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Permie themed Science Fiction / fantasy  RSS feed

 
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Location: Colorado~ Front Range~ Zone 4/Wheaton Labs
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I thought of Dune first thing after reading the thread topic! As far as I can recall, Frank Herbert based those ideas off of a real-world ecological restoration project on coastal dunes up in the Pacific North West.

Rick Bass springs to mind as my favorite ecology/conservation writer. Although his fiction isn't necessarily "fantasy," it is so passionate and has such an attention to detail that all of his stories come off as somewhat magical. In my opinion he walks the margin between realism and fantasy.

Most of his stories are grounded in human kinds blundering and sometimes graceful interactions with their environment.

Some good short story collections are:

"The Lives of Rocks"
"The Sky, The Stars, The Wilderness"
"In the Loyal Mountains"

Even though it's not as relevant to the topic, I'd like to happily add that, as a grown guy, just the introduction to Rick Bass's non-fiction "The Book of Yaak" made me cry.
Since it's sittin' near by I'll quote:
"We need wilderness to protect us from ourselves. We need wilderness to buffer this dark lost-gyroscopic tumble that democracy, top-heavy with big business and leaning precariously over rot, has entered. We're an adolescent country, a tough, macho, posturing Madison Avenue sleek-jawed Marlboro Man's caricature of strength. We need the strength of lilies, ferns, mosses, and mayflies. We need the masculinity of ponds and rivers, the femininity of stone, the wisdom of quietness, if not silence."
 
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Unmentioned so far is author (and seed-saver) Will Bonsall's _Through the Eyes of a Stranger_, I heartily recommend it. Set in a future post-collapse world, it contrasts two societies, one based on something like Vegan Permaculture and another that hasn't conserved soil, etc. so well, but that hopes to dominate others. And that's just the backdrop. It's a pretty gripping tale.
ISBN:978-1-4415-4564-0 You can order it from Xlibris, where it's printed on demand, at 1-800-795-4275, or XLibris.com
It's the first of a series called "The Yaro Tales". There's a website: yarotales.com that has more on the book, and there are some reviews at goodreads.com


 
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Wow I feel like I've found a little home, right here on this thread. I'm also doing some writing with environmental/permaculture concepts woven in, and it's nice to find some kindred spirits. Great ideas too, with the druids and the future and the plants and all.
 
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Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series has some permaculture, namely medicine and herbs, wild crafting. A historical novel where the author's main female Claire travels 200 years back in time, a nurse during WWII. The following is quoted from Diana Gabaldon's site "The Outlander Series's
The OUTLANDER series started by accident, when I decided to write a novel for practice, in order to:

Learn what it took to write a novel, and
To decide whether I really wanted to do that for real.
I did, and I did—and here we all are, still trying to figure out what the heck you call books that nobody can describe, but that fortunately most people seem to enjoy.

In essence, these novels are Big, Fat, Historical Fiction, à la James Clavell and James Michener. However, owing to the fact that I wrote the first book for practice, didn’t intend to show it to anyone, and therefore saw no reason to limit myself, they include…

history, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soul…

you know, the usual stuff of literature.


I don’t like to do things I’ve already done, so (in spite of the fact that this is a series, and does involve the same central characters throughout) each book is unique in structure, tone, approach, and theme. The books can be read independently of each other (I can’t be sure that people seeing the newest one on a bookstore table will realize that it’s part of a series, so the books are (with minor exceptions) engineered to stand alone)mdash; but if you have a choice, I’d strongly recommend beginning at the beginning, with OUTLANDER, and reading through the story in order of publication (I’d say “in chronological order,” but that isn’t necessarily a useful term when you’re playing fast and loose with time, which I not infrequently do):

Outlander, which is published as Cross Stitch in the U.K.
Dragonfly In Amber
Voyager
Drums of Autumn
The Fiery Cross
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
An Echo In The Bone
Written In My Own Heart’s Blood: Nicknamed “MOBY,” the new eighth book in the series has a publication release date of June 10, 2014!" Unquote.........
If it wasn't for being able to download these off YouTube I would never made it through 5 of these books. I haven't got to the hero and heroine's death yet.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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I want to strongly recommend Station Eleven. It is the best doomer book I've read, or at least the most literary. Hmm, well, it rivals Oryx and Crake anyway. Oryx and Crake may be a little much for some, but if you want to get someone thinking about collapse who might be overwhelmed by Atwood, then have them read Station Eleven. I've got my book club reading it this month and I'm curious how the collapse conversation goes.

There isn't anything directly related to permaculture in the book, just some interesting speculation on how some items become repurposed in a post collapse world like airplanes being used for dehydrators.
 
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Location: Trapper Creek, AK (3a)
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I'll have to add Margaret Atwood and Kim Stanley Robinson to my reading list.

I really enjoyed The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. I don't remember there being anything permaculture related in the book, but I thought it would be interesting if a book in the same universe had some stuff take place in a permaculture "phyle". I was thinking of writing a speculative fiction book that was something like The Diamond Age, but with a little less nanotech and more permaculture and something like Georgist economics. I don't think I will because it would probably end up being too derivative of The Diamond Age.

I've never written a novel, so the following is just speculation on my part:
It seems like it would be hard to write a book that contained a lot of permaculture that would be appealing to the average reader. Including permaculture stuff in some elements of the setting or a few comments by characters would excite permies while still being entertaining, but going into deep detail about a guild or series of swales would probably leave normal people bored and confused.

I don't know if there is a term for this technique, but you know how some author's will include a quote at the beginning of a chapter that is somehow relevant to the rest of the chapter? I've always kind of liked that. A person could maybe work in quotes from Mollison, Holmgren, etc. Some quotes about design principles for sustainable agriculture* on Earth might work in an allegorical way for social conflict on a space station. If the quote was good enough, non-permies might be interested in looking it up and the author might infect more brains. I bet it would take a talented author to make that work, I don't think I could pull it off.
*Of course there is more to permaculture than sustainable agriculture

A different tack might just to throw the idea of a broader audience out the window and target permies specifically. I'm pretty optimistic about humanity's future, and I really don't want any sort of disaster to befall us, but I still love me some apocalypse porn.

The better written post-apocalyptic stuff is usually extremely divorced form reality (I still like it), and doesn't go into much detail about things survivalists are interested in to keep the broader audience interested. Also, most of the authors of the good stuff probably aren't survivalists and realism often doesn't make for good fiction. On the other hand, fiction for survivalists by survivalists is one of my guilty pleasures. It is usually written by amateur authors, and some of it is truly atrocious. It frequently goes into what most would consider far too much detail on things like firearms, solar power and food preservation. It is also somewhat more realistic, but usually still pretty divorced from reality IMO. This makes for a book that most people would find confusing and boring, but the authors don't care what normals think, they know what their audience wants.

I think we could use some permaculture fiction in a similar vein. Amateur novels for permies by permies. Go ahead and spend a whole chapter talking about all the interactions between plants in someone's back yard, or on what to plant on the side of a dam. Such novels wouldn't end up being on the NYT best sellers list, but might actually end up being pretty successful. A few survivalist authors have been able to make a living writing for a niche market.

Another area of fiction to explore might be in video games. When the G.E.C.K. gets released for Fallout 4 maybe I'll try my hand at making a mod for it. Some crazy old cook of a ghoul sends the Lone Survivor out on quests to help him regenerate part of The Commonwealth's extremely degenerated landscape using permaculture.
 
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Location: New Hampshire
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Tyler Miller wrote:
I really enjoyed The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. I don't remember there being anything permaculture related in the book, but I thought it would be interesting if a book in the same universe had some stuff take place in a permaculture "phyle". I was thinking of writing a speculative fiction book that was something like The Diamond Age, but with a little less nanotech and more permaculture and something like Georgist economics. I don't think I will because it would probably end up being too derivative of The Diamond Age.



All that nanotech was just part of the setting, and wasn't really integral to the story itself IMHO. I think you have a good idea for a story setting there, and I think you should go for it.

Another thought: what about an alternate history novel? (Harry Turtledove comes to mind.) Imagine if instead of relying on tariffs for revenue the new United States had instead enacted a Georgist land value tax. That alone might have prevented the Civil War, or at least drastically changed its timeline and other factors.

As an aside, I learned about Georgism by reinventing it myself. I was thinking about rights, and thought about how it is impossible to trace most land back to the original Lockean owner as well as how Locke's proviso is BS. I realized that when someone owns land they are denying everyone else the right to use that land, so shouldn't they owe everyone else rent (of a sort) for it? I figured that if they were to pay every generation the value of the land, and each generation is roughly twenty years, then each year they should pay 5% of the value of the land. If 1% went to local/town government, 1% went to county, 1% to state, 1% to nation, and the other 1% went to a guaranteed minimum redistribution; how would that work? Of course, once I did all the work of writing this up in a big document and showed a friend they said "Oh, that's Henry George's stuff".

[I have since then moved on from that idea but it is interesting to think about.]

On that alternate history tack, I'd love to see Paul write some about HUSP. Maybe co-write a book with a professional novelist.

I've also thought about HUSLE (Horticulture of the United States of Leif Erikson) - what if the Vikings stayed in the new world? I imagine that the Vikings would have interacted with the natives more, trading techniques instead of just assuming that European horticulture is superior and mostly ignoring native knowledge.
 
Brian Cady
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Ron Helwig wrote: I figured that if they were to pay every generation the value of the land, and each generation is roughly twenty years, then each year they should pay 5% of the value of the land. If 1% went to local/town government, 1% went to county, 1% to state, 1% to nation, and the other 1% went to a guaranteed minimum redistribution; how would that work? Of course, once I did all the work of writing this up in a big document and showed a friend they said "Oh, that's Henry George's stuff".

Neat thoughts, Ron, Thanks,

 
Tyler Miller
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Ron Helwig wrote:Another thought: what about an alternate history novel? (Harry Turtledove comes to mind.) Imagine if instead of relying on tariffs for revenue the new United States had instead enacted a Georgist land value tax. That alone might have prevented the Civil War, or at least drastically changed its timeline and other factors.


Ron Helwig wrote:On that alternate history tack, I'd love to see Paul write some about HUSP. Maybe co-write a book with a professional novelist.

I've also thought about HUSLE (Horticulture of the United States of Leif Erikson) - what if the Vikings stayed in the new world? I imagine that the Vikings would have interacted with the natives more, trading techniques instead of just assuming that European horticulture is superior and mostly ignoring native knowledge.


I like those ideas, and I'd definitely be interested in reading stories like that.

I've been listening to a lecture series on "Viking" history recently. I'm not that knowledgeable on the subject, but based on the lecture series it sounds like they could be more tolerant and open minded in some ways than most other European groups of the time. Of course, they still carried out acts of horrific violence.
 
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Hi! I think this is an important thread with a lot of interesting ideas. It looks like a permaculture fantasy writer's club may be in order. Or does it already exist? I'd love to join it if so

I worked for a few years as a sci-fi / fantasy ghostwriter with many clients who gave me quite a lot of creative control and I often wove permaculture-related themes into my stories. It would be great to get into it again, with no clients, as part of a permaculture writing group.

I have a question about Frank Herbert: in my copy of the first 'Dune' book, it says he set up some kind of centre in the USA to demonstrate and/or experiment with the rainwater harvesting techniques he mentions in the novel. However, a google search did not find said centre.

Does anyone know the name of the place he set up, if it still exists, or any more information about it?

'Permaculture' is about encouraging evolution of culture so the more stories we tell about it, especially effective ones, the more it can flourish.
 
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Definitely coaxing seeds of a graphic novel exploration of how genetic engineering has changed our eco-scape over a century plus...

Also I have a deep fear of birds evolving back into dinosaurs to take advantage of an abundant food source (you guessed it... us!)

I seventh a writers group. Kind of like the subreddit for Writers Prompts
 
Mike Feddersen
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Been awhile since I was here.
Admittedly, sustainability would be a tough focus for a book. But maybe if it was filled with the boring information needed for survival off the grid, it could find a place on our bookshelves.
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I love listening to audiobooks, Andy Weir's, "The Martian' was a great listen. Stranded on Mars, a astronaut has to dig into one creative idea after another. Growing potatoes to survive that were initially intended for a Thanksgiving meal.
You listen to it here:  

 
master steward
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One of my friends knows the author of this book, and recommended it. I got it for Christmas, and I had no idea until I started reading that it would have so many permaculture principles in it! https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Biodome-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01KBAL1JM/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

Legacy (The Biodome Chronicles series) by Jesikah Sundin


Basic summary: The book takes place around 2050. In 2030ish, a biodome was made in California to see if people could physiologically survive living in an enclosed environment for 20 years. This was to find out if a Mars colony could survive for 20 years without outside inputs of either resources or people. It was filled with medieval reenactors/LARPers (Live Action Role Players), and their children were raised knowing only medieval life, in the thought that the structured, agricultural society would hold people together. One of the people is written as being a permacultualist having graduated from Alderleaf Wilderness College, and there's a lot of permaculture  being utilized to keep the biodome functioning without exterior inputs.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book and just ordered the next two books written in the series. I love sci-fi. I love fantasy. And I love permaculture, and this book has them all! And, it even takes place in the Pacific Northwest.
 
master pollinator
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There are two series I like by S.M. Stirling called "Island in the Sea of Time" and "The Emberverse" series.

The first is more industrial, but I like it better than the second one, which starts out more permie but then gets lost down a mystical rabbit hole of nonsense..

In the first series, the population of the island of Nantucket and a WWII-era sailing ship manned by a coast guard crew, are sent back to the classical era (think Agamemnon and the River Peoples, and the Babylonian Empire before the Assyrians, and before the Medes and Persians). They are left with what knowledge they have and can glean from technical manuals, and otherwise are left with the trappings of modern society without the industrial infrastructure to support it. So they have to create a new civilisation out of the ashes of the old just to survive.

The Emberverse series deals with what happens to the world left behind after Nantucket is sent away, when an unexplained phenomenon suddenly makes all high-powered physics too anemic to do anything. Electricity, pneumatics, internal combustion engines, even steam engines don't work properly. All the toys are taken away, and 90% of the Earth's population dies horribly. From There, various groups of survivors form societies around different leaders and try to recreate civilisation with whatever they can.

-CK
 
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:I don't know if this is specifically permaculture fiction but the Margaret Atwood Maddadam trilogy could possibly fit into this category. It is sort of an eco-apocalyptic dystopia/utopia series. There is also a group of people called God's gardeners who are basically cultish environmentally friendly people who make an eco-friendly lifestyle into a religion. It is SUPER interesting. Atwood resists calling it science fiction though, and instead calls it "speculative fiction" because all of the stuff she writes about that seems to be absurd futuristic events, are somewhat already in the works. Has anyone else read this trilogy?



I know this thread is older but I’m sooooo glad someone mentioned the Maddadam trilogy. Book two especially. I loved The Gardeners. Such a heavy book, but very good.
 
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