Monday, October 11 2021

Quote of the Day

…true hope is ultimately a bold choice full of power and agency. It’s true that no one can escape crisis. It comes for each of us in numerous forms, whether personal or societal, but in crisis there is also incredible opportunity to draw from the strength of humans of the past and to persevere long enough to inspire someone in the future.

Ben Gierhart, Asimov’s Foundation and Finding Hope in Crisis

Today’s post is all about the researching for my new story-in-progress!

Preparing coastlines for the future

I’m worldbuilding for a short story, and really digging into how to save our coastlines from rising seas and increasingly worse storms was an incredible shock. It’s all about managed retreat and habitat rehabilitation. Many of the solutions local governments recommend (hardening, raising buildings) pretty much make things worse.

Best practices for successful coastal flooding adaptation

Coastal Resiliency

Solutions to Coastal Flooding: Can National Parks Turn the Tide?

Innovative Approaches to Building Resilient Coastal Infrastructure

Some nifty buildings

So if people pull back from the shore, where will they live? I started looking into some nifty futuristic concept architecture for ideas.

See the World’s Most Innovative Future Projects at the World Architectural Festival in Berlin

10 Futuristic Architecture Projects That Will Blow Your Mind!

What Should Cities Be Like in 2050?

Shaping Cities like Coral Reefs

Getting around in this future

Once again, really researching this has been eye-opening. I’ve assumed trains of some sort are the best plan, but coastal flooding over train tracks make them impractical. We can keep raising the tracks over and over, but…why? There are better ideas out there.

Does Sea Level Rise Matter to Transportation Along the Atlantic Coast?

Climate Impacts on Transportation

A Future Option for African Fast Intercity Coastal Transportation

Six futuristic designs that will change public transportation


The Future of Transportation course from the Futurist Institute

18 urban transportation concepts for the future

Friday, October 8, 2021

Quote of the Day

I wish that every day was Saturday and every month was October.

Charmaine J. Forde

Doofus interruptus

After having my day hijacked by lots of feels yesterday, I am back on track and delving more into the worldbuilding for my story. Specifically, more on flooding. I found this enlightening article about the process of getting one levee built, and how inequitable the process and the result is:

The Inequality of America’s Levee Systems

I thought this would be a great example I could use as a model for what could happen in my future southern New England coast. But then I found another article and I realized I have the complete wrong model. This article made me realize that southern New England has been dealing with flooding for a really, really long time. And most of what they’ve tried is slowly breaking down and failing. Levees, seawalls, dune rehabilitation, even stilts…none of it is working against erosion and flooding today, never mind decades from now.

Mother Nature, Humans Do Battle Along R.I.’s Battered Coast

Today I’m going to glean what I can from this article and I think I will get a good picture of where this coast might be in the years to come. I have to keep remembering that solarpunk is the fiction of the triumph of technology, of real solutions (even if temporary), of the positive outcome. It’s very easy to look at these situations today and just extrapolate forward on current social structures and political will and get to a very negative result. And I also have to remember that this is a short story and I don’t have to have all the answers to how people could ever realistically get to the future I want to show.


Speaking of solarpunk…

A new article on Tor listing some tasty solarpunk SF:

The Solarpunk Future: Five Essential Works of Climate-Forward Fiction

My library card is gonna get a workout. I actually started Robinson’s New York 2140, but I didn’t finish it before it was due back. I’ll have to try it again.

SF TV shows make my day

I’ve started watching Apple’s Foundation. I’ve never actually read the books–I never was a fan of super hard SF growing up, so I tended to skip it. The only Asimov I’ve read was The Gods Themselves, and I was young enough that maybe I shouldn’t have.

Anyhoo. Tor has an article about Foundation up, and since I’m watching the show and enjoying it, I figured this article might make for good reading.

Asimov’s Foundation and Finding Hope in Crisis

Wednesday, October 6 2021

Quote of the Day

There are two buttons I never like to hit, that is panic and snooze.

Ted Lasso

Links links links

I’ve got a ton to get to today, so just listing some links I don’t want to forget.


  • A game I apparently signed up to get updates about? It must have sounded interesting to me so I should re-check it out eventually.

A Solarpunk Manifesto

  • A nice summing up of the things I was researching last week.

Sistah SciFi

  • I want to visit this bookstore!!! Stupid pandemic……. soon.

Life Swap

  • Stardew Valley has to be hopepunk?

What We Can Learn from ‘Advise and Consent’

Politics and power haven’t changed much since Allen Drury, ’39, wrote his midcentury masterpiece. But trust has.

  • I really need to read this one, it might help me with my current story. Maybe this afternoon, after I finish more worldbuilding exercises….

Tuesday, October 5 2021

Quote of the Day

Solarpunk Magazine is publishing utopian science fiction, working against dystopia, so more power to them. Kick ass and use hope like a club to beat back the pessimists.

Kim Stanley Robinson for Solarpunk Magazine

Research is always so soothing

After being very uncertain of my worldbuilding next steps, I took N. K. Jemisin’s advice and made a map. That was super helpful, for some reason, so I also researched flooding, and found this great tool the state of Rhode Island has created to map our ever-approaching doom!

With online tool, you can see where R.I. would flood

Doomy but helpful. There is actually less flooding than I would have thought. The site also has a paper on ideas for private individuals to help secure their property against floods.

I also stumbled on pictures of then-Tropical Storm Henri hitting the southern New England coast. Very interesting that some communities have literal floodgates in place already. Like the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier to shield the low-lying sections of Providence, and the Pawcatuck Hurricane Barrier and flood gates in Stonington.

While it’s outside the scope of my story–I think–it’s super interesting to me that local governments are seriously thinking about climate change, and their plan, instead of managed retreat, appears to be to just continue adapting to more and more water. I don’t know if that’s really viable, but it is interesting.

Also, since my book of place names for RI turned out to be a book of place names for CT, I found a website with hopefully similar information.

It’s not dystopia, it’s just the inevitability of history repeating itself

This was a weird little short film about how the US is a civilization in rapid decline that I found on YouTube:

American Psychosis – Chris Hedges on the US empire of narcissism and psychopathy.

The weird part is that it seems to just be an interview with Chris Hedges. At times we watch Hedges speaking, and at other times we watch sometimes random, sometimes artsy, and sometimes germaine video images instead.

It was made by American Canary, which looks intriguing.

But there were some nicely quotable bits:

…the Humanities at their best are about teaching people how to think, rather than what to think. They’re about teaching people to challenge assumptions and structures. The discipline of the Humanities is subversive–it’s meant to be subversive.

Chris Hedges

Monday, October 4 2021

Quote of the Day

You grew up beside him, toymaker. Did he ever fall to the boasting sickness, the Choking Glory? Or daydreams and nightmares dropping into his lungs?

Phyllis Ann Karr, At Amberleaf Fair


No nifty links or learnings today. I tried to go gluten-free starting today for two weeks on the advice of my nutritionist. Breakfast went horribly and I just want to give up! I just might… least for today.

So I am feeling tired and achy after severe tummy troubles, and it’s time to kick my worldbuilding can down the story road–November 1 is getting ever-closer. I was very stuck on Friday, but talking to my husband helped me sort a few things out and have a few new ideas to try to throw at this story.

Interestingly, I found that while worldbuilding a story set in the future I keep trying to build a nice neat timeline so that I can trace everything new in the story back to today’s present and how it grew out of the now. But I don’t need to do that for a short story! I can just make the world look the way I want it to look because I want it to look that way.

I need to be more assertive in my worldbuilding. Make it so! I hadn’t realized this was part of my problem with finishing stories. And the more I think about it, the more I think I might be working against my own nature a bit. I’m a big picture person–not in that I can’t get into minutiae, but to understand the small bits I need the overarching view first. That might be why I am getting frustrated. Well, brain, the overarching view is going to have to be the theme, not The Made Up History Of Humankind mInute-by-minute starting from right now.

Let’s hope I make some progress today…

Friday, October 1 2021

Quote of the Day

As a clear blue sky waits for rain, so too shall I wait for you.

Yilun Fan, “Speechless Love,” Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation

Unfortunately found out the way things really work

Yesterday I thought and thought about my Solarpunk Story #1 theme. I had a couple vague, barely there ideas about what could maybe happen in the story. I was thinking about committees and bills and laws and voting and technology.

I did a little researching on participatory democracy (or direct democracy) compared to representative democracy. I had the stunning thought that voting is incredibly binary–it’s yes or no and that’s it. No nuance when citizens vote on a local referendum or when representative vote on a law.

The nuance, then, is all about who is in the room when a bill / proposition gets crafted. Which made me think. Who is in the room? I think it can be anyone, technically, but usually it’s the representative and probably lobbyists? Right?

Wrong! We’re more dysfunctional now! Yay!

You elected them to write new laws. They’re letting corporations do it instead.

In all, these copycat bills amount to the nation’s largest, unreported special-interest campaign, driving agendas in every statehouse and touching nearly every area of public policy. 

The investigation reveals that fill-in-the-blank bills have in some states supplanted the traditional approach of writing legislation from scratch. They have become so intertwined with the lawmaking process that the nation’s top sponsor of copycat legislation, a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, claimed to have signed on to 72 such bills without knowing or questioning their origin.

For lawmakers, copying model legislation is an easy way to get fully formed bills to put their names on, while building relationships with lobbyists and other potential campaign donors.

For special interests seeking to stay under the radar, model legislation also offers distinct advantages. Copycat bills don’t appear on expense reports, or campaign finance forms. They don’t require someone to register as a lobbyist or sign in at committee hearings. But once injected into the lawmaking process, they can go viral, spreading state to state, executing an agenda to the letter…

Copied bills have been used to override the will of local voters and their elected leaders. Cities and counties have raised their minimum wage, banned plastics bags and destroyed seized guns, only to have industry groups that oppose such measures make them illegal with model bills passed in state legislatures…

Model legislation has flourished as gridlock in Congress forced special interest groups to look to the states to get things done, she said.

Great. I mean, it helped me refine my theme in a burst of rage-fueled clarity, but….ugh, that’s gross. If there is a way to game the system, someone will eventually do it.

(Which is what I really wanted my theme to be, but solarpunk is about optimism, so I had to dig deeper….)

Cottagecore gloriousness

Winter is approaching and while it’s still pandemic-y out there, I suspect I will be going Outside more than last year’s winter. Having just moved here at the beginning of the pandemic, I really don’t have appropriate winter clothes.

I really hate shopping for clothes, and everything in plus size seems to be all exactly what I don’t want to wear and / or exactly what will make me look the most horrible.

But this rise of cottagecore and shops that want to purvey it might save me. Here’s a couple link-filled articles I found:

21+ Plus Size Cottagecore Outfits – Where to Shop

The Must-Have Winter Wardrobe Staple: Cottagecore

I want my clothes to be simple and easy to clean, but I am also sick of my shirt-and-jeans look. I also don’t want TOO many ruffles. We’ll see where this goes, I guess. (Probably right into dark academia, but we’ll see!)

Thursday, September 30 2021

Quote of the Day

Her visor was close up against her face, a sleek glass pane across her eyes. The prism technology and coating on the visor made it anti-reflective, obscured the AugR display from the outside, and disrupted face-detecting software. There were cameras on the front and back, so I had a full 360-degree view of the world around her head. (She had buzzed her long black hair off to avoid obscuring the camera’s view.)

T.X. Watson, “The Boston Hearth Project,” Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation

Gantt charts are doomy

I took a moment yesterday to put together a timeline in Notion of exactly how this writing process is supposed to unfold if I only have a month to write a short story.

I know that in school I only had about a week and a half to turn in a short story. Maybe that was why they were so bad. My upfront figuring out process seems to take a lot longer than fumbling around in draft after draft, although I actually seem to get somewhere using it. I really really hope I can pull this off.

On to step 1: Figuring out a theme, and what the main character will learn over the course of the story.

In a hurry

Clearly, I have a lot of work to get to, so my blog posts will be a lot shorter through the month of October.

Wednesday, September 29 2021

Quote of the Day

I don’t want easy anymore. It’s worthless and the shine doesn’t last.

Kim Harrison, The Undead Pool

Writing solarpunk resources

The research continues, and I might be starting–just a bit–to get an idea of the genre conventions for solarpunk. I went looking for resources and found these here:

“Solarpunk” & the Pedagogical Value of Utopia

Spectrum London Writers’ Group Presents: Solarpunk Day

It’s a little slippery to get a handle on, because it’s not just a genre, it’s a movement and most of the materials I’m finding are more generalized to explain the movement as a whole. And it’s still so shiny new that I’m getting the feeling that it hasn’t truly defined itself yet.

Here is my stab at a preliminary list of conventions:

  • gotta have tech–low, high, old, new, future or present, it’s got to be a component of solarpunk
  • the tech and other solutions should be distributed / decentralized and often DIY
  • there absolutely will be conflict, but since solarpunk is “a rebellion against the war on hope,” I think a happy ending is in order.
  • nature and greenery as a primary feature of important settings
  • it has to have a post-capitalist economy or be about the fight to move beyond capitalism
  • community is front and center
  • it’s got to be in the future–whether 10 mins from now or 2000 years from now
  • characters believe solving systemic causes of inequality is the future (and act accordingly)
  • diverse characters
  • themes:
    • there is action to be taken and a difference to be made even in the face of overwhelming odds
    • hope is a radical act
    • humanity can achieve comfortable living for all
    • civilization allows for indigenous / small cultures to be integrated not repressed
    • climate action doesn’t mean scarcity or giving things up
    • humans are part of the natural world, not separate from it
    • technology is for the betterment of people and nature, not corporations
    • we cannot survive the future without strong, integrated, self-sufficient-yet-connected communities

All of this isn’t nothing, but it’s pretty light on plot points or specific scenes that must happen. Once again, maybe the genre isn’t there yet, but my next step is to start reading solarpunk short stories and see if there are any repeating motifs.

Oh hey, a new solarpunk anthology open for submissions

Solarpunk Sunscapes: Optimistic Visions of the Future

So, um…I guess I better make a go of it? One month to write and finish a story……yikes….let’s see what I can make happen.

Tuesday, September 28 2021

Quote of the Day

It takes an idiot to do cool things. That’s why it’s cool.



I spent yesterday coming through Our Changing Climate’s Why This Gives Me Hope for the Future (ft. @Saint Andrewism) video. Here are all the references to nifty SolarPunk things I found in it.

Solarpunk artists & writers

The ‘Vegetal’ Cities of Luc Schuiten: A Sustainability Fantasy

J Queiroz

Dear Alice – do we love it for awesome people involved, lovely animation and aesthetics, and great solarpunk portrayal, or do we hate it because it’s capitalism trying to appropriate the movement?

Eric Hunting

Gwenn Germain

Jessica Woulfe

Thomas Chamberlain-Keene

Solarpunk tech – the excitement of the 1950s except for everyone and sustainable

The Oceanbird

Hybrid Air Vehicles

Related & nifty

The Obscure Cities: An Introduction

I was a little worried here that I’m not starting with the more “foundational” solarpunk texts, but I figure, I’ll get around to them. The delight in just picking a point and starting is discovery and rabbit holes. I hope this way will give me ideas as I browse the genre.

Why Must We Turn Everything Into A Neurosis

A friend sent me this link, and it definitely lands for me. I have gotten heaps and piles of things done over the last few years, but there hasn’t been a concrete manifestation, so it doesn’t feel like accomplishment. It also underscores again how I need to write some shorts so I don’t drive myself mad with un-manifestation.

On the Source of Our Drive to Get Things Done

Contrary to the critical assumption that the drive to produce is primarily culturally mediated, these results hint at something that many feel intuitively: there’s something deeply human, and therefore deeply satisfying, about succeeding in making one’s intentions manifest concretely in the world.

Cal Newport

Monday, September 27 2021

Quote of the Day

Behind me Loveland Castle was whole again, albeit a dumpy little building falling apart–one man’s dream of nobility crumbling from neglect. Noble ideas tended to do that when left alone.

Kim Harrison, Ever After

You disappoint me, technology

While I had my doubts about lab-grown meat (how could it possibly have the same micronutrients? also organs and bones are are super good for us), It still sounded like a reasonable alternative for part of the time, at least. Except, I guess it’s not really an alternative at all.

Lab-grown meat is supposed to be inevitable. The science tells a different story.

A trick that might work

So a few months ago, I bought heirloom masa harina to use as a substitute for cornmeal. It didn’t actually work all that great, because the masa harina is ground super fine. So I bought some posole to grind into cornmeal for the coarser texture. Which I haven’t tried yet–basically I want the nixtimalization but I also want tasty cornbread and jonnycakes.

Since my nutritionist has suggested that I do a gluten-free trial for 2 weeks, this has come back around again. And I think this time I have a new, better, strategy, based on recipes like this one:

Masa Harina Cornbread

I can buy regular heirloom cornmeal from the East Coast, then mix it in with the masa harina. This feels like it will go much better than the 1:1 swap I was attempting.

Of course, a lot of these recipes have some added wheat flour, but maybe if I find a 100% cornmeal recipe and switch out half for masa harina that will go better. But I’m eager to try and see what the results are.

Being inspired

I’ve found a couple of solarpunk references that I’m going to be exploring this week, just digging into the genre and getting a feel for its conventions. I found this article with lots of references:

Solarpunk Is Not About Pretty Aesthetics. It’s About the End of Capitalism

I also found this YouTube video, which will lead me to lots of interesting ideas:

Why This Gives Me Hope for the Future (ft. @Saint Andrewism)

Thanks to Our Changing Climate for crediting art and resources in his video, that makes my job much easier.

Solarpunk seems to be having a little bit of a moment, which is exciting!