Why read this book?

Because it relates to you, your life, your country, your planet.

Because it’ll make you …

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Because the story is based on truth, facts, real events, and you will enjoy learning about climate change – the biggest problem the civilised world has ever faced.

Because it’ll bring out the child in adults, and the adult in children.

Because you’ll be one of the first people to read what may be a new category of books[1]: climate change fiction for young adults.

Above all, because it will show that the short-sightedness and greed of some governments and some international companies cannot and will not stop the good people of the planet seeking, finding and implementing climate solutions that will save the world.

Or maybe it’s just, in the words of my son, “because my dad wrote it.” (28th Nov. 2016).

—–

“It is a simple fact that climate change has a much smaller presence in contemporary literary fiction than it does even in public discussion. As proof of this, we need only glance through the pages of literary journals and book reviews. When the subject of climate change occurs, it is almost always in relation to nonfiction; novels and short stories are very rarely to be glimpsed within this horizon. Indeed, it could even be said that fiction that deals with climate change is almost by definition not of the kind that is taken seriously: the mere mention of the subject is often enough to relegate a novel or a short story to the genre of science fiction. It is as though in the literary imagination climate change were somehow akin to extraterrestrials or interplanetary travel.

 There is something confounding about this peculiar feedback loop. It is very difficult, surely, to imagine a conception of seriousness that is blind to potentially life-changing threats. And if the urgency of a subject were indeed a criterion of its seriousness, then, considering what climate change actually portends for the future of the Earth, it should surely follow that this would be the principal preoccupation of writers the world over – and this, I think, is very far from being the case.” [1]

[1] Ghosh, A. (2016, October 28). Amitav Ghosh: where is the fiction about climate change? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/28/amitav-ghosh-where-is-the-fiction-about-climate-change-?

Characters and places

Lufianblid? Maluk? Where do these names come from?

I’m glad you asked… All the names of the places and characters have been carefully chosen.

You may have done your homework already, searching for the names on the Internet. However, not all of them will be easy to find, and it won’t be clear why I have chosen / created the names. Here is my reasoning for their selection.

The names reflect the locations of events in the book:

  • New Zealand
  • Alaska, Canada and the Arctic
  • Sweden
  • UK

Generally speaking, the names will therefore be:

  • Māori (New Zealand)
  • Yup’ik (S and W Alaska)
  • Inuit (N Alaska, N Canada and Greenland)
  • Swedish
  • British

However, there are two important exceptions to the above: the soft-toy world of Lufianblid and the human world of Felacynn.

The name ‘Lufianblid’ is a combination of Old English (lufian), meaning ‘love’, and Old Norse (blid), meaning ‘kind’ or ‘mother earth as a doctor’. As you will read in the story, the ‘d’ is not pronounced. The animals that live in Lufianblid are called ‘Lufians’. Their job in life is to safeguard the animal kingdom and to look after the humans, as the humans, it seems, are unable to look after themselves.

The animals refer to the human world as Felacynn. This name is a combination of two Old English words: ‘fela’, meaning ‘many’, and ‘cynn’, meaning ‘people’. Hence, Felacynn can be loosely interpreted as ‘many people’. Inhabitants of Felacynn are called Felacytes.

Fun with philosophy

When I was young, ‘philosophy’ was one of those many long and difficult words that I didn’t understand – only old funny-duddies used it. Now, I am a doctor of philosophy and the word has become my friend. So what changed?

I realised I liked learning.

This is the essence of philosophy. To some extent, we are all philosophers. As young children, we learn to shout, cry and scream to get a response from parents. We quickly learn what kind of noise gets the desired response. This is a type of wisdom: using new knowledge to reach a sensible goal. You see, you really don’t have to be an old funny-duddy to show a capacity for philosophy and wisdom!

In the toy world of Lufianblid, the animals learn to listen. They learn to think. They start asking questions.

In the human world of Felacynn, the humans think they have all the answers. They want to use their knowledge – and not always for the well-being of the world.

Which world do you think has the greater philosophers?

As you read the story, you’ll find yourself saying, “But why do they want to do that?”, and “Why doesn’t he just …?”

I won’t give you all the answers, because I want you to find them out for yourself. I’m sure if you read the whole book, you’ll be able to discuss possible answers with family and friends – and perhaps find out more on the Net.

Besides, if I gave you all the answers, you wouldn’t want to read the next Lufianblid book, would you?

So, have fun with philosophy: learn to love to learn!

I do hope you enjoy the story,

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P.S. Have a look at some of the quizzes. Ask your teacher if there’s time to discuss them.

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