A Sámi woman studying Alaska fish populations sees our past and future through their present signs of stress and her ancestral knowledge. A teenager faces a permanent drought in Australia and her own sexual desire. An unemployed man in Wisconsin marvels as a motley parade of animals makes his trailer their portal to a world untrammeled by humans. Featuring short fiction from authors around the globe, Fire & Water: Stories from the Anthropocene takes readers on a rare journey through the physical and emotional landscape of the climate crisis—not in the future, but today. By turns frightening, confusing, and even amusing, these stories remind us how complex, and beautiful, it is to be human in these unprecedented times.
Tomas Baiza, J. D. Evans, Mary Fifield, Bishop Garrison, JoeAnn Hart, Anthony S. James, Stefan Kiesbye, Jack Kirne, Carlos Labbé, Shaun Levin, Jessica Meeker, Jennifer Morales, Etan Nechin, Vivian Faith Prescott, Kristin Thiel, Jan Underwood, Tara Williams
Fire & Water is a stunning, necessary collection of stories that make the unimaginable realities of climate change feel absolutely visceral. Even the most fabulist stories here carry the shock of the real.
Walking a taut line between horror and hope, each one of these beautifully crafted, crystalline stories invites us to reconnect with our humanity and move into an uncertain future, together. Beautiful, important work.
…Wonderous and illuminating…Mary Fifield and Kristin Thiel have curated a refreshingly broad spectrum of perspectives, styles, and insights from an excellent group of writers whose experiences and backgrounds span continents.
—Omar El Akkad
Seventeen stories plot the present and the future like a mind-map diagram with a big “what if” at the center. Swinging from visceral reality to dreamlike fantasy with an occasional dose of humor, this collection tracks our existential moment as we teeter on the lip of the Anthropocene, trying to peer past the fog that obscures the abyss. From the imaginations of very different writers, these stories grapple with our world and our place in it. Sometimes up close and in detail, and sometimes at a strange remove, characters observe the world as they know it morph into something else. Fire & Water considers what might be beyond the fog, whether awful, surprising, or even delightful.
Fire & Water: Stories From the Anthropocene is an exceptionally good collection of new fiction, with stories that reflect many different aspects of the intensifying planetary crisis. What I particularly like about the stories is that they are about the here and now, mirroring the uncanny, lived reality of an increasingly unfamiliar planet.
In Fire & Water: Stories from the Anthropocene, Mary Fifield and Kristin Thiel have gathered 17 stories that remind us climate change is an urgent, multifaceted global issue. The stories—which take place in North America, South America, Europe, and Australia—show us catastrophes ranging from flooding in England to a new Ice Age in Germany to fire decimation in California. Spanning realism, science fiction, and myth, they alternately terrify us with charred and frozen landscapes and delight us with animals able to seek their own solutions to the problems we humans create. These stories are entertaining, thought-provoking, and perfect for our time.
—Lucille Lang Day