It's Getting Hot in Here

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It's Getting Hot in Here

Spring has Sprung! Time to get your hands on some epic eco-apocalypse fiction.

Ah, the apocalypse. Whether it's zombies, asteroids, space invaders, or World War III, I cannot get enough of speculative fiction that explores how humanity will bite the dust. Climate Fiction, a term coined by journalist Dan Bloom, is literature that deals in some way with climate change and its effects. Mix this with the post-apocalyptic subgenre and you get some pretty spectacular speculative science fiction. Cli-Fi books can offer one perspective and help us imagine the consequences that rising sea levels, mass extinctions, and more violent natural disasters could have on our planet. While all books about the end of the world might be scary and sometimes sad, they are amazing tools of knowledge and can get readers thinking about real issues that are already affecting future generations.

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins Extreme drought has transformed the California landscape into a nightmarish wasteland full of roving gangs, stifling heat, and a lot of death. Most of the southwest has been evacuated but there are some holdouts, including Luz and Ray who are squatting in an abandoned mansion, trying to survive on cola rations and whatever they can scavenge or loot. Somehow, their love blooms in this arid place and when they find themselves the adoptive parents of a small child, they risk traveling into the waste to find a better life.

Tentacle by Rita Indiana Hernandez
Bursting with energy and lyricism, and plunging headfirst into questions of climate change, Tentacle follows a young maid named Acilde Figueroa. After she is yanked from her life in post-apocalyptic Santo-Domingo, Acilde finds herself at the heart of a strange voodoo prophecy. Only she can travel back in time to save the ocean—and humanity—from disaster, but first she must become the man she always was with the help of a sea anemone.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Nature has reclaimed human civilization in the mysterious Area X, which has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Multiple expeditions into the area have been conducted: the first returned with reports of a pristine natural landscape, the second ended in mass suicide, and the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. While all members of the eleventh expedition returned, they all died of cancer weeks later as shadows of their former selves. Annihilation follows the twelfth expedition, which includes an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist and a biologist (our narrator). Their mission is merely to map the terrain and record all observations of their surroundings and each other. But Area X is too unpredictable and wild to map, and soon the members of our expedition find themselves in over their heads.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The first in Atwood’s groundbreaking Maddaddam Trilogy, Oryx and Crake explore a world that has been devastated by ecological and biological disasters. Snowman, known as Jimmy before the world was overwhelmed by a man-made plague, is mourning the loss of his best friend Crake and the beautiful and elusive Oryx who they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on an epic journey with Crake’s children through a great city which is now a lush wilderness after corporations leveled civilization with genetic experiments. As she does in A Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood projects her readers into a future that is both eerily familiar and terrible beyond imagination.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
This is how the world ends. Again.
Essun comes home to find that her husband has murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze—the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years—collapses as most of its citizens are murdered by a madman. And across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has torn in the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Possibly centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her previously ordinary family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight or clean water and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle for survival. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016, the Stone Sky begins N.K. Jemisin’s intricate, illuminating and record-shattering trilogy, all three of which have won Hugo Awards.