Dystopian novelists create worlds so deep in disaster that, by targeting the horrors, they nudge their readers to think about better solutions, You wouldn’t think it, but the new Solarpunk genre is more (is this possible?) utopian.
We tend to associate the Punk movement with Mohawk haircuts and Gothic garb – black clothing, wan faces, tons of mascara, ornate metal jewelry, snarling teenagers, et. al. Actually, it refers to iconoclasm, or rebelling (as outrageously as possible) against the status quo.
“Farewell to Dystopian Lit, Here Come the New Utopians,” trumpets an article in The New Republic. Read the article Here. Solarpunk fiction takes Punk’s outraged non-conformism beyond rebellion to a projection of how things should be. Yes, Solar Punk devoutly abhors the present day oligarchy of corporate CEOs, energy interests, and the very powerful, very rich 1% controlling it all. Rather than merely attack, it posits alternative worlds in which our human traits of invention and ingenuity – the very characteristics that endanger our beloved planet – are marshaled to save it. Here is its manifesto ; and here is a moving 3 minute video about its utopian intentions.
My own Eco-Fiction novels are more down to earth and non-fantastical than Cli-Fi or Solarpunk, but I find it immensely encouraging that all of us have the same goal of imagining new ways to sustain our beloved planet and the lives of ourselves and other species upon it.