Monday, November 7, 2016

Everything Change, edited by Manjana Milkoreit, Meredith Martinez and Joey Eschrich

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(Climate Change) Twelve finalists from the 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest on the theme of realistic stories of the near future that invite people to reflect on today's challenges. (44,919 words; Time: 2h:29m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

The 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest was conducted by Arizona State University.

"," edited by Manjana Milkoreit, Meredith Martinez and Joey Eschrich, published on by .

Good Work for Novice Writers

Margret Atwood said "It's not climate change--it's everything change." The stories in this collection aim to show what that means. This volume was the result of Arizona State University's contest. It presents the prize winner, "Sushine State" first, followed by the four runners-up, and then the other seven finalists.

All of these stories are about the near-future (~ 50 years from now) impact of climate change. Seven of the stories are either mid or post-apocalypse; in the rest, most of the world is coping to one degree or another, although the protagonists are generally in places that are feeling the most pain. In seven of the stories (not the same seven), the protagonists are in a hopeless situation. In the rest, the protagonists are either holding on or else hopeful of making a better world. The winner was a hopeful story, as was the one story that RSR recommends.

Considering that these were all first-time writers (or close to it), these stories are remarkably solid. Out of 12 stories, we recommended 1 (average for the year-to-date would be 2) and recommended against 4 (which is average). Most of the stories have strong writing. The ones with problems generally had trouble with their plots, particularly with reaching a conclusion.

Compared with other "CliFi" stories, these are remarkably realistic. Only a couple of them stretch the bounds of the amount of change one could realistically expect to see by the end of the 21st Century.


Sunshine State, by Adam Flynn and Andrew Dana Hudson, was the contest winner, and even though we only gave it three stars, we'll mention it anyway because it was a close call. It takes place in Florida just as sea-level rise is beginning to cause unacceptable losses. The heroes are a cheerful group of people with an underground project they're sure can make a big difference. It's a fun read from start to end, provided you don't think too hard about the details.

On Darwin Tides, by Shauna O'Meara was our choice for the best story for two reasons: first, it was the only one that really triggered any positive emotional response; it really made us care about the characters. Second, it is the only story in the group with a tight plot. Nothing is wasted in this little story; every detail counts.

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1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. Free and DRM-free ebook -- guess I've got no excuse not to check it out!