how the genre can be free from chemical pesticides
It’s difficult to know what to do for Earth Day, usually. Not, let me quickly explain, that there’s any lack of laudable opportunities—community garden days, environmental protests, farmers’ markets. Things of that sort.
But what to do as a fantasist?
All these laudable opportunities involve some extent of nothing whatever to do with fantasy. Which for many reasons makes them healthy activities for any struggling fantasist. But I happen to dislike fracturing what I do from what I do. If we are to celebrate, honor, and sustain the earth, surely there’s a way of doing that as a fantasist—through fantasy?
The occasion for many such morbid fits of ‘what to do, what to do!’ is a secret longing to have thought of Ents first. Around Earth Day, you’ll see any number of struggling fantasists furtively haunting disaster areas, hoping to hitch a ride on a TARDIS. They want to go back to 1922, and publish a certain story
That, of course, is cheating.
I’ve muddled my way through musings at Paradoxes about fantasy, the environment, and social justice. The comfort of such musings is that, often enough, having written them I can settle back and think, ‘Well, now. What is somebody else going to do about this?’
Within moments we’ve built that most human of inventions—a Somebody Else’s Problem (SEP) Field—to enclose what we just wrote, and go our way rejoicing.
But, with Earth Day confronting me like an English teacher who’s discovered me behind the fire escape saying ‘ain’t’, my SEP begins to flicker. So I return, and reread my musings in the first person imperative.
I find something I could do.
I once flung out a casual reference to ‘green fantasy’, which, I explained, was ‘sort of like steampunk, maybe, just organic.’
Perhaps a fantasist could celebrate Earth Day by writing something like that?
This presents me with an immediate difficulty. I’ve only the smoggiest notion what steampunk actually is. I once did research on it, for a while, and found a number of interesting websites that had nothing to do with steampunk. I did, however, find one article that attempted to define steampunk.
‘The subgenre of fantasy known as steampunk,’ it told me, ‘is fantasy that uses steam. It is also punk.’
Well. That helped.
My research continues to flounder, and I begin to suspect that if I ever hope to understand steampunk, I’ll just have to write some myself.
Actually, that conclusion removes the difficulty. Surely I can just simply write organic fantasy to discover what it is?
I close my eyes, and begin to type:
Indu yjns S T=RVHE9n htujie3hhs tghe3jh sh89hg,,,
Okay, not the best idea. I close my eyes metaphorically, and let various scenarios form over the keys.
Sustainable farming came too late, and earth lies ravaged and desolate. Chemical pesticides have turned the planet into a luminous post-apocalyptic desert. People who ate the poisoned produce have mutated into Tyrrani, hysterical, slavering predators, who stalk the desolation preying on anything weaker that moves.
(Or they would, but they’re too afraid to venture above ground, and they’re blind and deaf anyway. They live on mushrooms, and are fairly docile when you get to know them. Like cats.)
A small band of sustainable farms struggle for survival, toiling long years to coax the ground back to fertility. Of course they have problems, like one guy liking this girl who likes this other guy who likes some other girl. And occasional raids from a giant slug named Louie.
That has a sort of potential, perhaps. But post-apocalypse seems a little obvious. What about utopia?
A thousand years of sustainable farming and organic co-ops have turned the Earth into a natural paradise. It’s a world where no one needs supplements. A green, fertile world, powered on wind and rain, where people, plants and predators live in harmony. Seventy percent of the world’s population has returned to the simplicity hunting-gathering. Even the world’s great cities have clean air and rich soil, havens for all kinds of living organisms.
Several lengthy, lyrical descriptive passages present this idyllic, sustainable world in all its beauty.
But there’s a growing discontent among some people. A dangerous fad emerges, creeping through academia and popular media. Return to the wisdom of the Ancients, they say. Use this combination of synthetic nitrogen and potassium to force-grow your tomatoes! Inject this hormone into your cows (or soybeans, your choice) to get more milk! Get power from atomic combustion!
The Guardians of Earth watch in horror as a chemical obsessed generation rejects sustainability. Soon people are clamoring for oil—drilled from the last great Rainforest, destroying seven thousand unique species and displacing sixty-four hundred cultural epicenters.
Only the Guardians know that the oil in the rainforest is explosive. The drilling will detonate the solar system.
And, oddly enough, the only person willing to do anything about this besides let the world burn (the Guardians are a bit jaded by now) is a six-year-old schoolgirl, named Stephanie, and her cat, Rider.
Better, but not perfect. Which isn’t what you want in a utopia.
So—conspiracy theories are always fun…
A thousand years in the future, there’s an idyllic, sustainable world much like the one described above. It also happens to be a socialist utopia, too, with everyone sharing everything in common, joined in brotherhood and sisterhood under the benevolent leadership of The Farm.
A deadbeat reporter named Gary, however, loses his way while covering the Annual Hog Weighing Ceremony at The Farm Central (modern day Nebraska). Instead of going to Hog Haven, he blunders into The Farmer’s Lounge (no, those aren’t bars—he’s on the clock), and discovers a horrifying secret: the sustainable movement has been hijacked by mutant rabbits.
The Lepi are direct decedents from animals used for testing in the Dark Ages of the twentieth century. Generations of further mutations have made them genius, embittered, and insane. Already, they’re secretly starting to introduce refined sugar to the world’s water supplies. They have established The Farm for one purpose: to annihilate life on earth.
Which, for them, will be no problem—if they start with Gary.
The only human aware of the truth, Gary flees across Europe from landmark to landmark in frenetic, hybrid chase scenes. The Farm has agents everywhere, and he has to kill them all before they kill him. Can he evade The Farm long enough to convince the lovely, blonde Elisa that he’s not mad, and that he’s really an attractive guy with a strong jaw line, even if he did use her as a human shield while running from masked gunmen?
Happy Earth Day, everyone. Choose your own adventure.