Today I am so pleased to welcome the Jana Denardo to Joyfully Jay. Jana has come to talk to us about the multi-author Fix the World anthology. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I grew up with Star Trek, which in many ways was solarpunk/hopepunk before there was a term for that. Granted it’s not perfect, certainly not entirely utopian but then there wouldn’t be much conflict to drive the story if there were. It was a much more hopeful future than other SF shows I liked as a kid, such as Battlestar Galactica or Star Wars. Those fit more with the military SF side of things and in my twenties that’s where a lot of SF went: hard core military SF. As much as I loved those shows, my interest in military SF as a reading genre waned fast and hard.
That was a reflection of what was happening in my life at that time. I wanted things a little softer or at least more encouraging than as a species we’re going to grow up and wage the same wars in space as we do here. In the twenty-first century SF went positively dystopic. It seemed almost every book I saw showcased some ugly future. Certainly, that gives us big juicy big bads for our protagonist to rebel against and there is nothing wrong with that.
On the other hand, it left me wanting and I drifted further from SF into other genres especially urban fantasy. However, Star Trek is never far from mind. It was my first and forever fandom. As a scientist, I’m also highly aware of how many scientists and inventors were influenced by the show (all the various iterations of it). They saw a device on the show and wanted to make it happen. We have Martin Luther King Jr’s words to Nichelle Nichols about how much her representation meant in the 1960s. There was that hope for a better future. As a science fiction fan, I wanted something optimistic because if we can envision it we can work toward it.
A few years ago, I heard of solarpunk, which sounded exactly what I was looking for, a greener happier Earth with humanity learning to celebrate their diversity rather than letting it divide them. It wasn’t easy to find this genre but some of it was out there and I decided I needed to write some myself. I had my story, The Homestead at the Beginning of the World written before the anthology open call existed. I had been actively looking for a home for the story when the Fix the World open call came across my feed. I fell over myself in my haste to give a final tinker and send it in. I was elated when it was accepted because not only was my story going to get out there but there were going to be a dozen stories of hope going out into the world which could really use some.
My story is set in two places in Wisconsin where I used to live, Madison and Three Lakes, the latter of which is much more rural and northern. This is a key plot point. I’ve lived rurally for two-thirds of my life. I prefer it to the times I’ve been a city dweller but there are things about it that can rankle. We’re often forgotten. We don’t get the internet upgrades for example. It’s like we don’t exist. And when the aliens came to enslave earth, they forgot about the rural people too.
While they were busy enslaving, converting and otherwise decimating the cities, the aliens didn’t pay much mind to a few hundred people in that city over there or the other hundred in the next valley over. These were the people who led the rebellion and the story begins in the recovery phase.
Sam lives in the Three Lakes region of what was once Wisconsin and is Ojibwe. Regardless of background, people growing up in this area are used to hunting, fishing and gardening. A lot of the fishing shows you see on TV were filmed here and a good chunk of local economy is tied to the land. This gets continued in the story where there’s a return to older ways of consuming resources, making use of everything and wasting less. Sam’s job is in making biofuels from algae.
That’s how he meets Kjell who has transferred up from the Derjvik encampments in Madison. He’s a scientist taking over for the one Sam’s been working with. Kjell has lived most of his life not just in a city but within a singular building. He’s also no longer fully human having been genetically modified with plant chloroplasts so he is capable of generating his own sugars. It’s not a perfect adaptation so he needs to eat but is also unfamiliar with real foods having been maintained most of his life on supplements given to him by the aliens.
Sam introduces Kjell to a world he never knew, to a world being reshaped in a sustainable way. In addition to his job making biofuels, Sam specializes in a farm to table style of food gathering and preparation. He also leans heavily into his native Ojibwe culture, including introducing Kjell into their way of harvesting wild rice – something I was lucky enough to be shown when I lived in this area of Wisconsin.
As they help to heal the world, Sam and Kjell heal each other. I had such fun writing this story and I’m proud of it. I’m excited for this anthology. We all need a little light and hope, after all.
We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics, an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.
We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world. From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose the twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.
Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society.
The future’s not going to fix itself.
- Amazon eBook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NZ9YSNV/
- Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fix-the-world
- Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fix-the-world-j-scott-coatsworth/1138361787?ean=2940164506254
- iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1559723726
- Liminal Fiction: https://www.limfic.com/book/fix-the-world-anthology/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55983670-fix-the-world
Bryan Cebulski is a rural California-based journalist from the Midwest who writes quiet queer speculative and literary fiction.
Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).
Rachel Hope Crossman grew up in Athens, Greece and Berkeley, CA as the child of a linguist and an actor. Her imagination, marked by the stones of the Acropolis, the granite slabs of the Sierra Nevadas and the blues of the San Francisco Bay, is the all and everything that fuels her engine. A preschool teacher, then substitute teacher, Rachel ultimately followed her Montessori bliss to teach elementary. Mother of four grown children and author of Saving Cinderella: Fairy tales & Children in the 21st Century, (2014 Apocryphile Press), Rachel currently writes eco-fantasy and science fiction stories.
Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.
J.G. Follansbee is an award-winning writer of thrillers, fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories with climate change themes. An author of maritime history and travel guides, he has published articles in newspapers, regional and national magazines, and regional and national radio networks, including National Public Radio. He’s also worked in the high-tech and non-profit worlds. He lives in Seattle.
Ingrid Garcia helps selling local wines in a vintage wine shop in Cádiz and writes speculative fiction in her spare time. For years, she was unpublished. But to her utter surprise—after years of receiving nothing but rejections—she’s sold stories to F&SF, and the Ride the Star Wind and Sword and Sonnet anthologies. She tweets as @ingridgarcia253 and is busy preparing a personal website and—dog forbid—even thinking about writing that inevitable novel
Jennifer R. Povey was born in Nottingham, England, but she now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.
Mere Rain is an international nonentity of mystery whose library resides in California. Mere likes travel, food, art, mythology, and you. Feel free to reach out on social media. Mere Rain has published speculative short fiction with The Mad Scientist Journal, Mischief Corner Books, Things in the Well, and Mythical Girls.
D.M. Rasch writes feminist speculative fiction for LGBTQ+ young adults and adults, exploring where the social and political meet the personal. Her characters are often found doing their best in worlds that challenge them to become their best selves. Queer representation and reaching out to LGBTQ+ youth drive her writing, informed by her MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University and two bossy sister kittens who like to edit. She identifies as a genderqueer lesbian, currently writing and working (remotely) in the Denver, CO area as a creative mentor, coach, and editor in her business, Itinerant Creative Content & Coaching LLC.
Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.
Anthea Sharp is the author of the USA Today bestselling Feyland series, where a high-tech game opens a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie. In addition to the fae fantasy/cyberpunk mashup of Feyland, her current novels are set in the shadowed enchantment of the Darkwood, where dark elves and fairytale elements abound. Anthea lives in sunny Southern California where she writes, hangs out in virtual worlds, plays the Irish fiddle, and spends time with her small-but-good family.
Alex Silver (he/him) grew up mostly in Northern Maine and is now living in Canada with a spouse, two kids, and three birds. Alex is a trans guy who started writing fiction as a child and never stopped. Although there were detours through assisting on a farm and being a pharmacist along the way.
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