A unique new national publication out of Eugene? With editorial ties to New York, Lebanon, Germany, Canada, and New Zealand? Offering an array of original fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and illustration rooted in sci-fi visions sourced from across the globe? Enter Solarpunk Magazine. It’s a bi-monthly digital publication produced locally by Android Press. The ambitious launch issue splashed onto the web in January.
Haven’t heard the term “solarpunk” before? Well, you’re certainly not in a solitary corner of the galaxy. According to Solarpunk’s co-executive editor, Justine Norton-Kertson, the notion of solarpunk only breached the overarching language glossary a few years ago, through the Tumblr social media platform. More recently, the term has found greater reach via more conventional media attention from the BBC, The Guardian, and Time.
So what does solarpunk represent?
“There is no solarpunk manifesto,” assert Norton-Kertson and co-editor Brianna Castagnozzi in an open letter to readers of the magazine’s first issue. “Solarpunk lives in and changes within its communities, poetry, science, and time. Its major tenets preside on the erasure of bigotry and inequality and the creation of harmony between nature, technology, and humanity. Beyond that, solarpunk is as diverse as the cultures of our planet.”
Solarpunk Magazine offers utopian fiction, eco-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction perspectives. It offers views of urban culture change, technological development, and social evolution. It channels views on climate change and environmentalism. And it gives voice to BIPOC, queer, disabled, ethnic, and other marginalized cultural sentiments — doing so with humor, speculation, and artistry.
But why Eugene? There are several factors. “Eugene,” Norton-Kertson says, “has a long history of environmentalism. But ecology is not all there is to it. There are tech elements to it. That fits for this community. And the hippie feel fits, too, as well as our local spirit of rebellion. One of the big hallmarks of solarpunk is characters, protagonists from marginalized communities looking at how to build a better world from their marginalized perspective. Eugene shares much of solarpunk’s positive optimistic outlook. That’s so important!”