Title: The Past is Red
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Release Date: 20/7/21
I received a free eARC copy from Tor.Com Publishing ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The future is blue. Endless blue…except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown.
Tetley Abednego is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she’s the only one who knows it. She’s the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it’s full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time.
But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.
This novella contains two short stories from the same universe and following the same main character. The first is the previously published "The Future is Blue" and the second is the titular "The Past is Red"
I really enjoy Valente’s writing. She has such a surrealism to her worldbuilding. These stories have such inventive world building that creates such distinctive imagery. The story lines of both stories linked up through Tetley, the main character, one focusing one her childhood and one on her adult journey. I found that The Future is Blue is a lot more focused on the world building, which I really enjoyed. I especially loved all the different areas of Garbagetown and all the little nods and reference to the world before – St Oscar the Grouch being my favourite. The Future is Red for me had a lot stronger plot, there was a lot more interaction with Tetley and other characters, there was a lot more discovery in what had happened to cause Garbagetown to form and I found it to be the more thought provoking of the two.
I will say this is definitely not a read for you if you don’t like swearing. There are a plethora of inventive uses for various expletives used frequently through out both stories. Overall these are interesting and entertaining stories of a post climate change apocalyptic world.