I’m currently without internet (going on a week now) because AT&T is as efficient as one might expect a bloated former monopoly with decades of entrenched bureaucracy and labyrinthine phone trees to be. I’m still reading, though: I recently finished When Darwin Comes to Town and am a third through Dark Matter and Dinosaurs; I also read two pieces of nonfiction by Cory Doctorow, as well as a handful of smaller ebooks. This post, though, is about a SF collection from Amazon Original Stories.
Last year I read the Forward collection, an interesting set of near-future SF stories. I noticed then that Amazon had another such collection, Warmer, collecting stories about human life in the wake of climate change. Unlike the Forward collection, they were disappointing on the whole: the stories are short, largely unimaginative, and often pointless. I’d assume anyone reading a series of short stories about climate change is already concerned about it, so it was disappointed to see nothing but low-hanging fruit here: people complaining about the heat, thinking about extinct polar bears, and pondering coastlines where land used to be. I enjoyed two of the seven stories.
This is the Way the World Ends follows two professors competing for the same job, marooned in Mississippi during a freak blizzard. This story was unique in the collection in focusing on the ‘weirding’ effect of climate change, instead of heat and sea levels.
Controller features a man’s frustrations living with his elderly and miserable mother as they battle for control of the AC.
Boca Raton kicks off when a young woman discovers something ghastly on the beach and drifts into a week of insomnia, brooding, depression, and madness.
There’s No Place Like Home is one of the few stories in this collection that has an actual plot, and follows a young woman reeling in the wake of her father’s suicide. She’s a member of the ‘youngest generation’, a large cohort of young people whose poor health in wake of food shortages has caused them to miss puberty. This is set in an increasingly deserted Los Angeles, as much of the city’s population has fled to cooler climes.
Falls the Shadow sees a paratrooper turned environmental commercial actor attend a sustainability conference. Yes, that’s the plot.
The Hillside is….the sort of thing you might read in middle school. In some fantastical future where human civilization has collapsed and the world is now run by a bureaucracy of animals whose main activity is lecturing humans (who they keep kenneled in a little valley) on how terrible their ancestors were for destroying the planet.
At the Bottom of a New Lake was the other interesting title in this collection, set on the East Coast after flooding turns the seaside into a new lake and returns the waterfront to the working class. A young Chinese girl sees the lake as a beautiful thing – her place, and one with buried treasure to boot – and can’t understand her teacher’s moaning about the world that was lost to the waters.