Solar what? An Evolving Genre…

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S ButtonA discussion on the evolving definition of solarpunk

If you visit the tumblr site solarpunks.tumblr.com you’ll see bio-friendly pictures and read about the ideals of positive futurism. But it wasn’t so long ago that MormonMobster asked for feedback on “Figuring out ‘Solarpunk?'” on the website AbsoluteWrite.com (Dec 2010). A few people weighed in on the possible parameters of such a genre. He wasn’t alone. There were rumblings all over the web. Scientists and innovators weighed in on possible inventions and ideas. People were beginning to say we can do this. We have the technology. The inventions. The smarts. Solarpunk as a movement was just waiting for it’s time.

However when you look at how long it’s been around in comparison to other genres, solarpunk is still in it’s infancy. Which means it’s still being defined by it’s many contributors.

So what is solarpunk? We know this much. It’s an idealism, it’s a goal, and it’s a genre that focuses on clean energy, renewable resources, and living in harmony with nature. It’s a belief that we can. We can achieve clean energy. We can transition to ecologically sound practices. We can do this.

Morguefile photo by Shannontanski

Morguefile.com photo by Shannontanski

However, as a writer, I needed my own working definition, and on April 1st, 2015, Carbon Culture Review will be publishing an interview with me by Alyssa Watson in which I discuss some of the worldbuilding rules and the definitions I used in my novel Donor. I hope you’ll take the time to stop by and comment.

Also, please feel free to read my story on How I became a solarpunk writer. The page Worldbuilding and one writer’s working definition is a placeholder for articles I’ll be adding once the interview has been published.

So as you’ll read in that interview, not only was I hooked on this genre, but I knew that others like me had to be out there–others who were already writing and envisioning and thinking about this genre. As I mentioned in my interview with Watson, solarpunk is a natural reaction for those of us who refuse to believe the world’s going to burn up in flames. I figured, all I had to do was write and wait and see and eventually the noise would build.

At the same time, one of the things I did early on was obtain the domains Solarpunk.com and Solarpunk.org.

I wanted a space where like-minded solarpunk enthusiasts could share their ideas and hopes for this genre. I knew early on that solarpunk.com would be dedicated to the arts and literature of an energy clean world. And I’d hoped solarpunk.org would be a kid friendly, science-oriented sandbox where scientists and visionaries could come together and share their thoughts on current and future inventions and more.

Morguefile.com by hotblack

Morguefile.com by hotblack

Then I waited. Knowing you had to be out there. Optimists. Visionaries. Scientists. Writers. Artists. I knew I couldn’t be alone in this.

You know that jittery feeling of excitement you get in your stomach or maybe it’s a thousand sparks skittering through your nerve endings, making you want to do? Well, I sat on that. And sat. And sat. Okay, so I bugged my critique partners and my writing groups, who told me to focus on the story. And they were right, and I did.

Well, while I hunkered down in my writing cave, you exploded. You’re everywhere. And yeah, positive futurism rocks. (solarpunks.tumblr.com)

So here’s my question to you. We’ve got these two domains – solarpunk.com and solarpunk.org. What do you want to see done with them? What can we do to promote this genre and make it happen?

Why?

To paraphrase Thomas Kuhn (probably poorly)—our science limits our language and our language limits our science. However, art, particularly speculative fiction, is the exception limited only by our imagination and our perceived needs. And those needs are ever expanding, which sparks innovation, which feeds on ideas, which is the brainchild of speculative fiction. As a result, science fiction has this ability to push us culturally and scientifically. And quite frankly, we’re in a post-apocalyptic slump. We need a cultural shift. We need positive futurism.

In November of 2014, Jessica Z. of VestorLogic suggested an ezine for one site, and I threw back the possibility of a bulletin board for the other. But I’d like to hear from other solarpunk enthusiasts.

If you’re interested in volunteering to make this happen or want to receive an update as we move forward, use the subscribe forms following the poll. We’re going to need leaders and visionaries and idealists and artists and writers and you, whether or not you’re any or all of those things.

If you have an alternate idea for what could be done with the websites, leave a comment down below.

Oh! And mean people? Your comments will simply be deleted.

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