M.H. Thaung's Reviews > Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters

Glass and Gardens by Sarena Ulibarri
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In this anthology, seventeen authors present their visions of how the world might look in a future longstanding winter. I enjoyed seeing the variety of innovations depicted, from the bioengineered moss of "Oil and Ivory" (Jennifer Lee Rossman) to a city insulated with giant feathers in "The Fugue of Winter" (Steve Toase) to umbrellas that capture kinetic energy from rain in "Set the Ice Free" (Shel Graves).

I suppose it was unavoidable that the stories were exposition-heavy, with characters thinking about backstory and technological developments, or telling each other about them. The amount of actual "plot" was pretty light, and very few of the characters made much impression on me, other than perhaps Mackenzie in "Glâcehouse" (R. Jean Mathieu). Several of the stories seemed to be vehicles for the authors explaining how their imagined future worlds came to be, rather than the characters being tested and/or changed by new challenges.

The innovations were interesting enough to read about, but many of the stories depicted an idealised society where people were kind, tolerant, unified, understanding and generally bland. This is no doubt nice to live in, but perhaps not great story fodder. I think some stories might have been strengthened if they'd dug deeper into implications of the new technology and what new conflicts might arise.

In summary, some interesting ideas and a pleasant read, but with a flavour more of thought experiments than stories.

The publisher kindly provided me with a free review copy. This is my unbiased review.
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Started Reading
December 9, 2019 – Shelved
December 9, 2019 – Finished Reading

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