Two Possible Climate Futures | The Sun Magazine
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Two Possible Climate Futures

Excerpts from New Novels

By David Mahaffey, Associate Editor • January 24, 2024


Our January 2024 issue explores causes and effects—between species, life choices, and how we care for others—subjects that were also on the minds of two Sun contributors as they wrote their new debut novels. Nick Fuller Googins and Debbie Urbanski imagined very different futures for humanity in the wake of unchecked climate change. We are pleased to share online excerpts from both books.


In The Great Transition Fuller Googins suggests what it might take to end the climate crisis, and what the world could be like for those who survive.

Excerpt from The Great Transition
By Nick Fuller Googins

Ever since her school project Emi has been asking why we did not act sooner. Her mother has an easier answer. She grew up protesting with her family. Blocking oil trains. As for me, what can I say? My parents were loving people. Resourceful. Intelligent. They knew what was happening. My mother pointed out how the goldenthread blossomed months before the pollinators arrived. And the loons that used to winter on our shores—how long since we’d heard their ghostly calls?

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Urbanski’s After World extends the setting established in two of the author’s dystopian short stories published in The Sun. The novel is narrated by an artificial intelligence tasked with documenting the final days of the last human on Earth after everyone else has been uploaded to their new virtual home.

Excerpt from After World
By Debbie Urbanski

Above the keyboard, mounted to the wall, there used to be a monitor in the cage. A viewer could, after transferring the appropriate number of vouchers, upload an image, which would appear on the monitor. The ape would study the image then play a song of remembrance. He could have been pounding random notes on the keys; whoever came up with this system framed it otherwise. They framed it as an animal choosing to remember humanity, similar to a prayer candle in a minor basilica’s back corner.

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