For decades, science fiction writers have been drawn to the subject of ecology: the study of the interconnection between living beings and their environment. The T. rex of them all is of course “Dune.” Frank Herbert’s 1965 classic is epic in scope, yet intimately concerned with the compelling if imaginary ecology of the desert planet Arrakis. Several more novels followed, but “Dune” stands apart, an enduring classic of 20th century science fiction.
More recently, authors like Kim Stanley Robinson and Jeff VanderMeer have explored environmental matters gone wildly awry. VanderMeer’s “Area X” trilogy has been a runaway bestseller. Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Mars” trilogy is considered a cornerstone of modern science fiction, tracing the terraforming of Mars over centuries. In novels like “Forty Signs of Rain,” he tackled Earth’s own environment with great passion. Matt Bell’s “Appleseed” continues that tradition with a take on climate change over the next millennium. So, what other science fiction and speculative novels — old and new — have caught our attention?