Tired of Grim Dystopias? Try Solarpunk!

Solarpunk is a relatively newer subset of the cyberpunk and steampunk genres, being introduced in 2008. Solarpunk focuses on what the future might be like using renewable resources. Often humanity is managing to coexist in a more harmonious way with the world and while natural disasters might not have been avoided, they are less likely to destroy the planet. Solarpunk focuses on futures that are not dystopias and as much as I love a dystopia novel, it’s great to read something with hope for the future. So take a look at these!

Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-speculation is a great place to start. It’s a collected anthology of stories, artwork, and poetry. Tales of impending ecological doom with hope at the end, with some stories being described as hauntingly beautiful.

Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson takes place in 2065 in California. People live in harmony with nature but this idyllic lifestyle is being threatened by the desire for power and money over others, people’s greed. This is the last book in a trilogy, you can read the other two first but they take place in 2047 (The Wild Shore: Book 1 ) and 2027 (The Gold Coast: Book 2 ) with different main characters. It helps to set the world but your true solarpunk adventure will be found in 2065 with Pacific Edge.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is both a graphic novel and movie by Hayao Miyazaki. It follows Nausicaa, a princess, with an empathetic bond with the giant insects that live on the planet. She fights for peace, trying to create tolerance and understanding in an effort to sustain the natural resources still on her planet.

Finally, let me suggest A Door into the Ocean by Joan Slonczewski, which takes place on a world called Shora. It is an ocean world and the colonists who land there decide to change themselves instead of terraforming the planet. They choose to live in balance with the world but this is threatened when invaders come to conquer Shora and expand their dominance in the solar system. So, can the peaceful colonists of Shora teach balance to these invaders and save their planet?

Hopefully these books will introduce you to the genre of solarpunk and, if you are looking for more after these, click here for a few more suggestions.

~Posted by Meranda T.


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