Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Five recent novels about climate catastrophe

Anne Charnock won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2018 for Dreams Before the Start of Time. Her latest novel is Bridge 108.

At Tor.com, Charnock tagged five recent novels about climate catastrophe, including:
Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

A must-read novel for me because Amitav Ghosh, in his non-fiction book The Great Derangement, lamented that mainstream realist fiction has failed to incorporate climate change in its narratives. How has Ghosh himself tackled the subject of climate in Gun Island? The answer, partly, is by setting for his story in a region of the world under great threat from flooding and rising sea levels—the Sundarbans in the delta of the Bengal River—and by engaging with the problem of population displacement and people trafficking. In The Great Derangement he questions the legitimacy of realism in a climate-ravaged world, calling on scientists to embrace the improbable in an age of highly improbable weather events. Though Gun Island is set in the present day, Ghosh incorporates Bengali legend and departs from realism in the latter part of the novel through a number of unlikely coincidences. His novel spans from the US to India and Italy, and his characters range from a rare book dealer to a marine biologist and a trafficker. In doing so he presents climate change as a hyper object—one that brings together a continuity of experiences across the globe. A highly readable novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue