Welcome to the Greenhouse

New Science Fiction on Climate Change

Edited and with an introduction by Gordon Van Gelder

Preface by Elizabeth Kolbert

“No matter what you believe about climate change, Welcome to the Greenhouse is a treat for anyone who appreciates good SF in the best speculative tradition.” —Analog Science Fiction and Fact

"[T]here is a lot about global warming that we don't know. As the planet heats up, almost certainly some regions will experience more intense droughts, but which regions, exactly, and how intense will those droughts be? ....The greatest unknown of all is, of course, how people, collectively, will respond. Will they be chastened? Genocidal? Or will they just muddle along, behind growing seawalls and shrinking coasts? Science—even social science—can't answer questions like this, which is why we turn to science fiction. Welcome to the Greenhouse!" —Elizabeth Kolbert

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About the Book

The shotgun man barked, “That will not save us. Not save the Arctic. Our beautiful home.” He had a knotted face and burning eyes beneath heavy brows.

She talked fast, hands up, open palms toward him. “All that SkyShield nonsense won’t stop the oceans from turning acid. Only fossil—”

“Do what you can, when you can. We learn that up here.”

—from Welcome to the Greenhouse

Forty years ago, Walt Kelly’s comic strip character Pogo famously intoned: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Now, as the evidence for climate change becomes overwhelming, we learn the hard reality behind that witticism. The possible destruction, and certain transformation, of the ecosphere has been brought about by our own activities.

What will our new world look like? How will we—can we—adapt? The clash of a rapidly changing environment with earth’s self-styled ruling species, humans, provides ample creative fodder for this riveting anthology of original science fiction. In Welcome to the Greenhouse, award-winning editor Gordon Van Gelder has brought together sixteen speculative stories by some of the most imaginative writers of our time. Terrorists, godlike terraformers, and humans both manipulative and hapless populate these pages. The variety of stories reflects the possibilities of our future: grim, hopeful, fantastic and absurd.

Included is new work by Brian W. Aldiss, Jeff Carlson, Judith Moffett, Matthew Hughes, Gregory Benford, Michael Alexander, Bruce Sterling, Joseph Green, Pat MacEwen, Alan Dean Foster, David Prill, George Guthridge, Paul Di Filippo, Chris Lawson, Ray Vukcevich and M. J. Locke.

Publication February 21st 2011 • 336 pages
paperback ISBN 978-1-935928-27-0 • ebook ISBN 978-1-935928-26-3

About the Editor

Photo of Gordon Van Gelder courtesy Al Bogdan

Gordon Van Gelder is the editor and publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He has twice won the coveted Hugo Award for Best Editor, and twice won the World Fantasy Award.

Elizabeth Kolber, the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe and a writer for The New Yorker, is one of the foremost environmental journalists of our day.

In the Media

Kirkus Reviews August 8th 2012

SFCrowsnest January 1st 2012

SF Site August 17th 2011

Peace News, August 2011

Blatherskite, June 2nd 2011

OnEarth, June 2nd 2011

Analog: Science Fiction and Fact, May 2011

The Rumpus, May 29th 2011

Analog, May 2011

Strange Horizons, May 6th 2011

Book Banter, May 5th 2011

The Denver Post, April 10th 2011

Bookgasm, March 10th 2011

Interview on WBAI (MP3), March 2011

The Portall, February 16th 2011

SFScope, January 26th 2011

SFRevu, January 24th 2011

SF Signal, January 24th 2011

io9, January 17th 2011

Locus, January 7th 2011

Azimuth, January 5th 2011

Table of Contents

Benkoelen • Brian W. Aldiss

Damned When You • Jeff Carlson

The Middle of Somewhere • Judith Moffett

Not a Problem • Matthew Hughes

Eagle • Gregory Benford

Come Again Some Other Day • Michael Alexander

The Master of the Aviary • Bruce Sterling

Turtle Love • Joseph Green

The California Queen Comes A-Calling • Pat MacEwen

That Creeping Sensation • Alan Dean Foster

The Men of Summer • David Prill

The Bridge • George Guthridge

FarmEarth • Paul Di Filippo

Sundown • Chris Lawson

Fish Cakes • Ray Vukcevich

True North • M.J. Locke

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

“This month, negotiators will meet in Cancún for another round of international climate talks, and it’s a safe bet that, apart from the usual expressions of despair, nothing will come of them. It may seem that we’ll just keep going around and around on climate change forever. Unfortunately, that’s not the case: one day, perhaps not very long from now, the situation will spin out of our control.”

—Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 22 November 2010

I am, I readily admit, something of a contrarian. It’s probably the result of having had a scientist for a father. Whatever the reason, if you present to me a truth that is universally acknowledged, I’ll question it instinctively.

So I’ve largely sat on the sidelines during the global warming controversies that have raged over the past decade. Do I think Earth’s climate is warming? Yes. Do I know what the causes are? Can’t say for certain that I do. In fact, I don’t think anyone can say for certain that they know.

I suspect my position is a fairly common one.

However, as Elizabeth Kolbert points out, that sort of complacent attitude is likely to lead to chaos. So I asked a bunch of writers who speculate on the future to consider the subject of climate change. What might life be like in five, fifty, or five hundred years?

I think the results make for rewarding reading.

In assembling the book, I tried to get a wide variety of responses to the issue of climate change, from the comic to the grave (one contributor told me, “I can’t find anything optimistic about global warming”), from the hopeful to the despondent, from the realistic to the wildly imaginative. A couple of stories seek answers to the climate change issues that we face, but more of the stories ask questions.

Overall, I wanted stories that make the reader consider what sorts of futures might await us. They might not all be futures we like, but I think they’re all worth considering.

Welcome to the greenhouse!

— Gordon Van Gelder
Jersey City, December 2010