Solarpunk has always resonated with me. I love optimistic visions of a future where technology meshes with the natural world, transforming enemies into allies. An article about seasteading made me wonder: if people can build environmentally friendly floating cities in the ocean, why not on the vast expanse of the Great Lakes that border my home state of Michigan? A recent family trip to Isle Royale — probably the most remote U.S. national park, a rugged chunk of wilderness in the middle of Lake Superior — provided the final bit of inspiration.
To naturalists, Isle Royale is famous for its Winter Study of moose and wolf populations isolated on a 200-square-mile island far from human civilization. What better place for the Native American characters in my short story "Snow Globe" to launch their archipelago of lakesteads, dynamic floating laboratories where they can experiment with new kinds of society and culture? Lake Superior herself became a character as well: cold and deep and lovely, her calm surface capable of exploding with the fury of winter storms. (My family can assure you, after our stomach-churning ferry ride back from Isle Royale to the Michigan mainland, that you wouldn't like her when she's angry.)
Isle Royale remains the one constant. It has withstood the steady pounding of Lake Superior for millennia, providing a refuge for endangered creatures and ancient legends alike. When my wife and son and I hiked the densely wooded trails along Rock Harbor, saw moose wading into the shallows and heard the haunting cries of loons, we felt blessed, touched by a magic rarely encountered in the modern world. How could any writer not draw inspiration from an experience like that!
I loved exploring the fictional world inhabited by the characters of "Snow Globe." I hope you do, too. Just remember: on Isle Royale, or anywhere on Lake Superior, surprises await. Keep your eyes open and your life jackets strapped tight!