Tag Archive for: climate change fiction

The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginal people still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change.

It follows the life of a mute teenager called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans driven from other parts of the country, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city. The Swan Book has all the qualities which made Wright’s previous novel, Carpentaria, a prize-winning bestseller.

It offers an intimate awareness of the realities facing Aboriginal people; the wild energy and humour in her writing finds hope in the bleakest situations; and the remarkable combination of storytelling elements, drawn from myth and legend and fairy tale, has Oblivia Ethylene in the company of amazing characters like Aunty Bella Donna of the Champions, the Harbour Master, Big Red and the Mechanic, a talking monkey called Rigoletto, three genies with doctorates, and throughout, the guiding presence of swans.

 

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When fifteen-year-old Anna begins receiving messages from another time, her parents take her to the doctor. But he can find nothing wrong; in fact he believes there may be some truth to what she is seeing. Anna is haunted by visions of the desolate world of 2082. She sees her great-granddaughter, Nova, roaming through wasteland with a band of survivors, after animals and plants have died out. The more Anna sees, the more she realises she must act to prevent the future in her visions becoming real.

But can she act quickly enough?

 

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It’s two days before Christmas and Helsinki is battling ruthless climate catastrophe: subway tunnels are flooded; abandoned vehicles are burning in the streets. People are fleeing to the far north where conditions are still tolerable. Social order is crumbling and private security firms have undermined the police force. Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still willing to live in the city.

When Tapani’s wife Johanna, a journalist, goes missing, he embarks on a frantic hunt for her. Johanna’s disappearance seems to be connected to a story she was researching about a serial killer known as ‘The Healer’. Determined to find Johanna, Tapani’s search leads him to uncover secrets from her past: secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating…

Atmospheric and moving, The Healer is a story of survival, loyalty and determination. Even when the world is coming to an end, love and hope endure.

 

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What if a demented London cabbie called Dave Rudman wrote a book to his estranged son to give him some fatherly advice? And what if that book was buried in Hampstead and hundreds of years later, when rising sea levels have put London underwater, spawned a religion?

What if one man decided to question life according to Dave? And what if Dave had indeed made a mistake?Shuttling between the recent past and a far-off future where England is terribly altered, The Book of Dave is a strange and troubling mirror held up to our times: disturbing, satirising and vilifying who and what we think we are.

At once a meditation upon the nature of received religion, a love story, a caustic satire of contemporary urban life and a historical detective story set in the far future – this compulsive novel will be enjoyed by readers everywhere, including fans of Martin Amis and Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange.

 

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President Bliss is handling a tricky situation with customary brio, but after months of ceaseless rain the city is sinking under the floods. The rich are safe on high ground, but the poor are getting damper in their packed tower blocks, and the fanatical ‘Last Days’ sect is recruiting thousands.

When at last the sun breaks through the clouds Lottie heads off to the opera, husband Harold listens to jazz and their ditsy teenage daughter Lola fights capitalism by bunking off school.

Shirley takes her twin boys to the zoo. The government – eager to detract attention from a foreign war it has waged – announces a spectacular City Gala.

But not even TV astrologer Davey Lucas can predict the extraordinary climax that ensues.

 

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It’s the middle of the 21st century, and the next Ice Age has suddenly sent global warming into reverse. Saul is one of the Ice People, the threatened peoples of the northern hemisphere, who, watching their world freeze over, try to move south towards the equator. Set in the near future, it imagines not a globally warmed world, but an earth slowly returning to aridity and cold.

A universal freeze has also descended upon relationships between men and women, who live in morbid segregation, with feathered robots as sexual partners.

In a neat reversal of First World-Third World assumptions, Africa’s relative warmth offers a last hope to northerly survivors as the novel charts one man’s struggle to rescue his alienated son and bring him to where the sun shines.

 

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Zeno Hintermeier is a scientist working as a travel guide on an Antarctic cruise ship, encouraging the wealthy to marvel at the least explored continent and to open their eyes to its rapid degradation. It is a troubling turn in the life of an idealistic glaciologist.

Now in his early sixties, Zeno bewails the loss of his beloved glaciers, the disintegration of his marriage, and the foundering of his increasingly irrelevant career.

Troubled in conscience and goaded by the smug complacency of the passengers in his charge, he starts to plan a desperate gesture that will send a wake-up call to an overheating world. The Lamentations of Zeno is an extraordinary evocation of the fragile and majestic wonders to be found at a far corner of the globe, written by a novelist who is a renowned travel writer.

Poignant and playful, the novel recalls the experimentation of high-modernist fiction without compromising a limpid sense of place or the pace of its narrative.

It is a portrait of a man in extremis, a haunting and at times irreverent tale that approaches the greatest challenge of our age – perhaps of our entire history as a species – from an impassioned human angle.

 

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The Windup Girl is the ground-breaking and visionary modern classic that swept the board for every major science fiction award it its year of publication.

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s calorie representative in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, he combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct.

There he meets the windup girl – the beautiful and enigmatic Emiko – now abandoned to the slums. She is one of the New People, bred to suit the whims of the rich.

Engineered as slaves, soldiers and toys, they are the new underclass in a chilling near future where oil has run out, calorie companies dominate nations and bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. And as Lake becomes increasingly obsessed with Emiko, conspiracies breed in the heat and political tensions threaten to spiral out of control.

Businessmen and ministry officials, wealthy foreigners and landless refugees all have their own agendas. But no one anticipates the devastating influence of the Windup Girl.

‘The pace of the book is fast and relentless. It is a dark vision . . . As a portrait of a world far from our own but not unrecognisably so, it is finely done’ Times Literary Supplement

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Toby, a survivor of the man-made plague that has swept the earth, is telling stories. Stories left over from the old world, and stories that will determine a new one.

Listening hard is young Blackbeard, one of the innocent Crakers, the species designed to replace humanity. Their reluctant prophet, Jimmy-the-Snowman, is in a coma, so they’ve chosen a new hero – Zeb, the street-smart man Toby loves. As clever Pigoons attack their fragile garden and malevolent Painballers scheme, the small band of survivors will need more than stories.

 

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A stunning tour de force, Man in the Holocene constructs a powerful vision of our place in the world by combining the banality of an aging man’s lonely inner life and the objective facts he finds in the books of his isolated home.

As a rainstorm rages outside, Max Frisch’s protagonist, Geiser, watches the mountain landscape crumble beneath landslides and flooding, and speculates that the town will be wiped out by the collapse of a section of the mountain.

Seeking refuge from the storm in town, he makes his way through a difficult and dangerous mountain pass, only to abandon his original plan and return home. A compelling meditation by one of Frisch’s most original characters, Man in the Holocene charts Geiser’s desperate attempt to find his place in history and in the confusing and fragile world outside his window.

 

Read our Librarian’s top climate change fiction picks by heading to our Fiction section

Purchase Man in the Holocene from Hive Books