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I'm With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet Paperback – October 1, 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“These are the jolts we dearly need; this is a serious business we’re involved in.”—Bill McKibben, from the introduction

“10 authors at the top of their game, tackling the most pressing issue of our generation.”—New Internationalist

“The stories dazzle the reader with their imaginative range and depth.”—Independent

“The line-up of mostly British and North American talent is impressive—TC Boyle, Toby Litt, David Mitchell—and while they sometimes bash you around the head with a blunt instrument (Nathaniel Rich), the best are fierce and fearless, including Helen Simpson’s acerbic, apocalyptic Diary Of An Interesting Year”—Metro

“All the writing in this volume is excellent”—Kate Saunders, The Times (Saturday Review)

“The high point for me was Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Tamarisk Hunter ... More than any other story in the collection, it makes climate change feel real.”—Michael Marshall, New Scientist

“A wonderful idea.”—John Harding, Daily Mail

“About what might happen if our worst nightmares come true.”—William Leith, Evening Standard

“Compelling ... these stories inspire both fear and hope. The other reason this little volume is so terrific is that the stories are written with verve and style.”—Elizabeth Taylor, Literary Editor, Chicago Tribune

“These ten stories avoid the sort of didactic, righteous preaching that elsewhere grates ... any reader with an interest in environmental issues will appreciate these different angles on the most pressing of our many current crises.”—Ben Kupstas, The L Magazine

“It’s not what you think—some sort of enviro agitprop. These are literary artists responding to our situation head-on, as artists, and with striking results.”—Wen Stephenson, The Boston Globe

About the Author

Bill McKibben is the author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, among other titles; he is the founder of 350.org, which in 2010 organized what CNN called “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.”

Margaret Atwood is a Booker Prize–winning poet and author of many acclaimed novels, including The Blind Assassin and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Paolo Bacigalupi is the author of the sci-fi novel The Wind-Up Girl, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards.

T. C. Boyle has a long list of books to his credit, including the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning novel World’s End and The Road to Wellville. His latest novel is When the Killing’s Done.

Toby Litt has written nine novels and two short story collections; in 2003 he was chosen as one of Granta’s twenty Best British Novelists Under Forty.

The author of the New York Times Notable Book Ghost Lights and eight other works of fiction, Lydia Millet has won the PEN-USA Award and been a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

David Mitchell has been twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize; his novels include Cloud Atlas and most recently The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Nathaniel Rich is the author of The Mayor’s Tongue and Odds Against Tomorrow.

Kim Stanley Robinson is the Hugo and Nebula prize–winning author of the Mars Trilogy and a trilogy of novels about climate change that go under the title Science in the Capital.

Helen Simpson is a prize-winning short story writer and novelist; in 1993, she was selected as one of Granta’s twenty Best British Novelists Under Forty.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844677443
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844677443
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Although some of the money from this book is going to fight climate change, there is not a single story about climate change being stopped. I suppose that would be too implausible. Instead the stories are arranged to form a bleak narrative in which we first fail to prevent climate catastrophe, and then we suffer from it, and then (with a few exceptions) we fail to recover.

I thought there were a lot of boring bits and preachy bits, but also some great stuff. My favorites are the four in the middle of the book: "Hermie" is a gut punch of a story about a hermit crab who was a boy's imaginary friend, and reappears years later to seek his help. "Diary of an Interesting Year" is a very well written story of a woman surviving horrible times. "Newromancer" is the most alive story in the book, about young people having forbidden fun under a decrepit police state that justifies itself with ecology. And "The Siphoners" combines a story of the future with an ancient folk tale, both about the culling of old people. "Arzestula" is uneven, but I appreciate its optimism, and it should have gone at the end of the book.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of short stories, each addressing climate change in some way, is depressing, as another reviewer said. I can't imagine what that reader was hoping for, but yes, the devastation of our environment and our relationship with the natural world is a bit of a bummer, yes.
That said, these stories ranged from the utterly bleak ( T.C. Boyle's The Siskiyou was very disturbing) to the absolutely haunting (Lydia Millet's Zoogoing- I've read it 3 times, and it is still echoing in my mind) to looks at what water deals taking place now might mean for the American Southwest (in Paolo Bacigalupi's stunning The Tamarisk Hunter).
These stories all have a common theme, but the incredible slate of authors each use their own inimitable voices, and the chorus of them together is powerful.
Wonderful.
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Format: Paperback
I went on a five-day backpacking trip, so I finally bought a Kindle. This has been my only book purchase so far. The first story was OK; T.C. Boyle has never written a bad story. The next three were so-so. Then I got to David Mitchell. Ah, I said. This will be good! It was...but after page five, text went missing. Whether one page or five pages were missing is hard to tell with this guy. Amazon gave me my money back. Y'know, we neo-Luddites have this superstition that we have some sort of magnetic field that screws with electronics. Anybody else missing pages?
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Format: Kindle Edition
All the stories have to do with nature or the environment in some way. Some are set in the "now" and some in the future and deal with our relationship to it or how we coexist in it after its gone to rot. Not all stories are created equal as I preferred some over others but that may simply be a matter of preference.
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