Climate change and humanity’s response laid the foundation for 3 new books – Redlands Daily Facts
By Ciara Lightner
The writers are always looking ahead to what might impact us as a species. As the world experiences climate change, the authors began to look at what the world might look like for those who survive these events. These three works are about our world in the near future, dictated by different occurrences of disasters but linked by a theme: family ties.
Helene Bukowski’s “Milk Teeth” is the story of strangers clinging to each other in a world that’s getting warmer every day. Skaldie and her mother Edith are barely tolerated on their home turf, a farm community isolated by thick fog from the rest of the world. Edith comes from the outside and as such is considered an intruder and this distinction extends to Skaldie. One day, the fog clears and an ever-increasing heat replaces it. As conditions worsen, food becomes scarce, and paranoia increases, Meisis, a young child, appears seemingly out of nowhere. Skalde welcomes Meisis and faces an increasingly hostile community. Exploring family, community and identity, “Milk Teeth” is a look at what happens when the rest of the world disappears and family is all you have left.
Preemee Mohamed tackles generational trauma and climate catastrophe in his latest book “The Annual Cloud Migration”. Survivors of a world where weather disasters such as earthquakes and dust storms have wreaked havoc find themselves facing a new component. Cad, a parasitic fungus, begins to infect what remains of the human population. Capable of altering the minds of his victims, Cad is passed down genetically from parent to child. Reid, a child born with Cad, ruminates on his future and the future of his community. She earns a place in one of the last bastions of modern human society but is afraid of what her departure will mean for her and her mother, who is also a Cad carrier. Relying on the kindness of the community, Reid must decide if the unknown is worth it. Full of hope even in the darkest of times, Mohamed’s latest work speaks to the family we always carry with us.
“The High House” by Jessie Greengrass is set in a time when water has taken over the land. The story oscillates between Caro, the daughter-in-law of Francesca, the owner of the High House, and Sal, the granddaughter of Grandy, her caretaker. Caro and Sal see the house as an interruption of their daily lives but miss the truth. The High House is essentially an arch, built and fortified by Francesca, a climatologist, to protect the survivors of the coming climate catastrophe. When disaster strikes, Sal and Caro are thrown together and must navigate the remnants of the world together while caring for those left behind. Greengrass shows us what’s left when the rest of the world is washed away.
Even though these books represent some of the worst-case scenarios for our world, everyone hopes we’ll make the most of what’s left.
Ciara Lightner is a librarian at the AK Smiley Public Library125 W. Vine St., Redlands.