Free Kindle Giveaway: Goodbye Miami

goodbye-miami

In honor of the inauguration of our new Climate Denier in Chief, I’m doing a free giveaway of my climate fiction novel Goodbye Miami! This giveaway will start on Inauguration Day and continue through next Tuesday. Read more ›

Posted in Books, Cli-Fi, Climate, Global Warming, Goodbye Miami, Politics, Southern Illinois, Treesong's Books

Book Review: Ruby and the Blue Sky by Katherine Dewar

ruby-and-the-blue-sky

Ruby and the Blue Sky is one of my favorite climate fiction novels to date and high on my list for fiction in general. Aside from the obvious appeal for cli-fi readers, it will also have a broader appeal for anyone interested in rock stars, activism, strong female protagonists, and just plain good fiction.

The author handles the recurring theme of climate change and climate action very well. Climate action is central to the plot, so there’s a fair amount of discussion of what the characters are doing in response to the climate crisis. This approach always runs the risk of feeling forced or devolving into a lecture about climate policy. But the first person narrative, robust characterization, and compelling plot all worked together to keep me immersed in the story and involved in the theme without feeling like I was being lectured to.

The use of two narrators was interesting. Most of the story is told in the first person by the protagonist, but between her chapters, there are shorter chapters told from the perspective of the antagonist. I was initially skeptical of this approach because it’s not very common, but I felt that the author used it very well in this case. The result is two very distinct voices telling the story from two very different perspectives. I appreciated the opportunity to see some of the motivations and depth of both characters, although unsurprisingly, the protagonist is the more well-developed of the two. They came together well to tell a single story.

In addition to the climate theme, there’s a whole plot arc that deals with the theme of violence against women and empowerment and healing for survivors. At first, I was concerned that this might be too triggering for some readers and might take the novel in an entirely different direction. Since I’m not a woman myself, I may not be the best judge of how the topic was handled. To me, however, it seemed like it was handled well. The violence was acknowledged, but the emphasis was on empowerment and healing, both for survivors and for their friends and families. I thought it was a very meaningful and personal exploration of the theme. Hopefully it will be healing rather than triggering for readers who are themselves survivors.

Ruby and the Blue Sky is a great example of a novel that tells a nuanced and compelling story, populated with interesting characters, who happen to be grappling with their personal and collective responses to the climate crisis. Any reader could pick up this book simply because they wanted a good read, and walk away from it with some significant food for thought about global warming. That strikes me as the type of climate fiction that may have the greatest impact in the long run. Casual readers will pick it up because they’ve heard it’s a good story and find themselves wondering if they should take any climate actions of their own.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that the approach the characters take to climate action would be an effective approach for the real world. But it’s an approach that I can easily see people trying. It also got me thinking. Would it actually be effective? If not, what would work better? What would I do differently? These sorts of questions lead to productive thinking and dialog on the subject. They also show that I enjoyed the novel enough to take it seriously and really think it over. Those are both good signs of a good novel.

I definitely recommend Ruby and the Blue Sky to everyone who enjoys good fiction. If you have a special interest in climate fiction, then you’ll definitely want to read this book.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Cli-Fi, Climate, Global Warming, Politics

Climate Justice Is Calling

Climate Justice Banner by Stig's Illustration & Design.
Climate Justice Banner by Stig's Illustration & Design.

Climate Justice Banner by Stig’s Illustration & Design.

Over twenty-eight years have passed since James Hansen’s historic Congressional testimony about anthropogenic global warming. Scientists knew about global warming before then, and further research has greatly improved our understanding of it. But Hansen’s testimony is a clearly identifiable moment in history when both the government and the general public of the United States were informed by the scientific community about the emerging climate crisis.

For the past twenty-eight years, many individuals, groups, and public institutions have sought to take action on this climate crisis. An amazing amount of groundbreaking scientific research has been conducted so that we might better understand climate science in general and global warming in particular. Various social, economic, political, and technical solutions have been proposed. Some of these are being implemented. Others have been attempted but failed or were defeated. Others still have not yet been attempted at all, or have been implemented on too small of a scale to make a difference in global emissions. The end result is that in spite of our best efforts to date, our greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing. Even if all nations meet their Paris Climate Accord pledges, the world will still significantly overshoot the two degrees Celsius goal.

In other words, time’s up!

Only swift and dramatic action can change our course in time to avert the worst of this global catastrophe. How can we mobilize such action before it’s too late? Read more ›

Posted in Climate, Climate Justice, Global Warming, Politics

Thank You, Gaia House

gaia-house

gaia-houseFor the past five years, my work at Gaia House Interfaith Center has played a defining role in my life. I’ve been involved at the center in various ways since my freshman year at SIU. At the start of Fall Semester 2011, I joined the staff as a co-director. After several shifts in our budget and staff structure, I eventually became full director and our only paid staff.

As of December 31 of this year, I am stepping down from my position as Director of Gaia House. Since this is major news both for me and for Gaia House, I’ve decided to make a public post about it. Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized
My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois where I write books and serve as director of Gaia House.

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