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South Tropic Seas

Ecoceanic: Southern Flows

By Tarun K. Saint & Francesco Verso 

26 Jan, 2024

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Tarun K. Saint and Francesco Verso’s 20241 Ecoceanic: Southern Flows is an anthology that examines the impact of climate change on the global south.

This anthology is a fine way to while away an evening. As is usual with anthologies, if you don’t like one story, you can go on to the next. I liked most of the stories; perhaps you will too.

Another plus: the editors preface the stories with forwards that give ample biographical detail on their authors. This should help you find other works by the authors you like. This anthology could be a useful resource when planning future reading.

I was sent the anthology as an e‑arc (advance reader copy). E‑texts don’t provide hints as to length with physical heft and for some reason I expected a tome. This collection is slender. Nevertheless, the work includes an impressive variety of authors and a diversity of tales, from short stories to longer works. Even poetry!

I didn’t feel that any stories particularly stood out, but not because they were all meh; the anthology’s brevity is matched by its quality.

Just about every one of my reviews is likely to have one or more negative comments. The negative comment here is a tempered one: the latter part of the introduction reveals a bit too much about the stories. I prefer being surprised. If you’re like me, you should leave that section of the introduction for last.

Something I did like: this work includes some poetry that actually made sense to me. I know that this is my personal issue, something that is not shared by millions of poetry readers… but it was a pleasant surprise not to have to deal with meaningless words.

Ecoceanic is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), and here (Amazon UK). The Italian edition is availablehere (Barnes & Noble). Ecoceanic can be purchased here (publisher Future Fiction) . I did not find Ecoceanic at either Apple Books or Chapters-Indigo.

Now for some details.

Southern Blues: Introduction to Ecoceanic by Tarun K. Saint

An extensive, footnoted discussion of the anthology’s remit, as well as a detailed commentary on the stories themselves.

The New Frontier by Kaiser Haq

A poem detailing the exciting new world made possible by catastrophic climate change and the migrations that will follow. Includes an informative postscript.

Mare Tranquillitatis by Soham Guha

A father and daughter struggle to resist a ruthless oligarch’s acquisitiveness. The battle to protect nature’s remnants seems one-sided, but the pair have unexpected allies.

Hope at World End by Chinaza Eziaghighala

Rampant climate change exacerbated by World War Four rendered the world uninhabitable to humans. Domes provide refuge… but only a temporary one, since the domes are deteriorating. Salvation demands bold strategies!

Oddly for an SF story, the solution isn’t to look for a pretext to kill large numbers of people2. but for a way to save as many as possible.

The Water Runner by Eugen Bacon

A woman yearns to escape endless labor in her drought-ridden, idiot-ruled nation. Alas, the powers-that-be have been all too thorough in their efforts to impose control.

Undercurrency by Sam Beckbessinger

A researcher finds welcome distraction from job stress in a new beau, little suspecting that her personal and professional lives will collide. Her visionary project is imperiled… but perhaps there is an upside.

I Speak with a Thousand Voices by César Santivañez (translated by Rachael Amoruso)

Comprehensive corruption insulates oil companies from the human cost of their destructive practices. Official recourse is impossible, leaving victims no choice but to seek bold new coping mechanisms.

Half-Eaten Cities by Vajra Chandrasekera

Inexorable sea level rise will engulf all… save for the ultra-wealthy, protected by their riches.

I Had a Dream by Priya Sarukkai Chabria

A cosmic perspective fuels a plea for humans to embrace their potential rather than their vices. They can do better.

Shroud and the Moon by Thoraiya Dyer

Two couples, near-future and one far-future, contend with a transformed Earth. Despite their differences, the far-future pair manages to find a cooperative path towards survival. The near-future pair is, alas, less successful.

The Word for World is Ocean by Vandana Singh

An isolated world would seem to be at the mercy of an arrogant visitor with superior technology and boundless confidence. The opposition: a youth with determination… and a far better grasp of local conditions.

1: The copyright says 2023 but the accompanying letter said that this would be a 2024 release.

2: The solution to the frailty of the domes and the impending extinction of the human race will have an unexpected side effect: crewed space travel will be a lot easier.