Unlike the Cyberpunk genre, I only heard of Solarpunk recently. The two seem to be in opposition, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. But first, as I’m probably not the only one who’s not all that up-to-date with modern literary movement, let’s explain:
What is the Solarpunk genre about?
Solarpunk is a literary and artistic movement that focuses on imagining a sustainable future in which nature and human communities functioned in harmony. It’s a sub-genre in science fiction and speculative fiction that offers a future vision focusing on ecological harmony, renewable energy, and sustainability. In the Solarpunk genre, technology coexists with nature, and people have developed creative solutions to environmental issues.
Solarpunk is a literary and artistic movement that focuses on imagining a sustainable future in which nature and human communities function in harmony. It’s a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction that offers a future vision focusing on ecological harmony, renewable energy, and sustainability. In the Solarpunk genre, technology coexists with nature, and people have developed creative solutions to environmental issues.
Solarpunk tales frequently depict vivid, rich worlds that include green spaces, rooftop gardens, and vertical farming. Sustainable and eco-friendly designs, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and green infrastructure, are common in architecture. Technology is frequently portrayed in Solarpunk narratives as a vehicle for environmental regeneration and societal advancement, with emphasis on technologies such as enhanced recycling systems, sustainable transportation, and decentralized energy networks.
The genre also delves into social and political issues, highlighting the significance of social justice, equality, and communal cooperation. Solarpunk frequently imagines a future in which communities collaborate to overcome systemic concerns such as climate change and economic inequality. It works to make society more inclusive and egalitarian, with a focus on different voices and cultures.
Overall, Solarpunk offers an optimistic and positive vision of the future, where humanity has found a way to live in harmony with nature and establish a sustainable and just world. It serves as a creative and inspiring response to the difficulties faced by climate change and environmental degradation, encouraging readers and artists to envision and work towards a better future.
Who Invented the Solarpunk genre?
The Solarpunk genre doesn’t have a singular creator. In fact, the word “Solarpunk” itself was invented by a group of online artists, authors, and activists who were investigating sustainable and hopeful views of the future. It was coined in 2008 in a blog post titled “From Steampunk to Solarpunk.”
After that, in 2009, Matt Staggs, a literary publicist who specializes in speculative fiction, published on his blog a “GreenPunk Manifesto” (not accessible nowadays). In it, he wrote:
GreenPunk: a technophilic spec-fic movement centered on characters using and being affected by the use of DIY renewable resources, recycling and repurposing. GreenPunk would emphasize the ability of the individual – and his or her responsibility – for positive ecological and social change.
Rejecting steampunk’s romanticism while embracing its focus on approachable, “knowable” technology (as opposed to the “black box” nature of digital tech), GreenPunk envisions a world in which the detritus of consumer culture as propogated by the Elite is appropriated and repurposed by the masses toward the reconstruction of a devastated ecology and the address of social ills.
However, the Solarpunk genre went beyond GreenPunk by embracing a visual component. In 2014, Adam Flynn published Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto, inspired by the work of artist Olivia Louise. Flynn’s writing served as a base for the article A Solarpunk Manifesto that cemented what Solarpunk is and must thrive to represent.
The Best Solarpunk Books To Discover the Genre
Being a young literary genre, older novels are introduced into the Solarpunk canon as new ones are written as part of it. This list is what I found when I started to research the subject, don’t hesitate to offer more reading suggestions in the comments.
“Island” by Aldous Huxley, 1962
- “The Word for World Is Forest” by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1972
- “Ecotopia” by Ernest Callenbach, 1979
- “The Summer Prince” by Alaya Dawn Johnson, 2013
- “Suncatcher: Seven Days in the Sky” by Alia Gee, 2014
- “New York 2140” by Kim Stanley Robinson, 2017
- “The Glass and Gardens Series” short story anthology edited by Sarena Ulibarri, 2018
- “Foxhunt” by Rem Wigmore, 2021
- “A Psalm for the Wild-Built” by Becky Chambers, 2021