Don't be a baked potato. Be a person. -The Oatmeal
Welcome to Dragonfly News, where you can find out what’s going on in the world of eco-fiction.
Some cool news is that Dragonfly.eco’s database finally hit over 1,000 books! The stories are all wild. They represent a diversity of places and voices from around the world that reflect upon or imagine how we connect with our natural environment. Sometimes that connection is lost due to colonization and industry. Sometimes it’s found due to new experiences and rewilding.
I began walking and hiking in the past two weeks, and though this activity spawns a lot of creativity, it also brings out something else akin to madness. You can read more about my walking challenge on my blog. Since I wrote the blog, we’re almost to Lake Superior and I’ve walked about 150,000 steps since March 6 (four days to go in the challenge). I had one day off due to a sore back.
Recommended Book of the Month
The Oatmeal quote above is from his book, and this month’s recommended reading, The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances.
I first read this book in 2014 or so after my husband read it; he began running and then so did I. Back then I’d recently had an ablation that cured a life-long problem with supraventricular tachychardia, a disorder that really isn’t dangerous but was scary and often brought about by sprinting. I loved running, though. I’m pretty sure I learned to run before walking. Well, this book got me back into it a few years ago. It was also blunt, funny, inspiring, and, oh… a comic book! Maybe this book isn’t related to environment, but for me, it is. I’m no longer running regularly, but when I do run or hike, I prefer trails, not sidewalks. I’d rather be in forests, not on treadmills or oval tracks. Running and hiking are ways I like to experience nature, get into the elements, not be afraid. Not be a baked potato. Getting outdoors this time of year reminds me of the first breaths of spring, though Nova Scotia hiking is snowy and cold still.
World Eco-fiction Spotlight
March’s spotlight heads to northern Ontario where Waubgeshig Rice’s Moon of the Crusted Snow takes place. I talked with the author about his experiences growing up in the Anishinaabe culture as well as writing suspenseful stories wherein his apocalyptic narrative focuses on an isolated community, with little news of the outside world. We talked about story keepers, his grandmother, and how he learned to live with endings and new beginnings, a pattern that gives rise to resilience.
It is important to acknowledge the survivors of colonialism who have held on to the stories and cultural knowledge that were long forbidden and shamed by the Canadian state. These people risked their lives—many of them while children—to hang on to their stories and ceremonies, in hopes of one day being able to share them again. And now thankfully many of them are, as revered elders. So getting back to what we went over earlier, keeping stories is essential to survival. After the end of the world, Indigenous people have been able to piece their cultures back together, despite the brutality of what they and their ancestors endured. -Waubgeshig Rice
We also chatted about the sequel, Moon of the Turning Leaves, coming in October this year. I’m really excited about the upcoming book.
This month I talk with Amy Smiley about her new novel Hiking Underground. Nothing happens, and everything happens, in this seemingly quiet novel where Amy Smiley takes us deep into the emotional bond between three people—a mother, her son, and his babysitter—and follows each of them through a period of growth, from one spring to the next, until they are able to step out into the world more freely, with nature as their guide.
Backyard Wildlife Series
In the newest post, I talk about some animals and birds we’ve seen on our new meadow-cam. We were thrilled, but not too surprised, to see deer, coyotes, foxes, and a fat raccoon hanging out in the meadow. We haven’t seen them lately, possibly due to colder weather and more snow. We often see a pair of pheasants, however, but so far they’ve eluded our new trailcam! I’m looking forward to warmer weather, but there are zero signs of spring so far where we live. Heck, the trees were budding in January, but February brought actual winter weather this year.
Climate and Ecological Films
I’ve updated Dragonfly’s ongoing list of films with two new television series related to eco-fiction: “The Last of Us” (HBO) and “Extrapolations” (Apple TV). These are on my to-watch list, and I’m looking forward to them.
“The Last of Us”, according to Salon, is an almost-perfect metaphor for climate change, and the Washington Post says the show gets it right about fungus in a warming world.
“Extrapolations” introduces a near future where the chaotic effects of climate change have become embedded into our everyday lives. It is about time that fictional stories on the big screen unapologetically tackle the climate crisis. And, um, it has Jon Snow? Count me in. The entire cast looks incredible.
Some of the following books are only new to me. Some are newly published, and others are coming out this year:
Foxhunt, Rem Wigmore
Moon of the Turning Leaves, Waubgeshig Rice
Sordidez, E.G. Condé
Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Last Resort, Michael Kaufman
Bioluminescent, Justine Norton-Kertson, et al.
See more at Dragonfly.eco!
Rewilding Our Stories Discord is attending Flights of Foundry this year, though we’re still waiting on our schedule. It will be between April 15th and 16th. Join the Discord to stay updated. Our main topic will be science communication in eco-fiction, and we’ll also touch on solarpunk and lunarpunk.
Hopefully by the next newsletter, I’ll have more information about my bat article, which will appear in the spring issue of Ecology Action Centre’s magazine.
In case you’ve missed these exciting resources at Dragonfly, which are constantly being updated, check ‘em out!
Rewilding Our Stories: A Discord community, now expanded into a website, where you can find resources, reading, and writing fun in fiction that relates strongly to nature and environment. There’s a new submissions call-out for place writing!
New subreddit: Ecofiction. A place to find news about novels, articles, authors, and films in the field of rewilded and ecological fiction.
World’s biggest playlist? Our environmental/nature song-of-the-week playlist goes back to 2015.
Book recommendations: a growing list of recs.
Eco/climate genres: They’re all over the place, and here’s an expanding compendium.
Inspiring and informative author quotes from Dragonfly’s interviews.
List of ecologically focused games.
List of eco/climate films and documentaries.
Eco-fiction links and resources.
Book database: Database of nearly 1,000 book posts at Dragonfly.eco.
Turning the Tide: The Youngest Generation: Fiction aimed toward children, teens, and young adults.
Indie Corner: The occasional highlight of authors who publish independently.
Backyard Wildlife: A hidden gem exploring how we are rewilding our own backyard and meadow. Also check out our new meadow cam!
Artists & Climate Change. This is an extraordinary resource delving into all kinds of the arts focused on climate change. For a while now they’ve been rerunning my world eco-fiction spotlights. I’m a core writer for their team, and I’m both honored and grateful. Look for my “Wild Authors” series there. Note that this site is indefinitely paused at the moment, but the owner let me know that the content isn’t going away.
I’ve been helping with the social media at Climate Fiction Writers League. Check them out!