Our Climate, Ourselves...
I'm with the Bears was reviewed by Ben Kupstas in L Magazine:
These ten stories avoid the sort of didactic, righteous preaching that elsewhere grates. … any reader with an interest in environmental issues will appreciate these different angles on the most pressing of our many current crises.
Read the full review here.
Praise from Elizabeth Taylor, the Chicago Tribune's Literary Editor
Famed naturalist and writer John Muir (a founder of the Sierra Club) once observed that if it ever came down to a war between the races, he would side with the bears. That remark inspired the title of this compelling collection of short fiction concerned with climate change.
This collection is a jolt out of our armchairs, a call to arms, because scientific evidence has its limitations. The all-star array of fiction writers who have contributed to this book helps us feel what it would be like to live in a very different landscape. T.C. Boyle's disturbing story involves early eco-activists; David Mitchell imagines a world dramatically changed by oil prices; Nathaniel Rich has a darkly comic story about a crab and a marine biologist.
Together, these stories inspire both fear and hope about our environmental future. Of course, the other reason this little volume is so terrific is that the stories are written with verve and style. Feel good about the purchase: Royalties go to 350.org, a group working to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
I'm With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet has been picked as the Book of the Month by Dazed and Confused as
a devastating collection of short fiction that envisions the terrifying destruction ... in the face of climate change.
The reviewer highlights the "cumulative effect" of the "cautionary tales" included in the volume, which are "stimulating and frightening in equal measure." Special mention is made of the contributions by Margaret Atwood, Helen Simpson and David Mitchell, "masterly, genuinely nightmare inducing visions." The reviewer has no doubts: "This is a great collection of entertaining, nerve-racking, truly worthy art."
Pauline Masurel of The Short Review has reviewed I'm With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet, royalties from the sale of which will go to 350.org, an international grassroots movement working to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Bill McKibben has written the introduction to the collection and Masurel used his arrest while protesting against the tar sands pipeline to highlight the controversial issues raised by the stories in the collection. She opened her review by quoting him writing about the tar sands battle:
This is really, really important. Jim Hansen, the world's most important climatologist, has said that if we burn these tar sands in a big way it will be "essentially game over for the climate." That's worth reading again. The oil companies and the Koch Bros are willing to take a few years of big profits in return for cratering the planet's climate system.
In a warm and in-depth review, Masurel noted that the book "aims to show that fiction can speak as persuasively as fact in making the point about the wounds we are inflicting upon our own planet" and does so with "an impressive array of internationally-acclaimed authors". While wary of finding the content preachy, Masurel happily found "a lot of variety in tone and subject matter and the authors' approach to the topic."
On the tone of the stories, she went on to say that many of them have "a tinge of sadness despite the jokey style". Praising the humor of Toby Litt and Nathaniel Rich's contributions, Masurel commended the high impact of the stories by Helen Simpson and David Mitchell:
Helen Simpson's contribution is a diary account and possibly the most terrifying vision of societal breakdown to go with climate destruction. David Mitchell's The Siphoners is also a scarey vision of the future, featuring a story within a story, reminiscent of the complexity of his novel Cloud Atlas. But it also involves a sobering reflection upon the possibilities and implications of population control.