Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation is an anthology featuring artwork, poetry, and short stories that fall under the “solarpunk” genre. For those new to this genre, it does for solar power what steampunk and dieselpunk did for steam-power and diesel respectively. In Sunvault particularly, there is heavy emphasis on climate change, sustainable energy, and cooperation. It features work from bestselling and award-winning authors, as well as some lesser known, but still just as good writers.
Sara’s Rating: 4/5
I’m a sucker for short fiction and so many of the pieces in this anthology were fantastic! For those of you into the format and near-future tech of Black Mirror, Sunvault is in this same vein, but going in an entirely different direction. The anthology takes the future of humanity’s relationship with technology and shows how we can use it to grow and heal as a species. I like to say that this book–and the solar-punk genre as a whole–is the hopeful side of the Black Mirror coin.
In the Sunvault mission it says ” a revolution against despair” and I think this is true. I went in concerned by the touted optimism. I worried that without some dispair readers would have a hard time picturing a solarpunk world as our future. Actually, bleak landscapes and loneliness shadow many of the worlds–in a good way. Strong notes of hope and inclusivity permeate the tales, and the variety of solar and eco-tech is incredibly creative.
My biggest complaint, was–despite being moved by many of the pieces–I felt like many needed a bit more clarity and structure. A few of the stories got caught up in the concept and world more than characters and plot. The stronger pieces prevented the tone from turning didactic, but I could see where some readers might lose interest.
As a whole, the pieces were well chosen and complemented each other well. I fell in love with one sweet long-distance relationship built on reading interests and food, and was glued to the page during the takeover of a high-tech building to help shelter the homeless. Much of the description and worldbuilding echoed Cowboy Bebop and Fury Road, rather than the Doctor Who I was expecting–and I was delighted!
About the Reviewer
Sara Voorhis is an avid adult / YA fiction and memoir reader. She loves character-driven work that is both honest and poignant. Works featuring marginalized folk of all sorts are her particular favorites, especially if they’re #OwnVoices. If it makes her cry, it’s a sure winner!