The View from the Soap Box #1

It’s been way too long since I did something different with this blog, so I’m about to inaugurate a new segment: not so much interviewing a guest, as inviting them to splash their opinions about like they own the damn place.

The reason for this platform generosity on my part is the help celebrate the project that I’ve been helming this year: ECOTONES, an anthology of ecological fantasy and science fiction that features a mixture of up-and-coming and established authors, in particular Ken Liu, Lauren Beukes and Tobias S. Buckell. The ebook will be published on December 15th but is Kickstarting right now — it was even “staff picked”, so it must be good!

Our less high-profile contributors have been participating in a blog tour, discussing the project and what motivated them to take part — and I’m about to let arguably the most adversarial of the whole bunch let rip right here! You might call it the…


with Igor Ljubuncic


ECOTONESor How I Learned to
Stop Worrying and Love the CO2

As a regular participant and lurker over at, when I glimpsed the name of this year’s anthology contest, I had a moment of black glee explode in my heart. Ecotones. For most people, the definition thereof is quite boring:

“An ecotone is a transition area between two biomes. It is where two communities meet and integrate. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland ecosystems).” ~ Wikipedia

For me, the meaning was a little different.


Ecological topics are a big thing nowadays. They have a social and moral dimension, and they appeal to our basic human need to do good. As a physicist, my approach is one of skepticism. Whatever the subject of discussion, my initial response is to doubt the claims – politely of course – until presented with overwhelming evidence.

This meant I had a golden opportunity to express my own view on the current eco-affairs through a sci-fi story. Controversy it is then. The idea came to me instantly. Almost like an epiphany. The theme of the anthology had decided it for me. It transformed into a message. One word, a whole world.

Even before I could put things into writing, the plot was unraveling in my head, vivid, wild images. Words can have an onomatopoeic meaning, but this was almost uncanny. And I knew I had to give the story a green spin. Naturally, I had to include global warming, too.

I didn’t want to be obvious, I didn’t want to be silly. I wanted my story to have a message that revolves around core, fundamental human needs. After all, that is what a good story is all about. The scenery is there to give it a bit of flash, and help expose those qualities we want to see in our protagonists. So I thought what could be the most ridiculous yet genuine plot device that would make the story compelling?

Well, today, everything revolves around CO2. But then, where do you take it? To the extreme. That’s the only way to write. You have to be passionate about it.

Make CO2 into a religion. A social religion. Fast forward our society a few centuries, and hyperbole into a reality that is so extreme and alien and utterly illogical. Quite the opposite of what we have today. We are governed by passion, by emotions, so the future Dystopia is all about cold reason and mathematical odds.

But in the end, we are humans. You can’t deny our emotions.

An emotional conflict. That’s what every good story must have. There. We nailed it.

Whether my story succeeds in this mission, well, you’ll have to read it and let me know.

Igor, over and out.

© 2015 Igor Ljubuncic


Follow those two links, I dare you. You might call that a copyright notice, I call it protection.

Want to read Igor’s controversial story? Want 13 other great, ecotonal stories courtesy of writers from around the globe? Then look no further than our Kickstarter campaign! We’re almost 80% funded, and we’ve just six days left to reach our target. Ecotones will be published in December, but if you back us now you can get discounted copies along with other great ebook bundles.

Not only that, but we’re holding a small prize draw with this blog tour. Post a link to this post on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #Ecotones, then come back here to let us know you did, and you can win a $10 Amazon gift card. Fancy! The winner will be contacted via the email address used to comment, and the result will be announced on December 2nd, 2015.

If you are curious, why not check out what other contributors have to say on this Ecotour:

You can also read up a little about our project at the following places:


4 thoughts on “The View from the Soap Box #1

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