June 2021: Solarpunk Day

Solarpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that focuses on climate change and the environment, with varying degrees of optimism. What makes a good solarpunk story? And how can we use existing scientific advancements to inform our science fiction?

Join us for a two-part panel on solarpunk, where in the first hour we'll hear from a panel of scientists, activists, and experts on ways we can explore and utilise climate science, as well as aspirational projects and concepts we can look to for inspiration, followed by a panel of SF writers, anthologists, and translators who will give us tips on how to take that knowledge and form it into good fiction.

The event is spearheaded and moderated by our member, Steph Troeth:

Steph writes primarily science-fiction, and especially solarpunk. If she writes any fantasy—or indeed in any other genre—it tends to be a happy accident. An environmentalist and an open web activist for over a decade, she has been involved in solarpunk communities since 2018. Her poetic manifesto on climate change will be appearing as an exhibit in the upcoming University of Huddersfield’s Climate Action and Visual Culture digital exhibition. Her recent fiction has been published in Analogies & Allegories Literary Magazine, and will be appearing in Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls by World Weaver Press. She is a research specialist in human-technology interaction by day and spends her downtime growing edible flowers. 

Part 1: Exploring Solarpunk - 14:00-15:00 BST



The Commando Jugendstil is a solarpunk creative collective: we do projects in which we try to conjugate technology and art with the idea of transforming the city in its sustainable version. Simultaneously, our projects also focus on co-designing solutions with local communities, to stimulate a just transition that can spark from the ground up. Together with Tales From the EV we have published several pieces of fiction and essays, for example for the anthologies Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers, by World Weaver Press, or And Lately the Sun, by Calyx Group, and our members contributed in writing the Green New Deal for Europe. Additionally, we created solarpunk cover art for Revista MaMuT vol.6, Ecologia Politica vol.57, and a monograph on the just transition by Altreconomia. Our illustration The Floating Village has recently won a solarpunk contest organized by italian speculative fiction publisher Future Fiction. We are also trying to bring solarpunk praxis into real life with the projects Milano, Cartoline da un Futuro Possibile funded by the European Commission and Fondazione Cariplo and implemented by Punto.Sud, and The Town That Could Be, a time travel journal from Reading 2045, funded by Transition Bounce Forward and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Devine Lu Linvega (they/them)

Devine is doing technological resilience research aboard a sailboat, experimenting with various solarpunk ideas and trying to find real-world applications for them.

Lisa Garforth (she/her)

Lisa is a senior lecturer at Newcastle where she researches and teaches on social theory, utopian studies, environmental/Anthropocene futures, science fiction and social imaginaries. Her research asks: How can we live better with nature, and what would a good environmental future look and feel like? Her book Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature explores green futures in fiction, policy, public debate and the sociological imagination. More recently she has been looking at how readers use speculative fiction to navigate eco-social challenges and explore social alternatives. She is currently working on a book about what academic sociologists can learn from science fiction and its readers as we try to anticipate and  the social worlds of the Anthropocene.

Professor Thorunn Helgason (she/her)

Thorunn is Professor of Ecology in the Biology Department of the University of York. She gained her PhD from the University of Edinburgh, on the native Scottish Pinewoods, a habitat she still a very soft spot for, despite the fact it almost always rains whenever she is there. After 3 years working at the Natural History Museum, London, on tropical plant biodiversity, she moved to York in 1996, where her research has focussed on plants and microbes, the soils they live in (particularly agricultural), and how they respond to climate change and management practices. Beyond teaching, research and administration at York, she is the academic member on the Advisory Council of Ada Lovelace Day, and an elected Trustee of the British Ecological Society.

Part 2: Writing Solarpunk: 15:15-16:15 BST


Sarena Ulibarri (she/her)

Sarena Ulibarri is a graduate of the Clarion Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers' Workshop at UCSD, and earned an MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her fiction has appeared in magazines such as Lightspeed, DreamForge, and GigaNotoSaurus, and anthologies such as Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction in Extreme Futures and The Gamer Chronicles. She has edited two anthologies of optimistic climate fiction, titled Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers (2018) and Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters (2020), and also organized a solarpunk anthology in collaboration with the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature titled Multispecies Cities (2021). Find more at SarenaUlibarri.com.

Phoebe Wagner (she/her)

Phoebe Wagner holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University and is currently pursuing a PhD, studying environmental literature at University of Nevada, Reno. She's recently published fiction in Diabolical Plots, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and upcoming Aurelia Leo Originals. In 2017, Upper Rubber Boot Books published her co-edited anthology Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation, and she's under contract to co-edit another solarpunk book from West Virginia University Press. Currently, she blogs about speculative literature at the Hugo-finalist Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together. She can be found online at phoebe-wagner.com.

Fabio Fernandes (he/him)

Fabio Fernandes is a Brazilian writer based in Italy. He has published several books, among which the novels Os Dias da Peste and Back in the USSR (in Portuguese) and the collection L'Imitatore (in Italian). He translated several SF novels to Brazilian Portuguese, including Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and A Clockwork Orange. His short stories have been published online in Brazil, Portugal, Romania, the UK, New Zealand, and USA, and also in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, The Apex Book of World SF, Vol 2, Stories for Chip, American Monsters Vol.1. Co-edited (with Djibril al-Ayad) the postcon anthology We See a Different Frontier, and, with Francesco Verso, the anthology Solarpunk - Come ho imparato ad amare il futuro. Graduate of Clarion West, class of 2013. Formerly slush reader for Hugo Award-winner Clarkesworld Magazine.

Francesco Verso (he/him)

Francesco Verso is a multiple-award Science Fiction writer and editor. He has published: Antidoti umani, e-Doll, Nexhuman, Bloodbusters and I camminatori (made of The Pulldogs and No/Mad/Land). Nexhuman and Bloodbusters – translated in English by Sally McCorry – have been published in the US by Apex Books, in the UK by Luna press and in China for Bofeng. He also works as editor and publisher of Future Fiction, a multicultural project, dedicated to scouting and publishing the best World SF in translation from more than 25 countries and 11 languages with authors like Ian McDonald, Han Song, Ken Liu, Liu Cixin, Vandana Singh, Chen Qiufan, Xia Jia, and others. From 2019 he’s the Honorary Director of the Fishing Fortress SF Academy of Chongqing and literary agent of Future Wave, an agency specialized in import/export of copyright from/to China. He may be found at www.futurefiction.org.

Vida Cruz (she/her)

Vida Cruz is a Filipina fantasy and science fiction writer, editor, artist, tarot reader, and conrunner. Her short fiction has been published or is forthcoming from Strange Horizons, PodCastle, Expanded Horizons, and various anthologies. She has been nominated, longlisted, and recommended for the Hugo Award, the British Science Fiction Award, and the James Tiptree Jr. (now Otherwise) Award. She was a 2018 Tiptree Fellow and in 2019, she published her first fantasy short story collection, Beyond the Line of Trees. Currently, she’s a freelance book editor with The Darling Axe and is co-director of FiyahCon Fringe under the larger umbrella of FIYAHCON, a BIPOC-centered convention for science fiction and fantasy readers and writers.

For this event, we are operating a Pay-What-You-Can model: Spectrum members, please RSVP on MeetUp, and then head to our Ko-fi page where you can donate any amount towards compensating our speakers, or alternatively you can purchase a virtual 'ticket' via our Ko-fi shop for £5 or more.

For non-Spectrum members who are interested in attending but don't wish to join the group, please see our Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/158305663501