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.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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6 Responses to Warmer

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    I guess that you can’t just switch to another ISP? Or is it a problem with physical infrastructure?

    • We have two ISPs serving my area, ATT and charter. Complaints about both are legion!

      This is partially a problem of physical infrastructure (storm damage) and partially a problem of incredibly lazy techs (the guy made an adjustment but didn’t verify that it was successful).

      • Cyberkitten says:

        Been with my ISP for years. They seem pretty decent. Had my TV with them too (when I HAD a TV), plus I have my landline and my mobile with them. It’s nice that they keep upgrading their speeds for free. Presently 380Mbps.

      • I live on the edge of the open country, so I suppose I should be grateful for any access. I’m on ADSL, so the download speed is OK (I can stream Breaking Bad) but the upload speed is still somewhere in the 1990s.

  2. Cyberkitten says:

    Out of town speeds here (IF you can get access at all in some areas!) can be VERY low. I’m in the ‘suburbs’ of a large city so speeds and access are pretty good. I can get much faster speeds if I wanted to pay for it, but what I’m getting works fine for me. Present upload speed is around 30Mbps.

  3. I depend on ATT for my internet and TV streaming (only kind I have), so your tale is of some concern. I’d hate to be without the connection for any length of time. Your SF selections sound somewhat interesting, but nothing piques my interest enough to suggest squeezing it into my already full schedule of reading.

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