Book of Joan image

Yuknavitch: “What’s always been so cool about science fiction writers is that they can take all our fears, intentions, and hopes, and dreams, and kind of pitch them forward into the imagination.”

That’s Lidia Yuknavitch, the author of a novel called The Book of Joan. It’s a dystopic retelling of the Joan of Arc story, set in the future. It encourages readers to consider the consequences of unchecked climate change.

Yuknavitch: “In that future, we have waged endless war, and we’ve used up all the earth’s resources – particularly fossil fuels – and we’ve chased an idea of existence that’s based on money and power.”

Instead of hearing the voice of God, the Joan character hears voices from the planet. She encourages the handful of survivors to redefine their relationship to the Earth.

Yuknavitch says the story asks readers to consider where we’re headed in real life.

Yuknavitch: “Storytelling opens the possibility for change back up, because if we can tell different stories to ourselves about where we could be in the future, rather than how we feel trapped by our present, I can’t think of anything more important than re-introducing hope into our present tense right now.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy (cropping from The Book of Joan book cover).

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...