The global climate change and its consequences affect all of us, and it is a topic that I haven’t seen in the fiction world … until now. When I heard of Maja Lunde and her Climate Quartet I knew from the beginning that it is something I want to explore!
Maja Lunde, one of Norway’s most “prominent advocates for the climate cause“, set out on the mission to raise awareness about climate change through her books that combine past, present and future perspectives on natural elements of Earth.
We have science fiction, historical fiction … why not climate fiction? You guessed, it already exists! However it is a relatively new genre, defined as “literature of our planet in transformation” (Sparks, 2017) or “the climate change novel” (Irr, 2017).
From my point of view, climate fiction is an appealing way of bringing the topic of climate change closer to people and getting new voices to the table. Regarding the climate change aspect of her books, Maja Lunde said “My books enable me to talk about the big, important issues. They allow me to have a voice in the climate debate” (2019).
The Climate Quartet
The series consists of 4 books – the first three books are already published and translated in English, while the fourth book is still being written. Each book follows the same narrative structure with parallel storylines from the past, present, and future.
“[..] And from these thoughts, the idea of writing four, loosely connected books evolved, each one a stand-alone novel emphasizing specific, climate related themes: Insects, water, animals, and finally seeds and all things that grow.”
I. Insects – The History of Bees (2015)
The first book of the series raises a red flag about the declining bee population. The story has three narrative lines – each one pertains to a different time period (past, present, and future) and a different country (England, US, and China). What they have in common is the strong influence of bees and the parents-children focus.
If you are interested in reading more about The History of Bees, check my review post here.
II. Water – The End of the Ocean (2017)
We learn from a young age that water is one of the most important elements on Earth. So what would happen in case a devastating worldwide drought occurred? The second book of the Climate Quartet explores the water-less dystopia and the fight for survival.
If you are interested in reading more about The End of the Ocean, check my review post here.
III. Animals – The Last Wild Horses (2019)
When it comes to animals through the lens of climate change, Lunde chooses to focus on horses. Three eras are explored in relation with the Mongolian wild horse, the takhi. Among the questions that arise, the story illustrates how we have affected other species on Earth and whether is there still time for us to correct our mistakes.
If you are interested in reading more about The Last Wild Horses, check my review post here.
IV. Seeds – work in progress
The fourth book of the series is being written as we speak and it was initially scheduled to be published in the autumn of 2021. The overarching theme covers “plants, seeds and everything that grows“ (vg.no).
According to Lunde, the action takes place in 2110 and it is set in Svalbard, Norway, where the global seed bank is located (vg.no). Ah, it sounds intriguing already!
In a recent interview Maja Lunde said that she interrupted her research for the fourth novel of the Climate Quartet because she was deeply inspired to write about the newest global challenge – a pandemic that makes her main characters orphaned in the year 2110 (vg.no). So it might take her some time before completing the Climate Quartet series.
Have you read any fiction books about climate change? Which ones would you recommend?
‘Till next time … happy reading!