Canon of Best Hope

A list of hopepunk, afrofuturism, indigenous futurism, solarpunk, cli-fi, and scholarly books that don’t catastrophize or sugar-coat the future, while also providing us the strength and courage to face it.

Ultimately, Sam and Frodo are able to succeed because they remain true to their well-established hobbit values of love, community, coziness, and friendship as they fight. 

Even more, in the literary sense, hopepunk has the power to embed the conscious kindness that Sam encourages within the worldview and worldbuilding of a story itself. A primary hallmark of hopepunk is that hopepunk narratives portray the fight to build positive social systems as an inherently good thing. The definition of a “social system” in this context is nebulous, but at minimum, it starts with community-building.

“Community is a huge part of hopepunk,” Rowland told me. “We accomplish great things when we form bonds with each other. We’re stronger, we can build higher, and we can take better care of each other.”

Aja Romano, Vox, “Hopepunk, the latest storytelling trend, is all about weaponized optimism

(I haven’t actually read all these myself. But I want to. I will update periodically.)

In chronological order.

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (1962)

Ecotopia: A Novel, Ernest Callenbach (1975)

Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1990)

The Fifth Sacred Thing series, Starhawk (1993)

  • The Fifth Sacred Thing
  • Walking To Mercury
  • City of Refuge

Bold As Love series, Gwyneth Jones (2001)

  • Bold As Love
  • Castles Made of Sand
  • Midnight Lamp
  • Band of Gypsys
  • Rainbow Bridge
  • The Grasshopper’s Child

Culture and Prosperity: The Truth About Markets – Why Some Nations Are Rich But Most Remain Poor, John Kay (2004)

The Company of Strangers: A Natural History of Economic Life, Paul Seabright (2004)

Racial Culture: A Critique, Richard Thompson Ford (2005)

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, Rebecca Solnit (2009)

Down to Earth: Nature’s Role in American History, Ted Steinberg (2012)

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Naomi Klein (2014)

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (2014)

Wayfarers series, Becky Chambers (2014)

  • The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet
  • A Closed And Common Orbit
  • Record Of A Spaceborn Few
  • The Galaxy, And The Ground Within

Broken Earth trilogy, N. K. Jemisin (2015)

  • The Fifth Season
  • The Obelisk Gate
  • The Stone Sky

New York 2140, Kim Stanley Robinson (2017)

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Project Drawdown (2017)

The Sixth World series, Rebecca Roanhorse (2018)

  • Trail of Lightning
  • Storm of Locusts

Lady Astronaut series, Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

  • The Calculating Stars
  • The Fated Sky
  • The Relentless Moon

Two Dark Moons, Avi Silver (2019)

As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, From Colonization to Standing Rock, Dina Gilio-Whitaker (2019)

Gamechanger, L. X. Beckett (2019)

This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook, Extinction Rebellion (2019)

Frontlines: Stories of Global Environmental Justice, Nick Meynen (2019)

The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells (2019)

A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and The Rest Can Follow, Joshua S. Goldstein & Staffan A. Qvist (2019)

Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, Joshua Whitehead (editor) (2020)

Greed Is Dead: Politics After Individualism, Paul Collier and John Kay (2020)