Friday, August 31, 2018

Lodi-Ribeiro (ed.), Solarpunk (2018)

Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro (ed.) & Fábio Fernandes (trans.), Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastical Stories in a Sustainable World. World Weaver Press, 2018. Pp. 271. ISBN 978-0-9987022-9-2. $14.95.

Reviewed by Cat Coker

Solarpunk is the latest in a series of themed anthologies—previous installments include Vaporpunk (2010) and Dieselpunk (2011)—edited by Brazilian SF author Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro. First published in Portuguese in 2012, the English edition was funded through a Kickstarter in 2017, and it provides an intriguing window not only into Brazilian genre writing but into the complicated politics of sustainability. “Solarpunk” as a genre has emerged in the 2010s as one of numerous forms of climate fiction, even as climate reality continues to change and converge a number of preoccupations. It has also promised a form of optimism at odds with popular dystopia, managing to combine hopeful science with a cynicism regarding human nature itself. As Sarena Ulibarri notes in the preface, while Americans view even the idea of a world economy of renewable energy as inherently utopian, in other countries it is a matter of necessity and survival: Brazil is one of the world’s leaders in renewable energy with 76% of its energy drawn from wind, solar, and hydropower, but it is far, far from being a liberal utopia. Consequently, the stories collected here run an emotional and genre gamut that is highlighted by the accompanying art work by José Baetas.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Bashe, Gift of Your Love (2018)

Kayla Bashe, The Gift of Your Love. Less Than Three Press, 2018. Pp. 69. ISBN 978-1-684313-00-6. $2.99.

Reviewed by Psyche Z. Ready

Kayla Bashe has written over a dozen books, most of them queer romance/speculative fiction. Bashe is also a gifted poet, and the internet is positively littered with their poetry and short fiction. They self-describe as a “disabled queer badass” who writes about “themes of hope and community.” They have a small but loyal following, decent tumblr fame, and after reading this book, I can understand why. The Gift of Your Love is a quick, fun adventure romp that left me feeling good and I can’t wait to read more. But for me, the strength of this novella is its honest and heartening portrayal of neurodiversity.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Meikle, Ghost Club (2017)

William Meikle, The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror. Crystal Lake Publishing, 2017. Pp. 189. ISBN 978-1-642049-31-2. $14.99.

Reviewed by Valeria Vitale

The Ghost Club by William Meikle is an unusual collection of ghost-themed short stories, that is something in between an homage and a divertissement. The idea behind the book is quite bold, but also very endearing: each of the stories here gathered are written by one single author, but in the style of a different famous writer of ghost stories of the past (mostly, but not only, from the British Victorian era). In other words, it is a collection that pretends to be an anthology. The explicit fakery is one of the things that attracted me to the book in the first place. Editorially, the stories are presented as if they were written by authors such as R.L. Stevenson or Bram Stoker. In this way, Meikle actually combines two of my passions: falsification and ghosts. How could I resist?