"It’s a good read that gets your mental gears turning."

Hot Mess

speculative fiction about climate change

RJ Astruc
Rachel Lynn Brody
Miranda Doerfler
Sare Liz Gordy
Eric Sipple

Genre: Science Fiction Short Stories

Book Synopsis

Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change is an collaborative anthology. Short stories include:

"She Says Goodbye Tomorrow" by Eric Sipple. As microclimates shift and a once-abundant vineyard withers away, its owner fights to keep her family’s winery and memories alive. How long can she put off moving on?

"Haute Mess" by Rachel Lynn Brody Even Fashionistas get the climate change blues.

"In Between the Dark and the Light" by Miranda Doerfler When state-sponsored executions threaten to claim his only daughter, Brett Zerum does everything he can to save her and escape to a new, otherworldly paradise.

"Traditionibus ne Copulate" by Sare Liz Gordy The Way of the Geonome will eventually call everyone home. But with humans wiped out in the apocalypse, who’s left to answer?

"Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." by Rachel Lynn Brody A boy struggles to keep a promise to his father, while his mother shields him from tragedy in an information-saturated age.

"The World Gets Smaller, and Things Get Left Behind" by RJ Astruc Everyone knew the deluge was coming. Now, tourists at a new Atlantis visit the city that couldn’t be saved.

Mark's Rating

Mark's Review

Reviewing an anthology of short stories written by different authors is a difficult task, for one has to judge theme, writing style, technique, level of editing, and so forth. I came up with the 4-star rating based upon all those criteria. Judging stories individually would have brought a range of scores from 3 stars to 5 stars. A few of the stories did not interest me, or the writing technique bothered me somewhat. One story in particular needed another pass at editing (in my opinion).

However, I want to use the rest of this review to focus on the positive, for there are a lot of good things to say about these stories. For instance, all of them stuck to the climate change theme very well. Two of the stories use the theme in a subtle way, and because these two stories—“She Says Goodbye Tomorrow” by Eric Sipple and “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” by Rachel Lynn Brody—are also written extremely well, they are my favorite, earning 5-stars each (if I were reviewing them individually).

Of those two, though, I have to say that the star of the show is Eric Sipple’s story. It’s also the longest of the group, which isn’t a bad thing whatsoever; it’s actually a good thing. His story grabs you from the first sentence and through a series of shifting scenes doesn’t let you go until the end. It’s detailed but not too much so. The structure (though confusing at first) actually works quite well; however, I didn’t see this fact until long after I finished it, which is another good thing, for he had me thinking about his story long after the last word.

I definitely recommend this anthology if you are concerned about the changing climate of our planet, and even if you aren’t, I still recommend it. It’s a good read that gets your mental gears turning.

Disclaimer: May not be appropriate for young children due to mature themes.