Meet The Stories
Matt Beeson offers a rounded (but occasionally sweary!) take on climate change in an entertaining introduction, considering four key Axioms:
Pis Aller by J.McDonald
Geoclemys hamiltonii, Geo for short, is a child living in Pis Aller, home to the last remaining humans. The children of Pis Aller spend their days attending classes such as botany, geology, and zoology, with antiquities being Geo’s most dreaded subject. In antiquities, students are forced to relive the atrocities of the previous millennia in virtual reality. As rumours of “The Leaving” circulate, Geo must come to grips with the horrors of the past and what they will mean for the future.
The Mouse by Nadine Dalton-West
Ariadna is going to see the Mouse. Her mummy thinks it is a terrible idea but her Daddy has promised and now they are really, truly going to see the Mouse! Readers may understand why Ariadna is excited. This is no ordinary mouse. This mouse is the 25th attempt to resurrect the otherwise extinct species. Set in the near future where no animal species (other than humans) remain, The Mouse is a vivid depiction of a dystopian future brought about by the carelessness of humankind.
Snowglobed by Mark Kirkbride
Snowglobed is a story of climate change denial with a different twist. Jim Frante is familiar with the radio circuit spouting his denialist claims, and he’s pretty good at it too, until he finally meets his match…
Charli by John J Ernest
Charli is a maintenance engineer who works on the hab dome, and she’s damn good at her job. Humans need the habs to survive: the outside is no longer pleasant and hospitable. This day-in-the-life story sees Charli assigned to visit Sector Forty-two to inspect and repair a crack in the dome that may not be everything it seems…
Burning Ambition by Jodie Hammond
Ben, Amelia, and Henry Walker live in nature’s perfect idyll, until they’re forced to flee a forest fire that threatens their home. Burning Ambition is a visceral account that transports readers to witness one of the consequences of climate change that is already evident in many places around the world, from the perspective of a young family in fear for their home and lives.
Mother’s Care by Gabriela Houston
The are no more humans to provide, but there is food to be found if you know where to look, and if you are determined enough to survive. Mother’s Care is a window to what humans leave behind once we are done and lends a gripping account of what a mother may be forced to do to protect her babies.
Unicorn Rising by A J Dalton
Unicorn Rising is a fantastical and poignant parable that reminds us to focus on the things that are important. Occam’s Razor is sometimes paraphrased as ‘when you hear hoofbeats, don’t go looking for unicorns until you’ve ruled out zebras, and don’t go looking for zebras until you’ve ruled out horses.’ There’s truth here for prevention of dangerous climate change too: we have all of the tools we need; we just need to get on with it before we lose everything that matters.
Little Fish, Big Pond by Matt Ryder
Celikidha, Celik for short, has been observing and studying the planet earth from space for a long time, but even with her depth of experience, she can’t figure out what’s going on. Something very strange is happening to the environment and she needs to solve the mystery before it’s too late. After all, she’s grown quite fond of these humans…
Seven Photographs by Huw James
A poignant description of one man’s transition from present day ‘Doomer’ to ‘Prepper’ to someone just living with the near-future effects of climate change. This is a story of how people adapt, how we find new ways to live a normal life. Readers may discover heroism draped in a cloak of understatement and matter-of-factness.
Ancient Memories, About a Virus by Gabriel Wisdom
Doctor Spencer Poindexter receives a call from an old friend: a virus has been released from the melting Siberian permafrost. But this is no ordinary virus… This story exemplifies the Unknown Unknowns of climate change. There are plenty of risks that we can identify and address, either through prevention or mitigation, but some futures are certainly innately unknowable. The organism, buried in oxygen-free ice, hasn’t had a chance to spread and mutate. Now the ice is melting…
The Cow by Jamie Bear
Human empathy comes in many varieties. This is a story that asks you to explore what it means to be empathetic, and what it means to be human. A woman desperately loves her new-born baby, but society doesn’t see her as a human with feelings and needs. She is exploited without any regard to the consequences.
At First Bite by Stephen Beeson
John Smith is the last human, and now he’s dead. He didn’t mean to be the last, and he probably didn’t mean to be dead. He just wanted to get drunk. At First Bite is an amusing alternative history of the end of humanity that reminds us that all of our decisions have consequences.
A Day by Amie Angèle Brochu
Tym knows the shafts and corridors like no other: the colony is an engineering marvel that has stood the test of time. Until today… A Day considers what it means to adapt to climate change from a different perspective to that which most of us will be accustomed.
The Garden by David Perryman
Georgia (Gigi) Mater’s husband died back in 2028 when she was 68 but she still has her garden to tend… The Garden continues the Last Horizon theme of ‘what does it mean to be human’? And leads us on to consider our own individuality along with the seeming madness of warring collective consciousnesses. If only we could see what was really important…
Waste by Michael Conroy
You grab an old newspaper from decades ago. Fuel crisis… Water shortages… Two minutes until midnight. The grey print and pictures are faded… Waste is a story of survival after the fall. Readers are transported by beautiful spare second person narrative into the life of a man trying to survive and provide for his family. The theme of waste is also a challenge to the consumerist society that continues to drive the dangerous changes to our climate. Sooner or later we may all have to decide how much we really need, and make harsh choices as to what is most important to us…
The Fairbourne Witches by Matt Beeson
Fairbourne is a village in Wales, next to the sea, low lying on reclaimed salt marsh. It will be one of the first settlements to be abandoned in the UK due to rising sea levels. The Fairbourne Witches weaves together themes of science-fiction, fantasy, love, grief, and hope against the Fairbourne backdrop, into a poetic vision of a present lived on licence from a future indifferent to our cares and dreams. The narrative appeals to us to dig deeper into ourselves to find a better way forward.
A human is a thing of imagining and dreams, of hopes and fantasies. The muck and mist of what has gone before are the chains and weights that you tie to your wings, all of your own accord. They are not who you are…
The Sacred Grove by Joe Smith
A comedic pastiche of the short stories of M. R. James and Sheridan Le Fanu, ‘The Sacred Grove’ is a Victorian ghost story without a ghost… or, for that matter, any malevolent spirit whatsoever. Instead, Charles Featherstone, curator of the Diss Museum of History and amateur archaeologist, and his assistant/fiancée, Kitty Tuttle, are haunted by their changing perceptions of the natural world after Charles finds a white conch balanced on an outcrop of rocks in Anglesey and, believing it to be a Druid offering to the island’s genius loci, takes it for his museum. Initially dismissive of age-old beliefs about the sanctity of nature, the pair become increasingly unsettled and overwhelmed by their sense of their environment the longer the conch remains in their possession…
Seaweed City by Boe Huntress
Set in the far future beleaguered by Toxus and Corps, Desyr seeks not just survival or alliance, but communion. She finds this and so much more… Seaweed City is a beautiful story that invites the reader to participate in a different consciousness, the interlace. Even though we have poisoned the seaweedians with our pollyshun and plaz-tek, the Seaweed want to help us, it wants to save us, if only we will let it.
Over years of study we’ve gleaned an understanding of the fleshy flaw: they believe they are separate.
Meet The Authors
This exciting and relevant new collection, inspired by climate change, brings together the writing talents of Gabriela Houston, Mark Kirkbride, Nadine Dalton-West, A J Dalton, Matt Beeson, Michael Conroy, Gabriel Wisdom, J.McDonald, Boe Huntress, Amie Angèle Brochu, Jamie Bear, John J Ernest, Jodie Hammond, Stephen Beeson, Joe Smith, Matt Ryder, Huw James, and David Perryman.
Humanity is at a crossroads’ could be the start of any number of science fiction stories. Unfortunately for humanity, as a cursory google of the phrase will reveal, we appear to be living through our very own science fiction story. The decisions that individuals, communities, and nations make now will have a profound effect on our future.