Member News: New Release – The Fragile Blue Dot by Ross West

While we careen ever further into a period of vastly disruptive environmental change, politicians and policymakers will guide the world through these daunting challenges in one way or another, for better or for worse. The fifteen stories in The Fragile Blue Dot don’t concern themselves with policy or politics; instead, they explore more personal dimensions of lives lived in an age of catastrophe: the struggles we will face as individuals, the painful choices we will be confronted with and unable to avoid, the compromises and rationalizations we will make, the values we will try to hold onto, the courage will we muster.

In “Chrysalis,” for example, an engineer building a solar power generation facility discovers that clean energy production will eradicate an endangered species of butterfly. In “The Real Manhattan” an ambitious young journalist uncovers the duplicity of a climate change crusader and must choose between supporting a laudable cause and furthering her own career. In “All by Herself” divorced parents with shared custody of a teenage daughter grapple with the girl’s obsession to become the American version of Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

Nearly all of the collected stories are previously published; one, “Smoke, Fire, Ashes,” appears in the current issue of Clackamas Literary Review.

West’s fiction, essays, journalism, and poetry have appeared in publications from Orion to the Journal of Recreational Linguistics. His work has been anthologized in Best Essays Northwest, Best of Dark Horse Presents, and elsewhere. He wrote and edited the University of Oregon’s research magazine, Inquiry; served as senior managing editor of Oregon Quarterly; and was text editor for the Atlas of Oregon and both editions of the Atlas of Yellowstone.

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