Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Eight top dystopian novels that explore hope in the climate crisis

Scott Guild received his MFA from the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin, and his PhD in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He served for years as assistant director of Pen City Writers, a prison writing initiative for incarcerated students. He is currently an assistant professor at Marian University in Indianapolis, where he teaches literature and creative writing. Before his degrees, Scott was the songwriter and lead guitarist for the new wave band New Collisions, which toured with the B-52s and opened for Blondie.

Guild's new novel is Plastic.

At Electric Lit he tagged eight novels with a theme of hope, a "core value that their characters need in order to endure and fight the climate crisis, but difficult to maintain in the face of so many challenges." One title on the list:
Vigil Harbor by Julia Glass

The latest from National Book Award-winner Julia Glass, this sprawling novel is set in a small town on the coast of Massachusetts (the titular Vigil Harbor), an upper-class refuge from the turbulent America of the 2030s. Though the sea levels are rising, Vigil Harbor is built on a high headland that will let it survive centuries longer than many coastal communities. But there is trouble in this paradise, and the privileged residents will not be able to keep the outside world from intruding, whether through eco-terrorism, the arrival of mysterious strangers, or the piercing anxieties of their historical moment. With nine narrators and an intricate plot that includes dissolving marriages, long-hidden secrets, and a tsunami that threatens the Northeast, this ambitious novel takes a deeply human approach to the climate crisis, showing the hope, regret, and uncertainty of people living through unprecedented times.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Vigil Harbor.

Q&A with Julia Glass.

--Marshal Zeringue