The type of fiction we read, and write, matters

posted in: Blood and Ink, Fiction | 0

When I wrote “Blood and Ink”, I wanted to write a small story, about how one small person navigated a reasonably realistic forward projection of the impact of human-induced climate change.

Hollinger and Gordon argue that it is science fiction’s role to consider all aspects of both our present and our future (2002, 3). And, Hamilton says that we missed the last point at which human-induced climate change could have been effectively mitigated, in 2009 (2010, ix). So, I think it’s important that we read, and write, science fiction (and speculative fiction) that addresses responding to and living with climate change.

The kind of fiction we read and write about climate change matters, too, because imagining a future makes it at least practicable for us to reach for it. Fiction is a way of testing out options, playing through scenarios, and becoming accustomed to the changes we need to make in our lives. We use fiction to practise.

I wanted to write a story where one character’s actions mattered. Annie, the main character in “Blood and Ink”, makes decisions about her own and her family’s future. She chooses a path, she uses the resources she has, and takes responsibility for the outcomes. Annie and her family are doing the best they can to get through the domestic, personal impacts of environmental disaster. This is not an epic story, told on a sweeping landscape, of nations looking for a technological or heroic resolution. Those kinds of stories allow us as readers to escape from practicing accepting responsibility for our own actions and the changes we need to make. No technological-hero-god is coming to save us from climate disaster, and I don’t want to write stories where that happens.

“Blood and Ink” is about personal action and responsibility. It’s about family. It’s about living on the edge of the desert of the future.


Hamilton, Clive. 2010. Requiem for a Species: Why We resist the Truth About Climate Change. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.

Hollinger, Veronica and Joan Gordon. 2002. “Introduction: Edging into the Future.” Edging Into the Future: Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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