Helen Stringer – US

Paradigm……The United States is long dead, basic resources are getting scarcer, and no one on Earth has seen the stars [in years]. Vast tracts of the country are now empty as people huddle together for safety……

That’s the back-of-the-young-adult-science-fiction-book description of Helen Stringer’s Paradigm.

“If you like Doctor Who, and science fiction that is fast moving with a sense of humor, you’ll love my book.”

She describes it  as an adventure story:

“It’s the tale of a teenager alone in a hostile world, who survives on his wits in post-collapse America, until a visit to the walled Century City results in a split-second decision that changes everything. On the run for his life, Sam must survive corporate shock troops, young marauders who grow no older than 18, designer drugs, and romance in a violent wasteland, all set to the guttural roar of his pavement pounding ’68 Pontiac GTO.”

It came as a surprise to her that Paradigm was being used to teach science. She found out from a teacher who conveyed that her students were so excited about the world of ‘Paradigm’ that the teacher decided to use it as a tool to introduce them to the implications of climate change.

Some educators love the idea of using fiction to introduce students to the concept of climate change. It can create a synergy between information, education and entertainment and increase the involvement and interest of students in subjects that they might not be drawn to otherwise.

It’s also gotten the approval of experts in the field, like Dr. Ken Caldeira of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institute of Science, who assesses that it is critical that teens be exposed to the science of climate change since it will shape their future. A book like ‘Paradigm’ engages them emotionally and Caldeira sees it also exposing them to science.

Praise isn’t just coming from department heads and educators, but also from parents.

As one parent of a “Paradigm” fan remarked, “I highly recommend parents read this book with their kids, before their kids, or after their kids … simply because it can generate so many great dinner table discussions and is so relateable to current events happening right now.”

When the author describes how she approached writing Paradigm, she said that she departed from the usual ‘what if?’ that starts many science fiction stories. She began with ‘what if nobody does anything?’ and ‘what if we all continue to pretend that the Earth will just sort itself out?’.

Here’s a teaser:

It would be safe to say that one of her inspirations was her father, Dr. John Stringer, of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, California, who was a very prominent scientist who worked in the field of energy research. He was also involved in string theory, carbon sequestration, and nanotechnology and wrote books about chaos theory as it related to energy. She describes her father sending her articles from his scientific journals to show the impact through studies that our behavior has had on various aspects of our environment.

I love reading about writers who use fiction to explore climate change and important social issues that they want to consider and craft into stories. Readers get a chance to think about the issues and also consider it from a different perspective. If that’s a way to explore scientific facts of our times, then let the fiction fly off the shelves. Tons of books have been written about the sun and moon that were fictionally-based, that didn’t refute the existence of either.

Stringer likes to tell stories that are fast-paced, entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s unfortunate to her that her book has become less sci-fi given the way people want to ignore the role we play in both the problem and solution.

Sources: PRWeb, World News Network, Houston Chronicle, Indie Authorland




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