Guest judge David Zetland returns to see who has adapted and who has died: read about the results here...
18th August 2017
Several examples of an outside group looking back at the follies of man (the badgers in 2757 and grandson in 2754) were among this week’s stories. Overall, the entries varied in their approach to the prompt -- "Adapt or Die" -- but I was looking for variation in style and tone as a means of giving readers different insights on a simple phrase.
Two poems compared the adaption of one species adaption to the loss of another (2756) or fossil dinosaurs watching humans come their way (2750). I enjoyed the grand sweep of collapsing empires (2747) and the quiet struggle of a couple facing their own grey future (2753), but these stories -- as the others before mentioned -- were not as strong on the prompt as the three that I choose. (That said, I would like to invite them to my project -- see below.)
For adapt or die, I am looking for an emphasis on the cost of adapting, not in the (im)possibility of doing that, and the stories that brought this tension out best (to me) were the tale of recovering from an abusive relationship (2748) and a dialogue with an "unknown man" who takes the sinner on a walk into the light (2751). These evoked the will to carry forward and need to face the future, respectively, in a lovely way.
As the winner, I choose the story that showed a will to carry forward against loss and hopelessness. Elaine's pub (2749), set amidst a rising sea of abandoned villages, has just the right element of "muddling through," and that's why I gave it first prize.
I did not mention three other entries that were fun to read, but too far from my goal of bringing different perspectives to living in a world of climate change. Last year, I was pleased to receive many entries under the prompt Life Plus 2 Meters and publish many of them in Volume 1 of a book by the same name (you can download it for free here).
For this year -- and this prompt -- I am hoping that the authors whose entries I have mentioned by number will consider having their stories republished on the Life plus 2 meters website -- and almost certainly in Volume 2 of the Life Plus 2 Meters anthology.
The purpose of this project -- and the books that we're publishing -- is to collect many diverse perspectives on (non)adaptation as a means of helping people think about life in a climate-changed world. Although some of the entries I am inviting to this project are not directly focussed on climate change, I think that all of them can give readers a "feeling" for the discomfort, friction and regret that many of us will feel if -- or, rather when -- "our familiar environment" is replaced by a less comfortable, unfamiliar one. These stories might help people adapt more easily to that future.
So I thank all the writers and Hour of Writes for putting together yet another suite of really enjoyable writing.
About the Judge
David Zetland, PhD
Assistant professor of economics
Leiden University College