Cover Image: Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters

Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters

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Member Reviews

I enjoy dystopias and postapocalyptic wastelands, but they don't present the future I want for myself or future generations. I want an optimistic future founded on renewable energies. I believe people can coexist peacefully with nature. Yes, I'm that naive.

Solarpunk's ideas are close to my heart. In short, the genre can be described as a type of optimistic science fiction that focuses on visions of a brighter future.

The seventeen stories packed into this anthology approach a variety of ethical and technological issues while trying to present a sustainable world. I loved most ideas and conceptions presented in the stories. Some of them are simply mind-blowing, some merely exciting.

However, clever ideas and thought-provoking concepts aren't enough to make an excellent story. As a reader, I want strong conflict and distinct characters. I didn't get much of it in Glass and Gardens.

I don't want to discourage anyone from giving this anthology a try. I think that most stories here are based on great ideas. Unfortunately, with two or three exceptions they lack a strong narrative voice or a conflict that would engage the reader.

Having said that, I plan to delve into the solarpunk genre. I hope I'll find the books that not only display the kind of sustainable future I want but also relatable and three-dimensional characters.
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I'm new to all of these authors, which is unfortunate since there's a good amount of talent represented. There is a wide variety scenarios presented here, and it's a nice change of pace to get stories that are more optimistic than dystopian. I guarantee all of the stories won't resonate, but overall, this is a good bet. Recommended.

I really appreciate the review copy!
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I love science fiction short stories, and these are well-done.  I had no idea what 'solarpunk' meant before this book, and I really like its theme and the new authors I've read in this anthology.
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This is an anthology of short stories written by:  Sarena Ulibarri, Wendy Nikel, Holly Schofiel, Sandra Ulrich Almazan, Sarah Van Goethem, Steve Toase, Heather Kitzman, Tales from the EV Studio, Commando Jugendstil, Tessa Fisher, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Thomas Badlan, Lex T. Lindsay, R. Jean Mathieu, Brian Burt, Jerri Jerreat, Catherine F. King, Shel Graves, and Andrew Dana Hudson.

World Weaver Press and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published January 7th.

Many of the stories are set after world disaster.  Much of the time it was natural failure due to humans using everything up.  There are several same-sex couples in the stories.

What I found most intriguing was that no one gave up.  They found other ways to do things.  They hid in shelters, grew their own food, and still found joy in life. 

From saving narwhals, to trying to bring snow back to Maine, to eating moss, there are many tales of fantasy.  These authors used their imaginations.

I found it to be an enjoyable read.  All the stories were good.
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There was a lot of variety in the stories, in every way: quality, focus, theme, mood. If that's something you like, great news. I thought it felt kind of disjointed-- some stories are about futuristic settings, and the plots are secondary, but some are about people and events with the futuristic details being a minor point.

Some of the short stories felt crowded. Sci-fi is hard to do in a short stories, because there's such a limited space to set up the world. It was refreshing that each story featured (pretty exclusively, even to minor characters) other-abled, non cis-het-white characters, but it made it even harder to set the scene. Not only do you have very limited space to tell a story, but it's futuristic, so set up how the world ended; oh, and also explain how the main character was raised by her lesbian biracial grandmothers and then go into the local culture. Too compressed to do justice to characters who deserve to be full people.

Recommended primarily for readers who want hopeful sci-fi, or who want more gender-diverse short stories. Not a must-read.
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley..

I really wasn't sure what I was going to be getting with this book...   and if i'm being honest, i'm still not 100% sure what i think about it.  It was an okay read.   NOthing really popped out to me as amazing.
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When I saw this title available for download on Netgalley I was ecstatic! I have been interested in and part of the Solarpunk community since around 2015, but I haven’t always managed to get my hands on the short story anthologies, so I was really excited to read this one. Of course, with any short story collection, it becomes challenging to review, since there are so many different voices and stories, but I chose to rate this book by rating each story individually, and then averaging all of them together, which came out to 3.7 stars, which I will round up to 4 stars, especially since I think the editing and order of the stories was spot on. I won’t go into every story individually, but I’ve listed each story’s rating at the end of this review.

I would like to highlight a few of my favorite stories, in order of appearance. First was "The Fugue of Winter" by Steve Toase. I really enjoyed the premise of this story, since it took into account things that other stories did not, like what would happen to extremely fragile wooden instruments as temperatures dropped. Within the limited word count, Toase managed to give us a strong sense of place, high stakes, and a meaningful message.

Next, "Glâcehouse" by R. Jean Mathieu. This is another one where the sense of place was really strong for me, and being fluent in French I also enjoyed it and thought the bilingual parts were done pretty well. In particular, I liked how this story flipped the script of many of the other stories—instead of it being set in a world in which climate change had veered toward another ice age, it explored people who tried to preserve the winters of the past in a warming future ("Black Ice City" also did this, but I think it was not as effective). I also liked how Mathieu left some details out, details which would have made an appearance if it were a full length novel, but which would have been extraneous in a short story (for example, why Corriveau is an ass and why he’s famous. It’s intriguing, but ultimately not as important). 

The bilingual/French aspects in several of these stories really appealed to me, which leads me to my next 5-star story—"On the Contrary, Yes" by Catherine F. King. In this story, the Solarpunk aspects didn’t jump out at me as much as in other stories, but I really loved the characters and the situation in which they found themselves. I liked how this story featured the arts instead of the sciences, or politics, and I liked how the characters found meaning in each other’s works at the end. 

The last story I’d like to highlight is "Set the Ice Free" by Shel Graves. This story, I’d like to see more of. I would love to see it turn into a full novel. I just think the concept is so cool—the people who choose to stay behind on Earth while others search the galaxy for another home. There were essentially two storylines in this short story, which is of course challenging with such limited space, but Graves did it really well. I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the plot. This is definitely my favorite story in the book. 

All in all, I had a wonderful time with "Glass and Gardens" and would highly recommend. I’d be happy to talk about any of the stories more in depth, and if you’ve just finished this anthology and would like to become more active in the Solarpunk movement and would like to be a part of our Discord, let me know and I can contact a mod for you!

Wings of Glass by Wendy Nikel - 4 stars
Helps’ Promise by Holly Schofield - 3 stars
A Shawl for Janice by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan - 4 stars
The Healing by Sarah Van Goethem - 3 stars
The Fugue of Winter by Steve Toase - 5 stars
The Roots of Everything by Heather Kitzman - 4 stars
VIAM INVENIEMUS AUT FACIEMUS by Commando Jugendstil and Tales from the EV Studio - 2 stars
Recovering the Lost Art of Cuddling by Tessa Fisher - 3 stars
Oil and Ivory by Jennifer Lee Rossman - 4 stars
Orchidaceae by Thomas Badlan - 3 stars
The Things That Make It Worth It by Lex T. Lindsay - 3 stars
Glâcehouse by R. Jean Mathieu - 5 stars
Snow Globe by Brian Burt - 3 stars
Rules For a Civilization by Jerri Jerreat - 4 stars
On the Contrary, Yes by Catherine F. King - 5 stars
Set the Ice Free by Shel Graves - 5 stars
Black Ice City by Andrew Dana Hudson - 3 stars
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Perhaps it’s just that I’m in winter now, but this book really captured my attention. I love the idea and the beauty is that readers are sure to find authors whose visions connect with them. Creative and original.
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