Review of Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers

Cover art for Glass and GardensGlass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers, edited by Sarena Ulibarri (World Weaver Press, 2018), is a collection of 17 solarpunk short stories, which World Weaver Press defines as “a type of optimistic science fiction that imagines a future founded on renewable energies.” Even within that scope, the anthology presents a wide array of stories with diverse characters.

Many of the stories in this anthology are young adult friendly, with a sizable number featuring young protagonists. There are also a handful of stories with older women as the protagonists, which is a refreshing change from so much fiction that doesn’t consider older women as appropriate protagonists.

Unsurprisingly, several of my favorite stories in the anthology were the ones with the younger protagonists. “Riot of the Wind and Sun” by Jennifer Lee Rossman is a delightful story of teenage girls who really want their favorite band to show up in their middle-of-nowhere town, and figure out a way to make it happen. “Cable Town Delivery” by M. Lopes da Silva features two different protagonists, one young and one older, and winds up being a lovely story about heroic librarians and kites.

Some of the stories are notable for the way they play with the world, language, or the theme. “Fyrewall” by Stefani Cox features a neat blend of technology with natural symbiosis. Blake Jessop’s “New Siberia” is gorgeously poetic and loses none of its strength as a story to the flowery language. And “Grover: Case #C09 920, ‘The Most Dangerous Blend'” by Edward Edmonds gets a full on nearly noir murder mystery into the solarpunk theme.

I’m always a fan of anthologies, because short stories are a great way to experience a lot of authors at once. If you like your science fiction and fantasy with a hopeful outlook and a diverse cast of characters, you’re likely to find many of the stories in Glass and Gardens to your liking!

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