The Last Field On Earth

Illustration for article titled The Last Field On Earth

It's rare to find an eco-catastrophe story that strikes a note of hope (or that doesn't have explosions), but novelist Lydia Millet has done it in her short story "Alpha," which you can listen to free online.


It's the story of a plant biologist who flies into a remote northern area to research a new discovery: A field of grass. Perhaps the only one left on Earth. With just a few spare descriptions of ocean farms and arctic settlement, Millet manages to evoke a world that has been completely transformed both by climate change and overpopulation. And, like I said, it has a kind of bittersweet hopefulness to it that you rarely find in ecopocalypse fiction. It reminds me a bit of Douglas Coupland's new novel (which I'll be reviewing soon!), Generation A, which is also an oddly hopeful tale of a near-future ecological collapse.

You can listen to Martha Plimpton read Millet's roughly 5-minute story via Studio 360.

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Lydia was actually my creative writing teacher last year, and she is pretty dang awesome. Cool to see her featured like this!