Tales from The Warming is unique in the annals of climate fiction, a new literary genre spawned in the last decade by the climate crisis. The anthology of 10 short stories takes readers all over the world and over time to experience—in human terms—the growing impact of what the author has dubbed “The Warming,” the man-made catastrophe that is increasing the world’s temperature, raising ocean levels and causing increasingly violent weather.
The stories—powerful, prophetic and poignant—are thought exercises that blend fact and fiction to examine the human impact of the crisis. They are based on current worst-case scenarios proposed by climate science. Each concerns a different challenge thrust upon us by the warming. In them readers witness people’s struggles to deal with these new realities. Some of the stories put people in harm’s way; others focus more on human creativity in mitigating its effects.
Story locations range from Bangladesh to Venice, Los Angeles to Polynesia, South Sudan to Southwestern China, Mount Kilimanjaro to the Persian Gulf, Miami to Greenland. The time frame is 2022 to 2059, a period during which the world is beginning to suffer the far reaching effects of this civilization-changing phenomenon.
Immerse yourself into Earth like you’ve never known it before. Tales From The Warming shows the impact the global warming/climate crisis will have on the planet. The focus on different countries gives the novel a well-rounded and researched feel. The stories are all striking in that they offer snapshots of times a mere 20 years away when climate change and rising sea levels could cause global catastrophes.
There were moments that seemed far-fetched and yet, these issues are already plaguing us today. The rising sea levels in India are in fact causing horrific and deadly floods. The ice caps are melting and temperatures are rising at rates we’ve never experienced before. Therefore, the novel has incorporated a lot of truth into it which makes it ever-more concerning.
Robinson’s scenic descriptions are all incredibly beautiful. It’s interesting to read a book that can describe so many places in the World in such great detail. The best part for me was that the novel followed actual characters. This made it more engaging and gave the novel its ‘human-touch’.
However, as in-depth and thought provoking as this novel is, it began to disinterest me after the sixth story. This isn’t because I don’t care about the global warming or anything like that. I felt the writing style was better suited to a smaller collection of stories. Personally, it didn’t hook me in ways other novels have managed to. This is a shame because it very much had the potential to do so with its wide array of stories. Additionally, there were several occasions where grammatical errors were made but these were found from roughly the seventh story onwards.
The final story was lacklustre. It ended so suddenly and didn’t give further insight into where the characters ended up. All that came from it was ‘this is what the characters plan to do’ and you have to make up your own ending. It would be difficult to predict whether or not the families ideas would work out. However, it would have given the overall novel a stronger ending and given the reader a deeper connection to the characters.
I recommend reading this novel as it is educational in its own right. It raises some increasingly worrying questions about the end results of global warming/climate change. In order for us, as humans, to understand the pressure we continuously force onto our planet we must be willing to educate ourselves on the matter. This book is an important stepping stone in that process. I give this novel an rating of 3.5/5.