My story “On Darwin Tides” is a finalist in the 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest

Really proud and pleased that my story On Darwin Tides  has been selected as one of the twelve finalists in the 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest run by Arizona State University. The grand prize winner will be announced in September when the anthology containing all of the winning works is made available.

I entered the contest because I am passionate about the environment and about the need for climate change action and because I believe that the field of near-future science fiction has an important role to play in depicting the future as it might be, good or bad, that the global community might hopefully be inspired to steer this worldship of ours toward something that is sustainable, healthy and equitable for all. I also entered the contest because it was being judged by one of my all time science fiction heroes, Kim Stanley Robinson, and by experts in the sustainability, conservation, geology, climate modeling, climate politics, human geography, and environmental history fields. That such luminaries could judge my work accurate (and boy did I research the heck out of my chosen topic) and well-written enough to honour in this way makes me happier than you can imagine.


New Story up at The Worcester Journal – Photo of a Tiger

The Worcester Journal has just published its summer edition of short stories, reviews, memoirs and cultural insights and I am proud to say that my flash fiction piece Photo of a Tiger has been included in the lineup.

This story was written well before the recent, untimely death of the silverback gorilla, Harambe, at the Cincinnati Zoo; however the very public and controversial passing of that endangered animal did once again bring to the forefront of public discourse the role zoos play in the preservation of endangered species, which is the central theme of my story.

At what point does a species preserved in a zoo environment become so generationally imprinted upon man and so accustomed to captive life and divested of the learned behaviours essential for wilderness survival that it ceases to be a wild animal at all?

At what point does such an animal cease to be of value for species survival and, instead, become merely a component of the human entertainment industry?  

I don’t necessarily dislike zoos. They serve as a means to connect the human heart to the plight of the nature, that those who care might want to save it. And they preserve those species that can be brought back from the brink, that they might one day repopulate the wild places set aside for them. Where zoos become problematic is when they become living museums of otherwise extinct animals; when they serve as little more than storage bays for species whose wilderness has long been turned to crop and plantation and buried beneath the waters of hydroelectric dams with no intention of it ever being returned to its natural state. When this happens, zoos become sad and morbid places and the animals pacing the cages within, with no memory of their culture and what it is to hunt and run free, little more than shameful reminders of what man has stolen from the Earth.

The latter, I fear, will be the ultimate plight of the tiger.