The Stone Wētā, Octavia Cade
Started reading this novella (133 pages or thereabouts) and really did, for the shortest time, wonder what on earth I'd started. THE STONE WĒTĀ isn't your normal enviro-thriller, oh boy is it not your normal enviro-thriller.
"With governments denying climate science, scientists from affected countries and organisations are forced to traffic data to ensure the preservation of research that could in turn preserve the world". From Antartica to the Chihuahuan Desert, to the International Space Station, a fragile network forms. A web of knowledge. Secret. But not secret enough."
A web made up of female scientists, all operating under a series of (once you work it out) clever pseudonyms, cooperating to try to save the data that is so vital to understanding the range and impacts of the climate crisis. An author with a PhD in Science Communication, Cade has developed a short, sharp, impactful thriller that maybe a few years ago would have been veering towards science fiction, but is definitely in urgent and immediate threat dystopian territory now.
The initial "what the" moment for this reader was all to do with direction, and understanding the premise - who these people are / why the pseudonyms / what's the mission here? Despite patches of circularity of storyline (after all, all the women here are involved in the same attempt), there was something utterly compelling about this story that just kept me reading. (And awake well into subsequent nights thinking about some of the points being made).
Balancing a careful line somewhere between a dark, bleak future, and hope and inspiration, this reader found THE STONE WĒTĀ utterly compelling.
“We talk about the tyranny of distance a lot in this country. That distance will not save us.”
With governments denying climate science, scientists from affected countries and organizations are forced to traffic data to ensure the preservation of research that could in turn preserve the world. From Antarctica, to the Chihuahuan Desert, to the International Space Station, a fragile network forms. A web of knowledge. Secret. But not secret enough.
When the cold war of data preservation turns bloody – and then explosive – an underground network of scientists, all working in isolation, must decide how much they are willing to risk for the truth. For themselves, their colleagues, and their future.
Murder on Antarctic ice. A university lecturer’s car, found abandoned on a desert road. And the first crewed mission to colonize Mars, isolated and vulnerable in the depths of space.
How far would you go to save the world?