Authors, artists explore solar futures in new anthology


Colorful illustration featuring two people facing each other under the sun

To begin to imagine the difficulties, joys and adventures of human life powered by an energy system dominated by solar, last week Arizona State University published “The Weight of Light,” a free digital book featuring science fiction stories, essays and art exploring a variety of possible solar futures.

The book features four original science fiction stories — three of which take place in possible future versions of Arizona, with a fourth unfolding in a revitalized and transformed Detroit — each illustrated by an artist from the Phoenix community. The stories are accompanied by essays written by ASU faculty and graduate students in a wide range of fields, from electrical and systems engineering to public policy and futures studies.

In the book’s introduction, editors Clark A. Miller (a senior sustainability scientist) and Joey Eschrich write, “Our goal is not to predict the future but to open it up as a design space. Our hope is that these stories, essays and artwork will stimulate and expand our imagination about what kinds of choices are possible in designing the future of solar-powered societies, and why those choices matter.”

In addition to Miller, several senior sustainability scientists contributed essays to the book: Stuart BowdenEdward FinnWesley HercheChristiana HonsbergDarshan Karwat and Lauren Withycombe Keeler.

“The Weight of Light” is free to download, read and share in several digital formats at the Center for Science and the Imagination website.

Top photo: Illustration for the story “Divided Light” by Kirsten Newkirk