This is a story of tensions. The characters, in one way or another, are acting out a debate for the future of Earth. Should they give up? Or keep trying to secure prosperity for people and planet? How can one be a good person, and what measurements can determine the truth?
Reading these chapters will place you in another sort of tension. Is Planet B a novel? A newsletter? A multimedia artwork? It evolved out my practice in visual art, where I have played with science fiction as a method of public engagement and futurism. As you read, you will encounter advertisements, websites, memes, and posts from within the world of the story. But you will also find links of climate studies and current events in our real world. Meddling with fact and fiction is a heavier burden than when I started working with fictive artwork twelve years ago. But I still think it’s worth confusing our sense of what’s real, and letting imagination seep into our endless information feeds.
I also consider myself a designer, and have worked to construct a novel reading experience appropriate for the future we live in right now. That meant integrating graphic design and web development into the writing process early on — something that most authors are not equipped to do by themselves — so if nothing else, Planet B is a “total artwork” for the terminally online. If you don’t read novels as much as you’d like to, or if you need a ten minute content fix in between meetings, this story is for you.
But popular culture is always in tension with ambitious ideas, whether they are artistic or political, so I hope this story also inspires conversation alongside the pleasures of escaping a warming world.
About the Author
Thanks to Graham Barnett and Nicole Squyres for reading and sharpening the story. And to the Pennsylvania State University for supporting this project.
Chapters are set in Bespoke Serif. This website was built with Eleventy and the newsletter is powered by Buttondown.
Original illustrations and designs are by the author. The charts featured in chapter illustrations come from recent climate reports by the IPCC.