The Inland Sea, Madelaine Watts

Australian Women Writers Gen 5-SFF Week 15-22 Jan. 2023

Naomi, Consumed by Ink, from Canada’s Atlantic coast doesn’t get a lot of contemporary Australian books to choose from, but she saw this reviewed by Kim/Reading Matters and was motivated to obtain a copy for herself. Naomi says that this was not as ‘SFF’ as she expected, but it occurs to me that just over the course of this ‘generation’ Cli.Fi has gone from futuristic to the present we must confront and that new fiction must necessarily take account of that.


Naomi, Consumed by Ink

The Inland Sea is a coming-of-age story in the ‘age of anxiety’ and climate crisis. After graduating college, a young woman (the unnamed narrator) feels at loose ends, and–with the idea of saving up some money and getting away–she takes a job as an emergency dispatch operator. She assures friends and family that she’s up for the job, but as we get more information about her past–growing up with divorced parents and a fearful mother–we get the feeling that this is not the job for her. Read on…

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10 thoughts on “The Inland Sea, Madelaine Watts

  1. Yea, I’d describe this genre as near-future speculative fiction. I’m currently reading The Hush by Sara Foster for your Gen 5 week which is of the same ilk… ie set in the very near future. Unfortunately I probably won’t review it in time for your week… but maybe get it posted at the tail end of next …

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  2. I’m impressed by how many new books are being found, read, reviewed that fit this week’s theme. I think it demonstrates that Gen 5 is definitely looking ahead (or maybe Gen 6 is, and Gen 5 finished in say 2015).

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  3. As you know Bill, SF is not my preferred genre and, on reflection, the books that I am most likely to read in this category belong to the Cli-Fi category. I was reminded of the specificity of this category when I read your intro to Naomi’s post, which in turn reminded me of Kate Mildenhall’s The Mother Fault (which I think fits the category). At the time of reading that novel, I described the sub-genre of dystopian fiction that it might fit as ‘it-could-happen-within-a-decade-dsytopian-and-that’s-why-it’s-terrifying’ – ‘Cli-Fi’ is neater!

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    • I always enjoy these ‘weeks’, firstly because they force me to justify myself with some lit.theory, and then because the discussions always takes the theory further (and sometimes in different directions). I think here we are seeing writers focus on just how close we are to climate catastrophe, which I at least in my SF theorizing, had drifted away from.

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  4. I really enjoy the near future speculative fiction genre, which is often focused on the climate crisis, but also on viruses and plagues. It’s the too-close-to-real-life aspect of it that I like. Scarier than something more far-fetched.
    Thanks for hosting, Bill! 🙂

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