Other Worlds Ink has a new book coming out in the Writers Save the World anthology series, and we have the cover reveal: Save the World! And there’s a big giveaway.
Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.
We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.
Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.
The future’s not going to fix itself.
About the Series:
“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology form Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.
Scott is giving away 10 eBook copies and 1 paperback copy of book one in this anthology series, “Fix the World.” Enter to win:
Joy stuffed the last bite of chocolate into her mouth, snapped her thermos shut and swung her work kit open again. In it were the last of the hundred and thirty 18- inch ice pitons, a battery-driven screw gun and two extra power packs. A clean handkerchief, her last two chocolate bars, and a thermos of coffee rounded out her gear. In her pocket was a water-proof case containing a notebook, a pen, a thickly rolled spliff of cannabis spiked with a few fudgy streaks of hashish, two lighters, and a box of water-proof matches. Just in case.
Bracing a boot, she set another ice stake in place and pulled the trigger, using both hands to hold the weight of the electric gun. That most satisfying sound, a high-speed whir, followed by the solid CHUNK-CLUNK made her smile as the bolt sank into the ice. The work of pinning another bit of the triple-layer cover into place energized her, and she paused for a sip of coffee. It was imperative that she keep her strength up until the end, she reminded herself, ironic though that was. She had a lot of ground to cover but she was not working alone.
Blanketing the Greenland Ice sheet in knitted cozies was no job for shrinking violets and there were none in Joy’s crew. Only wrinkled old ladies with gray hair and bad attitudes. Now the staunchest were working in suicide squads, diving to pin the final covers in place, shielding the precious ice from the merciless rays of the sun.
Even if you flew over Greenland today it would look frozen. The brown, semi-slushy mud and dirty ice squeaking under her boots told the truth: the permafrost was melting fast, and no one knew how the hell to refreeze it. Joy’s project was the next best thing.
All those Senior Strength and Fitness classes at the Y paid off, Joy reflected. All those miles on the spin cycle had been worth the sweat. She felt hale and hearty and full of life; it seemed a shame that hers would end so soon.
Her tandem mate, Esmeralda, was working in the opposite direction. Es was a retired fighter pilot, US Air Force. With six tours of duty under her belt, and over a thousand sky-dives. Joy had been training with her since January, first tandem then solo. Now it was June. Now it was for real.
At 10,000 feet on this glittering blue morning, Joy and Esmeralda had waited in the cabin of the four-seater Cessna for Marty to give the signal and then, with a grin and a grunt, sprang through the open door.
First stage flare.
Second stage flare.
Controlled thump-down, the muscle memory of the safe landings she had practiced a hundred times kicking in for Joy, the stretch into position for minimal impact, the tucked-shoulder roll. And then the dance of untangling from harness and canopy; an embrace ending in a bear hug. A final gaze into the sparkling eyes of her beloved friend before each had set off in opposite directions, unspooling quilt as they went, kneeling every ten feet to sink a spike. At the cliff edge, they would take a final moment to tie up ends of personal business, say goodbye to the crew via radio, and jump.
Joy and Es both had Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube waltz cued up for the moment. Instead of a spliff, Es had brought half a liter of Clase Azul Reposada tequila. Joy was going to crawl under the gigantic cover just long enough to smoke her doobie and write out a final note to her great-granddaughter Alice. Then, in a blissful haze, each would throw off her parka and dive over the sea cliff, blanket unfurling behind, the weight of their own bodies pinning it into place.
If the fall didn’t kill them the cold would.
FZZT-TZZT. It was Hoshi and Grace, calling from the other side of the berg and the sound of their voices further served to exhilarate. It was really happening now, and there was no turning back.
“Joy! Can you hear me? We’ve reached the halfway point; what’s your progress?” In the background Hoshi called out, “Forty-two stakes! Can you beat that old woman?”
Joy heard Grace cackling into the radio, and snorted at the friendly insult.
“Forty-nine, young Chickadee! My boots walked this planet long before you arrived, so call me old at your peril. I’ve won the numbers game already and now you will never make it to your eighth decade! See you in the Great Beyond, girlfriend. Over and out!”
Dropping the little VHF radio back into the side pocket of her quilted pants and smoothing the Velcro closed, Joy trudged on.
—From “Operation Cover-Up (Kamikaze),” by Rachel Hope Crossman
Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages. He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).
J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.
Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.
Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.
Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.
CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.
J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.
Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.
M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.
Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse.
Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.
Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.
Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.
Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.
M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.
Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.
NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.
Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.
Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.
Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.