A Review of 2047: Short Stories from our Common Future

23rd February 2018

2047 is a collection of short stories and poetry from 10 authors, who consider what our future may look like in 30 years’ time, as a result of climate change and environmental degradation. It uses the power of fiction to immerse us into new dystopian futures, as a means of warning us of what may come to pass if we don’t change our ways.

The anthology was published in 2017 and marked 30 years, since the Brundtland Commission published their vision for a sustainable future. One of the authors and Editor of the compilation, Tanja Rohini Bisgaard, explains that she wanted to explore what the world would look like in the next 30 years. By bringing together authors with different ideas and specialisms, she has managed to bring this vision to life through stories both sad and uplifting.

The stories span degraded environmental conditions, the rise of AI technology (and the good and bad that brings with it), as well as solutions for tackling climate change in Tanja’s The Outcast Gem. One of the real takeaway points for me was how different writing styles can be used in the cli-fi genre. For example, the use of letters from one generation to another in David Zetland’s Dear Henry, really helps to contextualise the changes we’ve brought about as a species from the perspective of a single farming family. In addition, we also see journalist entries and poetry in some of the other inclusions. Isaac Yuen’s submission, was a clever take on time travel and presented us with the idea that in the future, the only way to experience an earth free of widespread environmental degradation, would be to travel back in time to before we messed things up.

Innovative anthologies like this are a great way to get the message out about climate change, as the range of writing styles may increase the likelihood of readers finding at least one style they really enjoy.

In his book The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh, argues that we need art and literature to help frame and contextualise climate change and bemoans the lack of both thus far. This anthology seeks to address that gap, and I look forward to reading more of the work produced by these authors.