The solarpunk genre is a promising new sound, and I enjoy the generally upbeat worlds, characters, and stories. However, some of these explorations forget to include much story.
Let me not spend too much time on the weaker short stories included in this anthology. After all, every anthology must by some law of nature exhibit a range of quality in the stories it chooses to showcase.
I haven't known about the solarpunk genre for long yet. After first learning of the premise, I set out to formulate my own perspective on it, before I dove into what other people wrote.
In his video essay on Blade Runner, the Nerdwriter says something that I took to become a central dogma in my definition of the solarpunk genre.
The central problem of modernity isn't humanity, it's identity
As for a quick sketch of the context, I wrote the following.
Glass-clad, rounded towers slurp the sun's light and convert it into earth's current of power. Wireless energy is everywhere in a world where greenery no longer has to fight against progress, but can finally embrace it in her dance.
Clean energy has been accomplished. Humans have learned to coexist and form societies with everyone. Cultures haven't converged, but instead have entangled like the great vines decorating the cities. Has humankind beaten life? What more is there to reach for?
Identity. What is our place as individuals? We are being born, but what can we add to life? People read, watch films, make photographs, listen to music. People dance, and climb, run, play, wrestle.
How does work look like? Everyone only works for one day every week. There are enough people available every day to keep things running. For the rest, everyone has a shared sense of responsibility for public spaces. All needs are provided for by machines. We just stick around to fix and improve them from time to time.
Only then did I move on to others' work in the solarpunk genre. By browsing through some YouTube talks, online art galleries, and other writings on the subject, I gathered a brief intuition for how people perceived this.
I will highlight a few stories from this collection that I liked most.