Nothing Is As It Was : a collection of short stories about climate change – edited by Amanda Saint & Gillian Walker and published by Retreat West on 3 May 2018
A collection of short stories and flash fictions on the theme of climate change from established and emerging authors who all care about our planet.
A schoolboy inspired by a conservation hero to do his bit; a mother trying to save her family and her farm from drought; a world that doesn’t get dark anymore; and a city that lives in a tower slowly being taken over by the sea.
These stories and many more make up a poignant collection that is sometimes bleak, sometimes light-hearted, but always hopeful that we can make a change.
Changing the conversation with Clifi
Human beings are storytellers. From the time we lived in caves, we have been using stories to teach and to warn one another of potential dangers. Aboriginal dreamtime stories tell of dangerous places and animals, fairy tales teach children right from wrong and even our favourite picture books tell stories about action and consequence. Stories are where we convey our strongest messages and discover endless fascination.
No-one wants to read didactic fiction. We read for the enjoyment of losing ourselves for a while and clifi is no different. I’m reading South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby right now and although climate change is ever present in the subplot and setting, the plot is very much a character-driven, personal journey that could easily be transplanted to any remote setting and still work. Clifi isn’t all post-apocalyptic, dystopian struggle, there are just as many stories of hope, redemption, romance and even poetic lyricism within the genre. It differs from Scifi and fantasy because it’s grounded in real science and that’s what makes it a challenge to write and so interesting to read.
One of the biggest challenges faced by climate scientists is getting people’s attention and changing the conversation. It’s hard to grasp what, exactly, an increase of .2 of a degree over twenty years means to us personally. Talking about data should be enough but it isn’t, people just don’t get it.
Our imagination allows us to see, feel, taste and smell the changed world from the point of view of characters that we can relate to. Compelling narratives capture our interest and tug at our emotions. The world built by a clifi author can serve as a backdrop to the story, or it can be the story, there are no rules.
Global warming is often brushed aside as a problem to be dealt with in the future, there’s not the same sense of urgency about it as with natural disasters, for example. Literature can transport us to a time and place where food and water supply, floods, hurricanes, international relations and social order have drastically changed. Stories enable us to imagine life in a future scenario from every angle, through the power of imagination.
Only inspired people take action. The hope is that readers will feel moved enough to seek out more information. If enough people do that, then we’ve, at least succeeded in changing the conversation and that’s a start.
- Cath Barton – winner of the New Welsh Writing Awards AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella 2017 https://cathbarton.com/about/
- Rose McGinty – author of Electric Souk https://www.retreatwest.co.uk/indie-debuts-electric-souk/
- Susmita Bhattacharya – author of The Normal State of Mind
- Weibo Grobler – twice shortlisted for his Flash Fiction and Poetry for the Fish Publishing Prize he has also had various stories published in Molotov Lit, National Flash Fiction Day, Reflex Fiction, Horror Scribes and more
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
Retreat West Books is an independent press publishing paperback books and ebooks.
Founder, Amanda Saint, is a novelist and short story writer. She’s also a features journalist writing about environmental sustainability and climate change. So all Retreat West Books publications take advantage of digital technology advances and are print-on-demand, in order to make best use of the world’s finite resources.
Retreat West Books is an arm of Amanda’s creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs fiction writing retreats, courses and competitions and provides editorial services.
Initially started to publish the anthologies of winning stories in the Retreat West competitions, Retreat West Books is now open for submissions for short story collections, novels and memoirs. Submission info can be found here.