1 Feb 2018

Review: 2047: Short Stories from Our Common Future

I am one of the ten authors of stories in this collection of "clifi" essays from 2047, so I am not exactly unbiased, but I read the stories for the first time in the past few days and therefore have some ability to review them for your benefit.

This book uses fiction to give us some perspective of how people like us might be living, loving and feeling in a future world that has "progressed" another 30 years from 2017. The dates are in reference to the 1987 Brundtland Report, which gave us one of the most commonly cited definitions of sustainable development, i.e., "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This definition can be -- and should be -- expanded to apply to economic growth, consumer consumption, and other names for everyday human activities.

This collection of short stories brings a diversity of perspectives to the topic. Without giving away the many compelling plot shifts, they examine:
  1. The extinction of a local population of killer whales
  2. A journalist's attempt to see the human side of eco-terrorists
  3. The semi-blind cooperation of twin scientists
  4. A farming family struggling with their own decisions [my story, ignored here]
  5. The technology that allows us to escape our reality
  6. A budding romance meets the in-laws
  7. A rebellious artist who masters plastic
  8. Tourists exploring the last wild snow
  9. A poem of regret
  10. The use (and abuse) of technology for profit
Some of these stories were a little rough in their use of language or sentence structure, but they all succeed in drawing you in, eager to turn the page to find out what happens. As someone who has edited over 60 short stories aimed at a similar goal (to make you think about the future), I was not just happy to see more variations on this theme (our life in the future), but pleased to find myself asking for more after I reached the final page.

Bottom line: I give this collection FOUR STARS for bringing humanity to the sometimes dry, sometimes vague discussion of how our lives might change under the twin influences of climate change and environmental degradation. Read, enjoy, share this book.