Aotearoa and Australia, November 2020

Scorchers is the first ever pan-Australasian anthology of cli-fi writings. It includes pieces by some of the most celebrated authors of Aotearoa and Australia.

Its sixteen contributors have responded to a deceptively simple provocation: How can writers respond within the short fiction format to the overwhelming reality of the climate crisis? The resulting collection spans rural towns and futuristic metropolises, space stations and backyards, familiar laneways and underground cities.

Themes of love, loss, despair and tentative hope transcend the immediate settings of these stories and speak urgently to the burning issue of our times.

 

Launch details:
6:30pm, Wed 18th Nov
Ellen Melville Centre
Auckland Central

 

Guest Speakers

Dr. Russel Norman, Executive Director, Greenpeace Aotearoa

Dr. Hinemoa Elder MNZM, author Aroha: Māori Wisdom for a Contented Life Lived in Harmony with Our Planet (2020)

With readings by Patricia Grace, filmed especially by director Wiremu Grace, and Owen Everitt, by live link from Australia. Here’s a teaser from Patricia Grace:

 

And from the book…

Tāwhaki by Witi Ihimaera

E Ara Mai

I’m dozing in my crew cabin when the video link tells me, “Tāwhaki, wake up.”

It’s Dad of course. Other people prefer electronic wake-up calls, but I prefer my father’s voice and face. “Mōrena,” he smiles. “Good morning. E ara mai, rise up.”

I pull the sleeping bag around me, yawn, and cock one eye at him. Dark weathered face. Big head and high forehead like mine, but lots of thick black hair whereas I have a military fade. Crooked teeth, one grazing his bottom lip. A quizzical, teasing expression. And he always calls me Tāwhaki even though my name is really Branson. Mum’s choice, but it’s too up itself, he reckons.

“You haven’t got a girl…or boy…in bed with you?” he teases.

“As if,” I give the usual snort. “No room, and nobody I’m attracted to.” Would I admit to my father that nobody is attracted to me? Hell no.

Dad’s face goes into his pretending-to-be-sad look. “You better watch out, son,” he says. “You’re 23, your gears must be in perfect working order, but they could go rotten.”

I turn my back on him.

“Don’t roll over and poke your bum in my face. Time for you to do your mahi. Is Pōhutukawa looking beautiful this morning?”

 

The World in the Sixth Extinction

Pōhutukawa is one of the Māori names for the earth. And it’s just like Dad to prefer the Māori description.  “Earth” has no beauty to it, being monosyllabic and inert.

I wash and brush my teeth, take a dump into the collection bag and an air current sucks my urine into the waste compartment. I suit up and listen as Ranginui-14 groans around me, whining like a cantankerous god.

Heigh-ho, it’s off to work I go, floating my way through the connecting corridors of the space station to the observation cupola. I’m one of the weathercasters on board. Early morning shift today, so there’s only a few military boys at their posts and a couple of fliers chatting up Anahera, one of the shuttle captains. “Morena,” she grins.

I wink at her, grab what passes for breakfast – coffee to go and a sandwich – and float on by to the lookout to take over from Nigel, my American counterpart.

“Hey,” I say to him.

Changeovers of shifts are always monosyllabic and Nigel’s in a hurry to get to bed. “Did you change the sheets?” he quips as he vacates the chair.

I strap myself in, do the usual instrument check, and then surrender to the lyrical beauty of a sea of stars. The panoramic vista always takes my breath away. Space is studded with light, twinkling diamonds strewn on a velvet cloth all the way back through the twelve heavens. To Io, God of all Gods, in the topmost bespaced rangi tūhāhā. And further back to Te Pō, the night even before stars, to Te Kore, the nothing before that.

But that’s the view in front of me. I pull the visor down across my face and rotate the cupola to the view behind and beneath. The shadow side of an enormous dark globe wearing a corona of radiance. Patch my father back into the comms. He looks eagerly over my shoulder at the world below.

“Yes, Dad,” I say, trying to keep the sarcasm from my voice. “There she is! Your beautiful Pōhutukawa! She was once the daughter of Rangi Tāmaku, the eleventh heaven, wasn’t she?”

“You remember my old stories?” Dad asks, delighted. “Her other name was Papatūānuku and she married Ranginui, the Sky Father. There was nobody more glorious than she was in all the firmament, moko. Glowing like pounamu, with blue oceans the colour of a whale’s dreams.”

I turn my father off. “You’re too sentimental, old man.”

Because below me is the brutal reality. The night is retreating over the Americas – or what is left of it. By the 22nd century, global warming had melted both ice caps and raised the sea levels over 200 feet. In what used to be the USA, the entire Atlantic seaboard, gone. The Rockies as well as the Sierra Nevada and the Appalachian ranges, the primary high dry regions. A cluster of islands where San Francisco was.  Further north in Canada, the bare bones of the Canadian Rockies-extension, the St Elias and Laurentian chains. And southward, what was once Central America has been washed away. And the accustomed shorelines of South America have long disappeared. It’s people clambering up the stark backbone of the Andes.

Stink, man.

If that hadn’t been enough, earth’s rising heat made much of the surface uninhabitable. And during the daytime, with the sun at its apex, nobody could survive in the open. No wonder all humankind went underground, working at night and sleeping during the day.

“Tāwhaki,” Dad warns. “Pay attention.”

The corona has burst a flaming red over Pōhutukawa below. I can’t help it, I take a deep breath. It’s an unconscious gesture, a flinch against the awesome power of the sun, I want to scream. My instrumentation starts to go crazy, the panel flashing all kinds of signals.

And I start my daily transmissions. “Get underground people,” I warn everyone, “here comes Te Rā.” I broadcast the readings to the relay stations below. Count down the sun’s advance, “T-minus 10, 9, 8,” for the north-west sector. As the ground temperature starts to rise, “T-minus 7, 6, 5,” for the central sector. Back to that edge of sun scything through the north-east, “T-minus 4, 3, 2…”

There’s the usual adrenalin rush of fear. Uncle Sam is on fire and there’s just a few seconds for any stragglers to reach the scattered silos and batten down the hatches. Quick. Now. Get the kids to safety.

 

Ranginui-14 is on a high Earth and geosynchronous orbit. It’s in a sweet spot, some 35,000 kms above the equator, where the space station can match the rotation of the earth on its axis. From the cupola I have views north and south of the arc.

Behold, the world below, a burning fiery furnace. It’s been a long time since anybody lived at 0° latitude. The parts of those countries in Africa, South America and Asia that once straddled the equator had the sun directly overhead and were the first to fall victims to it, pretty much. And Kiribati, Maldives, São Tomé and Principe were among the early island states to succumb to rising sea levels.

The next casualties were all the countries between the Tropic of Cancer (latitude approx 22° 27’ north of the equator) and the Tropic of Capricorn (latitude 23° 26’ 22” south.) Once upon a long-ago time the zone between was called the Tropics, holiday destinations associated with waving palm trees, smiling natives, suntans and sex in the sand. Among the countries in the zone were Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, southern China, northern Australia, Chile, southern Brazil and northern South Africa. We call it the Scorch Sector now. Anybody left in the open will be burnt to cinders.

But, hey, my geographical references are coming from the old tattered early-21st Century map pasted on the roof of the cupola. It’s like a treasure map to a lost time, because everybody knows that’s not the world we live in any longer.

 

“Satisfied now?” I ask Dad. “What would all your Māori gods of creation think of this? I reckon Io, God of all gods, in his uppermost first heaven would be truly pissed off.”

I’m baiting him, pushing the envelope but he pushes back. “So would Rehua in the third heaven,” he says, “and don’t refer to the gods with such disrespectful language.”

“All their work for nothing!” I mock him. “Not to mention the other creation gods and goddesses of the time-space continuum, eh, like Māhorahora-nui-a-rangi, her husband Te Mangu and their four sons. They kept the wā, the energy of the universe, flowing from the past into the present, and what do we do with it? We abuse the taonga tuku iho, the gifts of life, they gave us.”

Dad is getting riled with me. “Are you trying to pick a fight, son?”

“Just saying, Dad. Somebody sure messed up. And it wasn’t me or my generation.”

He searches for a rejoinder, trying to lighten the mood. “Maybe you can reboot creation for us,” he says after a while. “You could do a Māui.”

I cock an eyebrow at him and throw my what do you mean look at him.

“Don’t play the dumb ass,” he grumbles. “You know full well, the story about how, i nga wā o mua, Te Rā went so fast across the sky that the people didn’t have time to work the vegetable gardens. No sooner had the sun come up and they had started planting than, e hika, down he went and it was night-time already…”

Yes, I remembered the story, it had been a favourite when I was a boy and Dad told it to me at bedtime. He was the well-loved supervisor of the engineering team which kept Rarohenga – that’s the nickname we have for our very own underground city in New Zealand – operational. You’ve heard of Rarohenga, haven’t you? It lies at the base of Hikurangi Mountain, the first point on the earth’s surface to be touched by the new day. If ever you are lost in space, all you need to do is wait until the sun comes up. What would you be waiting for? Why, the flash of sunlight on the sacred mountain! Once you see that sword of light, then you can calibrate your position. Ah, ko Hikurangi, there, and mark.

“…anyhow, it was up to Māui, the demi-god, to come up with a solution,” Dad continues. “He gathered his brothers together, and they travelled to the ends of the earth where Te Rā lived. They wove a magic net and, when he started to rise, Māui trapped him in it. He used a magic jawbone to belabour the sun into submission. And when Te Rā pleaded for clemency, Māui made him promise to go slower across the sky.”

“The point being?”

“Maybe it’s time for a modern Māui to give Te Rā a hiding but, this time, to make him go faster.”

“Yeah, right, well don’t look at me, Dad.” He’s always thought I should rise above my current position forecasting weather. “Māui was half-god, and that story’s just a myth. I don’t have a magic jawbone either.”

I ignore him and get back to my instrumentation. I try to push back on the reality of a China that is now flooded. All Bangladesh gone along with coastal India. What’s Cambodia now? Just an island with its Cardomom Mountains the peak.

What happened to their billions of population? Don’t ask.

I really don’t have time to continue arguing with Dad, as Australia is looming up below. “I’m putting you on hold,” I tell him.

The space station starts to judder and groan as corrections are made to adjust its orbit. They bring mathematical focus to the fires that have been burning day and night. Time to broadcast the specific coordinates for the roaring conflagration so people further south can get out of harm’s way.

And then I receive a transmission from earth. It’s my Auntie Kui,  She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, Dad’s sister.

“Kia ora, Branson,” she says.

She looks across my shoulder and sees Dad behind me.

“Still talking to your father, I see.  Are you on track for arriving home this weekend?”

“Yes, Auntie.” She thinks I’ll do a runner. “My leave’s been approved.” Suck that up.

“So you’ll be on the shuttle, arriving home on Saturday? Ka pai.”

She’s just about to sign off except that she hesitates and looks at me with tenderness.

“You have to let him go someday,” she says.

 

Pōhutukawa, Who Used To Blue Once

The shuttle screams like the hōkioi, the fabled bird of prophecy, as it hits the main air of earth’s atmosphere.

“Good morning, Vietnam,” the captain, Anahera, says. The five grunts in the cabin go ape at the retro affirmation of a safe entry. Ranginui-14 has a primary military surveillance operation, safeguarding the ANZUS Quadrant. The infantrymen are transferring to comms duties at ground stations in Antarctica.

“Here, bud, have a beer,” one of the grunts offers.

I pretend to join in the revelry but I’m not feeling it. I’ve been living on Ranginui-14 for an entire year. The bubble up there has been cosy, safe, above the dying planet not in it. But now that the shuttle is descending through the realm of Tāwhirimātea, god of winds, I realise that soon I will have to face the realities of ground zero.

And I can’t stop the rage that I was always able to suppress on Ranginui-14. Medievalists had defined humanity as animal rationalis. What the fuck happened? Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels satirically defined us as animal rationalis capac, capable of acting rationally – which he didn’t actually believe and which the evidence proved devastatingly otherwise. Because in the mid-20th Century the Anthropocene epoch arrived and humankind became the defining agent in changing the ecology of the environment. Mass exoduses of humankind out of war-torn Africa and the Middle East due to war had already placed pressure on nations on their perimeters. Then came the climate refugees.

 

“Hold on tight, boys,” Anahera says to us. “We’re in for a rocky ride.”

The shuttle is being thrown all over the sky. No need for Anahera to generate drag and thereby dissipate speed. Jet streams are smashing against the craft and doing that for us. They are voluminous with thick, dark, detritus pelting the bodywork with the shattered bones and cartilage of earth.

“We’re through,” Anahera says as she angles the descent into something resembling a glide path.

And the world turns a virulent red. This is what hell must look like. The atmosphere swirling with tornadoes and twisters. Lightning strikes close to the shuttle, let us in, let us in. The air stinks. Rotten. Below is the sea. It looks as if all the gods of the twelve heavens have vomited their guts out into a bowl. The waves are froths of bilious blood-veined sick.

Oh Pōhutukawa, you used to be blue and green once.

 

A Kōrero With My Father

I can’t help it. I mouth the words to myself, “What have we done to you? What have we done to us?”

“You mustn’t be so hard on humanity,” my father answers, eavesdropping on me as usual.

“The clear signal,” I reply angrily, “was the creation of a blanket of definable man-made radioisotopes around the earth. Why didn’t humankind see it?”

“You’re talking about them,” Dad says. “We did take notice, son.”

“But you couldn’t stop their actions. And when the refugees fled in terror from the Scorch Sector north or south to the Pole sectors, they were turned back. To face certain death.”

A massive stasis had occurred in all the world’s governments. The situation of the world’s dispossessed, the homeless, the starving became too big to fix. The United States, unapologetic about not signing up to the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, fast-tracked its “America First” policy. Then chaos…temperature trends in the troposphere shot into the red red red…there was ozone depletion… massive emissions from the ocean of hydrogen sulfide…the destruction of the ceiling above let the sun in…and thus began the rise in fatal levels of UV radiation…all symptoms of the collapse of the biosphere.

Aue te mamae, there was a confluence of mounting catastrophic events…famine…severe droughts…earthquakes… melting ice caps… viruses… the four horsemen of the Apocalypse came riding scything souls bring out your dead…

International and trade blockades went up up up…and the entire system of international cooperation broke down down down…

In the early 21st century the world population had peaked at almost 8 billion, and it was already overcrowded. By the 22nd century, 5 billion had been wiped off the slate. The human brain cannot contemplate the magnitude of such losses.

Wherever people survived, they were left to sort out a future for themselves. The world writhed in all the agony attendant upon the sixth extinction. Auē, taukiri e…

 

“Stop this,” my father says.

He has always been the voice of sanity, bringing everyone back into the room.

“We’re still here,” he continues. “We’ve muddled our way through. The old verities are gone, but humanity still holds. No use crying over spilt miraka. Here at the bottom of the world we do not go gently into the night, we go raging at the light.”

It’s a nice little kōrero, no wonder Dad has always been a leader of men. But I am not about to let his clever turns of phrase divert me. I haven’t finished with him yet.

“Dad,” I say to him. “The worst is we weren’t just killing ourselves. Look at what else humankind destroyed. The only way to see the big whales, cats, lions and cheetahs is to watch them via the feeds that play into our dreamworlds when we sleep. The biomass of birds, the skies are empty. The total mass of insects, gone, and wasn’t the state of bugs the state of the world?”

“There’s always hope,” Dad answers with his usual refrain. “If you can’t do a Māui, you might have to do a Tāwhaki. You remember your namesake, don’t you?”

“How can I forget? You told me often enough when I was a boy.”

My father is persistent, his voice riding through my words. “It was Tāwhaki who climbed from the twelfth heaven through all the rangi tūhāhā to make a special request of Io, God of all gods, in the uppermost level.”

Dad is gentling me, calming me down, cutting me off from the terrible pass that I sometimes plunge into. “He was just a young man like you, and he went by way of the aka mātua, the parent vine, climbing through the eleventh, tenth, ninth heavens. He was transformed by the task from corporeal to spiritual, from unschooled to literate, from human to superhuman. Oh, his climb took him a long time, son….up the poutama, the stairway, he ascended, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth….and on the way he tested the parameters of life and death,  the parameters of creation…where did space begin and end? Where did time begin and end? He came to the fourth heaven, the third, the second…”

 

My father’s voice rises to a level of heightened ecstasy. He makes me imagine Tāwhaki kneeling before Io.

Tāwhaki has come to ask for three baskets of knowledge, though some people say there were four. In the first basket, Te Kete Aronui, is the knowledge to help all humankind. Te Kete Tuauri, the second basket, contains the ancient rites and ceremonies to ensure the tapu reinforcement of the knowledge of Te Kete Aronui. The third basket, Te Kete Tuatea, has examples of the lessons of history to learn from. Although divisible, the ultimate power of the baskets multiplies exponentially when they are operated together for the benefit of all.

““E Io,” Tāwhaki asks. “Humankind seeks enlightenment.”

He is surrounded in a dazzle of illumination. The heavens begin to sing.

Let the baskets of knowledge be theirs.

 

City Beneath the Mountain

A pattern of lightning strikes. Not heavenly song but the screaming sound of a world in extremis.

“We’re approaching Hikurangi,” Anahera tells us. “We’ll be at the landing zone in five minutes and counting.”

“Tāwhaki had magic karakia to help him, Dad,” I say to him as I check my seatbelt. “And where would I find the aka mātua in a world like ours?”

Anahera is in a race with the sun. Although we’re coming in on the mountain’s shadow side, we  must drop down into Rarohenga before Te Rā rises above the summit.

Dad snorts. “Don’t you know anything? The story of your namesake is a metaphor. You have to find the aka mātua in yourself son, as we all must, and find the way from death back into life.”

“Just in time,” Anahera says. The deflector shields part, the earth opens up, and she steers the shuttle into the arrival dock. Everything happens quickly after that. Customs and security clearances. Descending by lift into the bowels of the city. When the doors open, Rarohenga blazes with light.

 

The city carries its military function lightly. Stripped down. Functional. A people who can build a space station surely had the expertise to create an underground complex. And after all, in our mythology there were two primary worlds, one was Te Ao Mārama and the other Rarohenga, the world below. The parents of the demi-god, Māui, lived there. Like we do now, when the day dawned, down they would go to the cool world beneath.

Around the world there are many underground cities like ours. Built by the survivors of the precipitous decline in the world’s populations. But even now there are still too many people for the cities to service. And so while the cities still maintain a quasi-governmental and military function, the society is divided into Essentials on one side and the Non-Essentials (NE’s) and Olds (O’s) on the other.

“At least at Rarohenga,” I say to Dad as we step from the shuttle, “you may be old but you’re still essential.” In some cities around the world the NE’s and O’s are in permanent lockdown. Stacked on top of each other in enforced hibernation they are fed dreams of what the world used to be like, a home where the buffalos roam.

“I love you too,” Dad says in response to my sarcasm. But his voice is shadowed and his eyes are glowing. “Ah, there’s Kui.”

And I feel a darkness descending all around me. A huge sense of impending loss.

 

She waits in the arrival concourse to greet me. My three sisters are with her. I recognise other whānau as belonging to agricultural crews which supply the city with kūmara, the staple food that Rarohenga depends on. They were with Dad and me when…

“Nau mai, haere mai ki te wā kainga,” Kui smiles. You have arrived, you are here, welcome home. Home?

She looks across my shoulder to my father. “E te rangatira…”

I follow her gaze. Dad looks at me, tenderly. “This had to happen some time, Branson.”

Why is everyone weeping?

“Goodbye, son.”

It happens so quickly. One moment Dad’s there. The next moment he is gone. It’s the moment I have dreaded. Because I have not only been running away from reality. I have also been running away from this particular moment.

“Thank you for bringing your father back,” Aunt Kui says. “I didn’t think you would be able to do it.”

I am terrorised, gasping. The sense of loss overwhelms me.  “I…I…I…”

I am in psychic shock. Dad, don’t leave me.

And I fall in a faint into my Aunt’s arms.

 

Kete O Te Wānanga    

A year ago. I am with Dad and his work crew. It is night and we have driven to the outer perimeter of the plantations to fix some of the sun-filtering shades. Some of the louvres aren’t functioning, not closing, and the harsh sun is shrivelling the kūmara below.

It is dark when we leave Rarohenga. When we arrive at the plantations, we see that some of the kaimahi ahuwhenua, the farmers, are working the fields with their wives and a group of small children. Dad goes to greet them. “The women wanted to bring the kids into the fresh air. Have a picnic before we go back. And the tamariki like to play in the cool night.”

“Ka pai,” Dad answers. “All good.” He pats the little ones on the head.“You are the future,” he says to them. “Your ancestors came from a place called Hawaiki. You are royal children.”

The engineering team work speedily. Overhead, the sky turns, a few scattered stars.

After we’ve fixed the shades we sit around with the farmers enjoying each other’s company. The kids scamper around, enjoying themselves. Someone has brought a guitar, so we sing some of the old songs.

“Me he manurere, aue…” That was Mum’s favourite before she died. I was still a baby and Aunt Kui brought me up. It’s basically been just Dad and me after that, really.

How did it happen that we left our return to Rarohenga too late? The dawn is already lightening the sky, but we think we have time. We travel back to the city in convoy, the two crews, engineers and farmers in four transports. Hikurangi mountain doesn’t look too far away.

Then one of the farmers’ transports breaks down. “You three go on,” Dad tells the others. “You go with them, Tāwhaki.”

“No,” I answer. “You might need me here.”

We watch the other transports as they depart. Then Dad says, “Haere ki te mahi,” rolls up his sleeves, and tries to figure out what the problem is. There are fifteen of us waiting around, Dad, two engineers, me, six farmers, two women, three children – two of them are babies being breast-fed.

“We should have put the women and children in the other vehicles,” Dad says.

“They didn’t want to leave their husbands,” one of the farmers says.

“I should have forced them to go. They are my responsibility.”

The problem is found and can’t be fixed. Three batteries damaged.“I’ll radio base,” Dad says, “and ask them to send an extraction unit. Not a problem.”

And we still think that we’re okay except that…sometimes it’s not the sun you need to be aware of. The rising sun has kick-started the morning wind. Before we know it, the currents are swirling an eviscerating, hot, blast of heat. The world becomes an oven and begins to cook us. Before we know it, we are gasping and falling to the ground.

“Tāwhaki,” Dad yells, “break out the fire blankets.”

The blankets are fire-resistant wingsuits that might win us some time. We huddle beneath, the men forming a protective rim for the women and children in the middle.

Above us, the sound of an extraction unit. “Get the kids to safety,” Dad says to me.

“What about you?”

“Me and the other men have to keep the blankets up and around you as you leave. The women and children are in your care. Go, son.”

Every second counts. Stepping beyond the blankets, we are already burning. The children are screaming. The wind is a fiery maelstrom. We fall into the arms of our rescuers.

“What about my Dad!”

“We have to go.” The rescue transport wheels away. The wind whips the blankets away from Dad and the men. Dad raises an arm.

He bursts into flames.

 

The women, children and me were in the burns unit at Rarohenga for over a month. I embraced the pain of the skin grafts, I felt I should have died with my father. We all recovered and, when I was well enough to return to duty, I applied for transfer to Ranginui-14 and got it. But I had loved Dad so much that I couldn’t let him go. I took his wairua, his spirit, with me, whether he wanted to come or not, whether others wanted me to take him or not.

They could go to hell. He was mine and I would not let anybody have him.

 

And now, over a year has passed. I have returned for the hura kohatu, the unveiling ceremony for Dad and the other men who had died. Unveilings usually take place a year after the tangihanga, the mourning ceremony.

I stand with Aunt Kui and the mourners in front of the memorial stone in the family urupa. It’s outside Rarohenga, within a cleft of Hikurangi mountain. Among the attendants are the wives and children who survived with me.

“Shall we begin, nephew?” Aunt Kui asks.

I nod my head and the tributes start. Not only to Dad but also to the other men, the engineers and farmers, who died with him. And, contrary to my expectations, the commemoration is not as sad as I was expecting. In fact, some of the memories are hilarious and others are, well, quite salty. In other words, human. “I didn’t know Dad was such a ladies’ man,” I whisper to Aunt Kui.

She rolls her eyes. “Let’s just say my brother’s gears never went rotten, and leave it at that.”

Everyone begins to sing songs in celebration of the lives that were taken so that we can go on. One cheeky kuia starts doing a hula.

“She was one of your father’s er…” Aunt Kui begins, leaving me to connect the dots.

 

Oh, Dad. You were always talking about my namesake Tāwhaki.

I will try to find a way. For the sake of the children, I will climb to the uppermost heaven, yes, I will find the aka mātua, and I will do it. But, Dad, when Tāwhaki brought back the baskets of knowledge the first time, look what humankind did with all those taonga. We trashed them.

My father, we don’t deserve a second chance. And the real question is: if we are given it, and if Io grants us the baskets of knowledge again, will we get over our self-destructive nature and obsessions and do better this time?

Will we?

 

Scorchers: a Climate Fiction Anthology is edited Paul Mountfort, Chair of the AUT Centre for Creative Writing and leader of the BA English and New Media Studies and BA Creative Writing, Vice-president of the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ), editor of the Journal of Asia-Pacific Popular Culture (Penn State U Press, US), with Dr. Rosslyn Prosser, HOD English and Creative Writing at Adelaide U and member of the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice.

From the editors:

You’ll see that the volume has contributions by some of our greatest writers, including Patricia Grace, Witi Ihimaera and Renee Liang, along with AUT Centre for Creative Writing’s James George and Mike Johnson. #1 NY Times bestselling Australian sci-fi author Sean Williams is just one of the great line-up from across the ditch.

A full royalty share from this book will go to a registered climate charity, with profits to be reinvested into further climate related literature.

Please do come along to the launch and support this unique confluence of Australasian literature and climate action! Use the RSVP link below to confirm you’re coming, and please share freely with other interested parties: 

Scorchers book launch RSVP