Welcome to the Greenhouse: New Science Fiction on Climate Change
Gordon Van Gelder
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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.
life is all about simple things like clear water. Now, this is our bucket in which we bring the water home. Come with me, to observe this. There is nothing to fear in this street. Yes, come along. They respect me, they will not harm you. You see this? Every stranger living in Selder must learn this right away. This is our most basic civic duty, performed by every able-bodied adult, from the Godfather himself to the girl of twelve. These waterworks look complex and frightening, but you can see
true,” Hebert told her. “We made it through First Rise, but Second has damn near done in the entire world. How many people have died already, of flooding and droughts and famine and war? Of murder, disease, and cannibalism? Three billion? Four? Hell, we don’t even know. But we do know this. We’ve only got one more chance at it. We’ve got to get things back under control. Because if we don’t, then sure as hell, Third Rise is coming. If that happens, civilization is over with. Probably, so is
humid. At least she’d never been in a fire, she told herself. Like most people she shuddered at the thought. Given the current concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere, the smallest fire tended to erupt into an inferno in no time. Leave those worries to the fire brigades, she told herself. The multinational she worked for had enough to do trying to keep ahead of the bugs. As studies of the Carboniferous Era, the climate in Earth’s history nearest to that of the present day, had shown, the
and fired without thinking. Guts and goo sprayed everywhere as the pumper blew the monster in two. Still it wasn’t finished. As both halves twitched and jerked independently, she approached them with care. Two more shots shattered first the dangerous anterior claws and then the head containing the powerful, snapping mandibles. Turning, she found her partner on the ground, seated against a trunk still holding his weapon and staring. Walking over to him, she bent slightly as she extended a hand
babysit my son while I checked the bridge. Otherwise he usually sat in the corner, staring at the wall where he had hidden his.22, and waiting to hook up to the computer again. It was a habit, he said, that he despised but could not deny himself. I was seven months into my second pregnancy—two hundred and twenty-two thousand, three hundred and twenty minutes after the home pregnancy test told me I was having another baby—when Gwimaq returned one morning so haggard that I thought he had aged a