Sarena Ulibarri, Editor-in-Chief Recommends:
If you've paid even a little bit of attention to me this year, you've surely heard me yakking about solarpunk. It's a new(ish) science fiction subgenre imagining brighter futures, with a focus on depictions of climate change adaptation, renewable energy technologies, and flattened inequalities. This is still a fairly small movement, but 2017 brought us quite a few solid examples, including my two recommendations for #SPWreads.
Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, from Upper Rubber Book Books, is an ambitious collection of environmental science fiction stories, including some big names such as Nisi Shawl and Daniel José Older. Every story in this is anthology is wonderful, and all have at least a tangential connection to the environment, but the most "solarpunk" of them are T.X. Watson's "The Boston Hearth Project," "Last Chance" by Tyler Young, and "The Reset Project" by Jaymee Goh.
EcoPunk!: Speculative Tales of Radical Futures, from Ticonderoga Publications, is a fantastic collection of solarpunk stories from (mostly) Australian authors who actually understand the implications of climate change and still manage to write fun, optimistic stories. Several of these stories remind us that climate change threatens crops such as coffee and chocolate, and explore the cartels and black markets that could develop when our favorite caffeine is endangered. Several other stories explore the post-humanist idea of giving the land back to the animals--or even transforming ourselves into animals, via body modification or mind transference.
Seriously, if you still think "how can solarpunk have conflict?" please pick up EcoPunk! and let these authors show you how.
K. Bird Lincoln, author of Dream Eater Recommends:
Twisted Reveries by Meg Hafdahl from Inklings Publishing. I am a breast cancer survivor, so I was thrilled to read “Guts” from this short story collection which captured utterly the feeling of sitting in an infusion chair on Mayo’s Gonda building 10th floor and embodied fear and horror of sickness with a fantastic creature. But all the stories in this collection while ranging from horror to every-day banality of human evil have some psychological or emotional pinprick to test yourself with. Here’s my detailed review on Goodreads.
I also dug Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein from Tachyon Publications. No surprise I enjoyed this take on the “kidnapped by faeries” trope, it won the Mythopoeic Award in 2012. Fantasy always pleases me when it uses the fantastic to explore human feelings and relationships and this book does that with a young man getting involved with two sisters. Here’s my detailed review on Goodreads.
Rhonda Parrish, Assistant Editor recommends:
Helix: Blight of Exiles by Pat Flewwelling -- I'm not done reading Helix: Blight of Exiles yet but here is the thing: I'm reading it based on a recommendation from my husband and he is incredibly picky about his fiction but he loved this book, and the resulting series, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Though, as I say, I'm not quite done reading it, I am enjoying it very much. It's not really for the faint of heart, and is significantly darker than your typical World Weaver Press title, but if you like that sort of thing this one is worth a second look.
(Published by Tyche Books)
Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther -- Dude. I just loved the voice of this book. So much. The plot was great too, but it was the voice which pulled me in from page one. Thunder Road is basically Norse mythology brought into the modern world of the Canadian prairies but with a whole lot more twists and turns than you'll ever see on our highways. Okay, I stretched the metaphor a bit too far, but you see what I'm saying. This book is darkly funny -- I laughed out loud for real more than once and recommend it to any fantasy lover who isn't offended by profanity in their fiction ;)
(Published by Ravenstone Press)