Exclusive Announcement and Cover Reveal: Loosed Upon the World, an SF Anthology of Climate Fiction


“I think calling it climate change is rather limiting. I would rather call it the everything change…” – Margaret Atwood, Slate.com

Since long before “climate change” was a phrase on every politician’s lips (and before it, global warming, greenhouse gasses, the hole in the ozone layer, acid rain, and on and on), science fiction has considered the things we humans have done—are doing—to our world. As a genre chiefly concerned with looking to the future, it’s only natural to wonder how we’re impacting it today, or if, as a species, we’ll even have one.

Now comes an entire anthology focused on this evermore pressing, never more troubling mainstay in speculative fiction: Loosed Upon the World is a collection of climate stories from 27 of today’s most highly acclaimed genre writers, assembled by John Joseph Adams, venerable editor of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and too many other anthologies to count. Releasing from Saga Press on August 25 (just in time for hurricane season), it is poised to an essential volume that speaks to an unavoidable, universal problem of humanity.

We’re pleased to debut the cover and table of contents for this vital new collection. You’ll find both below, along with some thoughts from John Joseph Adams, following the official blurb.

This is the definitive collection of climate fiction from John Joseph Adams, the acclaimed editor of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and Wastelands. These provocative stories explore our present and speculate about all of our tomorrows through terrifying struggle, and hope.

Join the bestselling authors Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Nancy Kress, Kim Stanley Robinson, Jim Shepard, and over twenty others as they presciently explore the greatest threat to our future.

 This is a collection that will challenge readers to look at the world they live in as if for the first time.

Loosed Upon the World
Stories include:

  • Introduction: John Joseph Adams
  • Shooting the Apocalypse—Paolo Bacigalupi
  • The Myth of Rain—Seanan McGuire
  • Outer Rims—Toiya Kristen Finley
  • Kheldyu—Karl Schroeder
  • The Snows of Yesteryear—Jean-Louis Trudel
  • A Hundred Hundred Daisies—Nancy Kress
  • The Rainy Season—Tobias S. Buckell
  • The Netherlands Lives With Water—Jim Shepard
  • The Precedent—Sean McMullen
  • Hot Sky—Robert Silverberg
  • That Creeping Sensation—Alan Dean Foster
  • Truth or Consequences—Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Entanglement—Vandana Singh
  • Staying Afloat—Angela Penrose
  • Eighth Wonder—Chris Bachelder
  • Eagle—Gregory Benford
  • Outliers—Nicole Feldringer
  • Quiet Town—Jason Gurley
  • The Day It All Ended—Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Smog Society—Chen Qiufan
  • Racing  the Tide—Craig DeLancey
  • Mutant Stag at Horn Creek—Sarah Castle
  • Hot Rods—Cat Sparks
  • The Tamarisk Hunter—Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Mitigation—Tobias Buckell & Karl Schroeder
  • Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet—Margaret Atwood
  • AFTERWORD: Science Scarier Than Fiction—Ramez Naam

John Joseph Adams shared his thoughts:

“As someone who has edited numerous anthologies about the apocalypse, one thing that is very easy to see is this: climate change is an apocalypse-in-progress. And when the head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is the author of a book calling climate change ‘the greatest hoax,’ and says things like, ‘Man can’t change climate [only God can],’ it can feel like we’re living in a dystopian novel.

“Since one of the things fiction does really well is help us contextualize the world around us, I thought it would be interesting to do an anthology of stories specifically about climate change—that, by approaching the topic in the realm of fiction, we can perhaps humanize and illuminate the issue in ways that aren’t as easy to do with only science and cold equations. It’s my hope that the anthology can serve as a warning flare, to show people the kinds of things we can expect if climate change goes unchecked, but also to show some of the possible solutions, to show some of the hope that we can, maybe, still do something about it before it’s too late.”

The message of Loosed Upon the World may be sobering, but Saga Press Executive Editor Joe Monti stresses that it is not a book of dystopian doom and gloom, as evidenced by the following excerpt from the afterword, penned by Ramez Naam (Nexus):

Many of the most science-fictional tools to fight climate change are untested, are almost impossible to truly test at planetary scale—we only have one planet after all. We’re better off cutting our emissions so we don’t need them. But one way or another, when our back is up against the wall, we humans rally. We innovate. We face realities we previously ignored. And we hustle like we never did before.

We fight.

There are scars on our planet. There are scars in the natural world – species lost, half our forests cut down, soil degraded, oceans acidified. We’re going to take deeper scars before this is over. We’re going to lose more species, acidify the oceans more, do damage that it will take millions of years – if not longer – to unwind. Exactly how much damage will we do? How deep will those scars run? We don’t know yet. But we will turn the ship.  Just like the characters in this collection, we’re fighters. I’d never want to bet against that.”

– Ramez Naam, from the afterword

Pre-order Loosed Upon the World, available August 25.

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