Today we are happy to announce the news of past contributor and ASU Professor Sally Ball! Sally’s newest poetry collection titled Hold Sway is to be published in April by Barrow Street Press. The poems focus on one question – is there room for hope and optimism with the inevitability of massive climate change always looming? The poet wonders about the safety of her children, if her own acts of resistance are enough, and how politics will handle the disaster moving forward. Ball said, to in an article for ASU’s State Press, “There is this kind of tension between whether or not you’re allowed to have any optimism.”
More information about Sally’s poetry collection can be found here, three poems by Sally can be found in S[r}’s Issue 6.
The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is proud to present Kim Stanley Robinson in his talk, “The Comedy of Coping, Alarm and Resolve in Climate Fiction.” The event, which will feature a talk, a Q&A, and a signing, will take place on Wednesday, September 20 from 7pm to 9pm at the Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004). The event is open to the public and free.
The talk is presented by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at ASU, a partnership between ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination and The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. More information on the talk (and an RSVP) can be found at the Virginia G. Piper Center website, but here is a bit more information about Robinson’s topic:
In his talk, Robinson will explore the story and science in his latest novel, New York 2140, to argue against gloomy, apocalyptic thinking and in favor of technological ingenuity and dynamic social change. While the effects of climate change are undeniable, the future doesn’t have to be an unavoidable catastrophe. Ultimately, Robinson argues, this kind of dystopian, pessimistic approach muddles the political, social, and economic causes of climate change and prevents us from taking more meaningful actions to address the issues before it’s too late. What kinds of stories should we be telling ourselves in the face of impending calamity? How do we balance the desire to be both inspired and disturbed? How can literature act as a constructive response to existential risk?
You can also find more information on the event’s Facebook page.
Prescott College writing instructor and Arizona Commission on the Arts grant recipient Susan Lang presents her new thriller The Sawtooth Complex, available now from Changing Hands Bookstore. On February 25 at 7 pm, Susan will be doing a reading at Changing Hands First Draft in Phoenix.
The Sawtooth Complex is a fascinating novel that deals vigorously with the dilemmas of human life on the planet. Our willy-nilly destruction of the exquisite natural world is set against the efforts of some people to protect and care for the biology that sustains us. Most characters are torn by contradictions, both personal and political. A few are avid developers; others seek a balance between humanity and nature. Several touching love stories develop and falter among them. The true hero, Maddie Farley, is an inspiring and reluctant monkey-wrencher who lives most closely to the earth. The natural world she inhabits is invoked with poignant accuracy and love. Ultimately, nature itself blows up everyone’s world in a startling forest fire that overpowers the land and the people, laying waste to most everything. The writing about this thrilling climatic event is terrifying, spellbinding, very intense and powerful. And then a miracle occurs. In the wreckage left behind, the author, who is no sentimental idealist or doomsday prophet, finds reason to hope. The story is engrossing, entertaining, and really makes us think. It’s a fine addition to our best environmental and human–humane–literature
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Lang is the author of a trilogy of novels about a woman homesteading in the southwestern wilderness during the years 1929 to 1941. The first novel in the trilogy, Small Rocks Rising, won the 2003 Willa Award, and she was awarded a 2008 Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for her novel-in-progress, The Sawtooth Complex. Lang’s short stories and poems have been published in magazines such as Idaho Review, Red Rock Review, Iris, and The Raven Review. She founded and directed the Southwest Writers Series and Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing at Yavapai College. Currently, Lang is Faculty Emeritus at Yavapai College, teaches courses at Prescott College, and serves as Event Coordinator at the Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, Arizona. Susan Lang was raised in a wild canyon much like the one referred to as Rattlesnake Canyon in a place homesteaded by her mother. As a young child she lived there first in a tent, then in a rugged cabin once her parents built it. Water was piped in from a spring on the mountain, and the family used a wood stove for cooking and candles and kerosine lamps for light until butane tanks were available to be hauled up the twelve mile rut road from Yucca Valley. A garden and rabbits were essential to the family’s survival. The love her mother had for the wild canyon was passed on to her children, especially her brother, and his wife and daughter who made protecting that wild canyon the focal point of their lives.
Climate change is a creeping calamity, ever-present but so gradual and pervasive that it can be tough to grasp. Climate fiction, an emerging subgenre of speculative storytelling, can help us imagine human futures shaped by climate change by breaking though policy debates and obscure jargon with thrilling stories grounded in real science.
The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University, in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is seeking submissions for its Climate Fiction Short Story Contest.
The first place winner will be awarded $1,000, and the top three winners will receive book bundles signed by climate fiction author Paolo Bacigalupi. A collection of the best submissions will be published in a forthcoming online anthology, and considered for publication in the journal Issues in Science and Technology. There is no entry fee to submit your story, and the submission deadline is January 15, 2016.
The competition will be judged by science fiction legend Kim Stanley Robinson, New York Times-bestselling author of the Mars Trilogy, 2312, The Years of Rice and Salt, Forty Signs of Rain, and most recently Aurora.
Learn more and submit your story at the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative website here: https://climateimagination.asu.edu/clificontest/