imagining of what dramatic cultural change might look like.

The Last Caretaker, by C.J. Erick

A powerful and touching finale to this anthology. Farren “Digger” Greenwich, 80 years old, thinks back on his fifty years as part of the original crew of Alpha One—the first of a network of space stations created to try to save the planet from space. Beauty and brutality, hope and despair, all from a thousand miles away.

Five stars.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.

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