Five sci-fi stories set in an environmentally friendly future

It is easy to imagine a world transformed by human ingenuity, from a pre-civilized, verdant wilderness to a lifeless desert surrounded by anoxic oceans, a world that is gradually becoming a hothouse planet, like Venus was about 700 million years ago. However, some science fiction authors prefer to follow their imaginations along entirely different lines. These authors prefer worlds with an ecological complexity comparable to that of Earth before the Holocene extinction, in which humans’ role is not to happily dig holes in the web of life. Such stories are more likely than faster-than-light travel or time travel, as evidenced by the many books that cover those topics.

Don’t believe me? The following five pieces envision an environmentally responsible future, just in time for Earth Day.

The City by Clifford Simak (1952)

As Simak clearly states in the author’s foreword to the mass-market paperback edition of Ace in 1976, the short stories that make up The City were written out of disillusionment, stemming from the author’s belief that “the fear people inflict on each other has no limits.” The purpose of The City is to balance the hopeless world in which Simak finds himself living.

The City takes readers from a world where cities are disappearing into a world where the Earth’s people live peaceful lives in idyllic wilderness. The dogs of the far future owe a great debt to the Websters, and the Websters in particular have a wonderful knack for making decisions for perfectly valid reasons whose end result is the extinction of humanity. By the time of the dogs, humans were no longer a factor, and the world was a happy place. At least for a while anyway; that’s all we can hope for.

Aria by Kozue Amano (2002-2008)

The comic’s creators believe that humans are capable of being environmentally responsible. They can be a form of creativity that can turn a dead world into a living one. In this story, centuries of effort transform the desert world of Mars into the ocean-covered world of Aqua.

With an oceanic Mars, humans are content to use it as a stage for satisfying needs at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy. Akari arrives in New Venice, determined to become a boatman. A life-slice coming-of-age story in twelve volumes, “Aria” is an affable tale that gives the artist good reason to indulge in what TV Tropes calls “landscape erotica.”

The Wilderness Psalms by Becky Chambers (2021)

Human robots suddenly became self-aware and, instead of ripping their exploitative creators to shreds, eschewed the traditional pastime of sentient robots and migrated from human territory to lands that robots could call their own. Humanity, in turn, seized the opportunity to reconsider its own way of life. When The Psalms begins, humanity already enjoys a peaceful, ecologically sound way of life. As for the droids, there has been no further contact with them since the transition; their fate is unknown.

The tea monk Dex likes to listen to the chirping of crickets. These insects are rare, and the monk’s quest leads them into the wilderness and into prolonged contact with the robots. The robot Mosscap is willing to act as a guide for curious humans, and in return, all Mosscap asks is for Dex to let the robot satisfy its human curiosity. A relentless good-natured adventure ensues!

Fox Hunt by Rem Wigmore (2021)

For traveling entertainer Orpheus, humanity’s brush with ecological suicide—the fringes—should be a historical curiosity, as relevant to Orpheus’s life as the Justinian plague is to 21st-century Americans. Life should be a series of daring romantic entanglements followed by varying degrees of graceful exits.

Thanks to the efforts of vigilante groups like Avenging the Feral, the eco-conscious spirit of civilized society prevails. Avenging the Feral prioritizes zeal and swift punishment over due diligence. This is a problem for Orpheus, who becomes the target of a vengeful savage for a crime Orpheus is sure she did not commit. Convincing the Avengers of her innocence is impossible… unless Orpheus lures her into the Order and uncovers the truth of the case from within.

Ruthanna Emrys’ Half-Built Garden (2022)

The Dandelion Revolution broke up the power of big corporations and old states. The dominant government is based on watershed, and the ruling creed focuses on rebuilding a sustainable ecology. The bad past is not far away. So, when Judy Wallach-Stevens was alerted to spikes in phosphate levels, she expected a relic leak or perhaps some modern-day villain… Aliens weren’t what she expected, but the aliens are what she got.s are the first living technological civilization that the alien Ringers have managed to contact. Aliens living in space are here to save humanity. More precisely, the Bells are here to saveus on Earth, to free us from the limitations that exist on Earth before they destroy us. Someone like Wallach-Stevens has no interest in taking the offer. If only the Ringers hadn’t been so completely confident in themselves; rejection, they believed, was a typical delusion of an immature civilization and should therefore be ignored.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *