cover image Arboreality


Rebecca Campbell. Stelliform, $14.99 trade paper (126p) ISBN 978-1-77768-232-3

In a series of six interconnected speculative shorts, Campbell (The Paradise Engine) offers a bittersweet elegy to contemporary life that segues neatly into speculation about the impact of the coming climate crisis on Vancouver Island. The opening tale, “Special Collections,” offers both an impassioned defense of the humanities and a through line for the other stories: the books that English professor Jude and librarian Berenice preserve from a collapsing university library offer means of survival, points of connection, and moments of hope for characters in subsequent stories. Another recurring subplot is the construction of a violin from secretly scavenged materials transported to and from Vancouver Island. Campbell doesn’t shy away from the worst possibilities of apocalyptic ecological collapse, especially when it comes to pandemics, failing healthcare systems, and humanity’s inability to preserve or recreate its current mode of life after sea levels rise, but offers a surprisingly hopeful and joyful vision of the future, of “lives lived in the branches and among the leaves” of arbutus trees grown into living furniture and buildings. This compassionate cli-fi mosaic is sure to please genre fans. (Sept.)