Review: Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers, Sarena Ulibarri

Review: Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers, Sarena Ulibarri

Book cover of Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers by Sarena Ulibarri, colourful abstract landscape with solar panels, wind turbines and abstract towers.

Genre is a multi-faceted concept, which is what this anthology emphasizes. I wanted to dive into solarpunk for a while, and this one came recommended as one of the genre’s seminal works, so it seemed like a good start.

If we look at Story Grid’s 5-Leaf Clover of Genre, which identifies genre as consisting of content, time, structure, reality and style, then solarpunk defines the reality of the stories in this anthology. It provides the backdrop against which the stories are set, outlines the realities the characters occupy. On average, the premise is that of a world where humanity is coming to grips or has come to grips with the devastating effects of climate change and has flourished in the aftermath. Most of the stories adhere to this recipe, even though some paint a more grim picture. The scenery provides an interesting look at how we could live more harmonious within our environment without giving up technology.

Yet, if everything was peachy, this book would be very boring. A good story needs conflict, it needs drama, and that is provided by the first leaf of the 5-Leaf Clover of Genre: content. There were love stories, murder mysteries, stories of betrayal and alliances, stories of transformation and more.

As with many anthologies, the quality of the stories varies. There were some absolute gems in here, as there were less well-written ones, and everything in between. Just for the gems, it’s worth picking up this anthology. And as for the less well written ones, they’re all short enough to sit them out and anticipate the next one.

Would recommend.

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