Hot Mess: Speculative Fiction about Climate Change – review

I hammered out a wee review of Hot Mess,  the short story collection my old friend and one time Traverse Young Writer’s colleague Rachel Lynn Brody both contributed to and edited.

I’ve popped it over at the Amazon page but have also included the full text below the cut:

Hot Mess

Given the plethora of new titles popping up on Amazon’s Kindle shop each week, it’s not surprising that often there are almost too many to find the rare diamonds amongst the coal. So it’s with no small amount of happiness that I came across Hot Mess. Given that Climate Change is a topic which has drifted from the eye of the public, it’s nice to see that the topic can still be brought to the fore of discussion through new means, such as Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth and through more oblique takes on the situation, such as with this collection of short stories which examine various outcomes of a problematic future.

The range of the stories vary completely in tone, structure and complexity. From the comedic turns such as the shorts ‘Traditionibus ne Copulate’ and ‘Haute Mess’ by Sare Liz Gordy and Rachel Lynn Brody (the book’s editor) respectively. These facetious views upon the fashion and religions of the future are a far call from the pure thriller-escapism shown in Miranda Doerfler’s dystopian piece, ‘In Between the Dark and the Light’, which tells the story of people condemned to die under deadly sunlight.

Rounding the collection off are the three more serious stories which form the opening and close of the book. Eric Sipple’s ‘She Says Goodbye Tomorrow’ is a wistful treatise on loss and the acceptance of inevitability, telling the tragic story of a vintner family legacy in peril after generations of weather changes. Comparitively Brody’s second addition in the collection ‘Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom’  is a mournful futurescape dealing with childhood confusion against a background of a scorched earth. The final story in the book, RJ Astruc’s ‘The World Gets Smaller, and Things Get Left Behind’, is a more realistic and cautionary entry, contemplating a tourist visiting the sunken ruins of a drowned Venice.

This is a fine collection with something important to say, but in a manner that never feels preachy and leaves the reader to find their own conclusions or simply get swept up in the prose and the individual adventures of experience within. I’d recommend it wholeheartedly.

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