Review of Almanac for the Anthropocene by Phoebe Wager & Brontë Christopher Wieland

by Justine Norton-Kertson

Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland are known for firsts when it comes to solarpunk. Their short story anthology, Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, was the first work of self-described solarpunk fiction published in the English language. That book is still a must-read for anyone who interested in the solarpunk genre.

Now, Wagner and Wieland have gone and done it again. Their recently published, Almanac for the Anthropocene: A Compendium of Solarpunk Futures, is the first ever solarpunk nonfiction anthology.

The articles in this anthology are separated out into four sections that capture the spirit of solarpunk. The theme of the first section is “Generativity.” The Commando Jugendstil and Tales from the EV Studio write about solarpunk as overtly political genre, and the importance of keeping it that way. Margaret Killjoy talks about generating hope in a dystopian world. This opening section also has an article by Giulia Lepori and Michał Krawczyk on imagination, and the section closes out with survey of important solarpunk themes by Christoph D. D. Rupprecht.

Section two focuses on “Independence.” Wieland’s introduction to the section tackles topics like dual-power, food sovereignty, and ending the prison industrial complex. Gabriel Aliaga takes on issue effects of mining on the planet, and Navarre Bartz discusses solarpunk design principles. Kris De Decker teaches about building a solar powered website, and for those who love to travel, Craig Stevenson looks at ways to see the world without destroying it.

The anthology’s third section delves into the importance of “Community” to solarpunk. Wagner’s introduction talks about community organizing as a form of science fiction, while Petra Kuppers talks about science fiction, disability, and the value of genuine inclusion in solarpunk. Octavia Cade encourages us to expand our concept of community and breakdown the barriers between nature and urban environments, and Susan Haris writes about the unique relationship that undomesticated street dogs have with humans and human environments. Connor D. Louiselle closes out the section by talking about redefining our relationship with nature and whether it’s possible to end capitalism transform our society without the violence and damage to the planet that generally accompanies revolutions.

Finally, section four’s theme is “Ingenuity.” Wagner talks about the solarpunk DIY spirit, Sari Fordham discusses solarpunk and sustainable clothing, while Vance Mullis and Joy Lew write about planting and growing trees. Michael J. Deluca writes about food foraging, and Christoph D. D. Rupprecht, Aoi Yoshida, and Lihua Cui close out the anthology with a discussion on designing cities with more species than just humans in mind.

With their new anthology, Almanac for the Anthropocene, Wagner and Wieland continue to break new ground in the solarpunk genre. And like Sunvault, this new collection of work is sure to be a core piece of solarpunk’s standard reading curriculum.

Published by Solarpunk Magazine

Creating a new and better world through speculative literature.

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