The best climate fiction to give you hope for our lovely planet

Why am I passionate about this?

My day job is as a sustainability academic, so it’s hard to escape concern for our future and what we’re doing to our wonderful planet. I seek refuge in writing fiction. For me, if I can write the solutions, then maybe people will adopt them. But first and foremost, I love fiction as an escape, so I write and seek out books that make me happy and are filled with love and hope and exciting ideas to keep you turning the page. I also run the Green Stories project which hosts free writing competitions to help us imagine positive visions of a sustainable society.


I wrote...

Habitat Man

By Denise Baden,

Book cover of Habitat Man

What is my book about?

Tim is fifty, single and in a job he hates. Inspired by a life-coaching session, he sheds his old life to become Habitat Man, giving advice on how to turn gardens into habitats for wildlife. His first client is the lovely Lori. Tim is smitten, but first he has to win round Ethan her teenage son. Tim loves his new life until he digs up more than he bargained for, and uncovers a skeleton, one that threatens to bring out the skeletons in his cupboard too. Only Jo, Tim’s long-time best friend knows his secret, but can she be trusted? This is a lyrical nature-themed romance with a hint of cosy mystery that will make you laugh and inspire you at the same time.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of No More Fairy Tales: stories to Save our Planet

Denise Baden Why did I love this book?

I love this book because it shows how we can save our lovely planet.

Each story has climate solutions at its heart. Some are nature-based like planting sea grass. Some are technical, such as bringing water to the desert and carbon capture. Audacious solutions include refreezing the Arctic.

Several focus on our political economy like switching from the GDP to a wellbeing index or citizen assemblies to ensure climate-friendly decision-making. Some are incredibly innovative such as giving the Ocean nation-status.

Genres range from romance to action, family drama to whodunit. There are 24 stories so something for everyone and each story links to a webpage where you can find out how to make them happen. It’s also great value.  

By D.A. Baden (editor), Kim Stanley Robinson, Paolo Bacigalupi , Andrew Dana Hudson , Sara Foster , Martin Hastie , Nancy Lord , Brian Burt , Matthew Hanson-Kahn , Rasha Barrage

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No More Fairy Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of inspiring, funny, dark, mysterious, tragic, romantic, dramatic, upbeat and fantastical short stories.

These 24 stories are written by a variety of authors, with the aim to inspire readers with positive visions of what a sustainable society might look like and how we might get there.

The stories are diverse in style, ranging from whodunnits to sci-fi, romance to family drama, comedy to tragedy, and cover a range of solution types from high-tech to nature-based solutions, to more systemic aspects relating to our culture and political economy.


Book cover of Visco

Denise Baden Why did I love this book?

We may have visions of what a sustainable society might look like, but how could we possibly get there?

This story imagines a giant music festival which allows free access to those who need care and their carers and designs a care-based mini-society. But they love it so much, no one wants to go home when the music stops. So they don’t!

David Fell brings to this novel all the knowledge he has gained in his years working as a sustainability consultant, and packages it with engaging characters and an exciting plot.

By David Fell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Visco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jo Castle, Londoner and thirty-something firefighter, wants to save the world by being the opposite of Jack Reacher. She starts with care – care for her friends and family, care for community, care for the planet. Together with best friend Miranda, step-brother Mike and ex-boyfriend Robert, Jo turns a giant music festival on an island in the River Thames into the living city of Visco. Visco is a ‘carnival of care’, a radical experiment that challenges the very bedrock of capitalism. The story of its emergence, and how it overcomes the Establishment, is a ray of hope in dark times.


Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Denise Baden Why did I love this book?

There are few novels that show how we might get from where we are now to where we’d like to be, with a focus on climate change.

This is the only one I can think of that does this in a realistic way. KSR presents us with a plausible vision of what might be in store for us and the wins and losses and how we could just get through it. It’s a real tour de force, demonstrating a broad spectrum of knowledge and ideas.

I was especially intrigued by innovative solutions such as carbon-based currency. It also proposes that we can only be safe when everyone is safe, which covid also demonstrated perfectly. I liked that it was ended up optimistic focusing on solutions as much as problems. 

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
 
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…


Book cover of A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Denise Baden Why did I love this book?

Short and sweet. I don’t always enjoy climate fiction because it tends to be dystopian and often depressing.

However, this story presented a beautiful vision of our future. But it was not unrealistic - people are still people (apart from the robot who was my favourite character).

The hero is also going through their own midlife existential crisis which is resolved at the end - well as much as these things ever are. 

By Becky Chambers,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked A Psalm for the Wild-Built as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honour the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of 'what do people need?' is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They're going to need to ask it a lot.


Book cover of The Bees

Denise Baden Why did I love this book?

Absolutely loved it. I love books that help you to appreciate the world in a whole new way.

This is the best example of this because the story is told from the perspective of a bee. It’s a real page tuner and so imaginative. I also love her next book The Ice which is more of a thriller and also a tale of redemption. Definitely an author to watch. 

By Laline Paull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize for New Fiction 2015

Enter a whole new world, in this thrilling debut novel set entirely within a beehive.

Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.

But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly…


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Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

Book cover of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

K.R. Wilson Author Of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Reader History enthusiast Occasional composer Sometime chorister

K.R.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When King Priam's pregnant daughter was fleeing the sack of Troy, Stan was there. When Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crucified, Stan was there - one crossover. He’s been a Hittite warrior, a Silk Road mercenary, a reluctant rebel in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, and an information peddler in the cabarets of post-war Berlin. Stan doesn't die, and he doesn't know why. And now he's being investigated for a horrific crime.

As Stan tells his story, from his origins as an Anatolian sheep farmer to his custody in a Toronto police interview room, he brings a wry, anachronistic…

Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

What is this book about?

Long-listed for the 2022 Leacock Medal for Humour

When King Priam's pregnant daughter was fleeing the sack of Troy, Stan was there. When Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crucified, Stan was there - one cross over. Stan has been a Hittite warrior, a Roman legionnaire, a mercenary for the caravans of the Silk Road and a Great War German grunt. He’s been a toymaker in a time of plague, a reluctant rebel in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, and an information peddler in the cabarets of post-war Berlin. Stan doesn't die, and he doesn't know why. And now he's…


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