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We only have one Earth. The environment that surrounds us all is at threat, and we as humans need to act fast. This is common knowledge, but sadly there are many issues that are getting in the way of something we should all be working on. Climate change book Alien Places by Atul Kumar focuses on this.
***I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review***
“Atul Kumar and a mysterious alien visitor swiftly rename the planet as ‘Ocean’, then romp through 10 places around the world in a topsy-turvy, student-turns-teacher, philosophical learning adventure. Songs, quotes, films, fables and fun are strategies used by Atul and the alien to solve the environmental and existential challenges faced by humanity and wildlife on Ocean. Get ready to be plonked outside of the human echo chamber, as you discover new insights and clear solutions.”
(Taken from Amazon)
Alien Places is a really original book within the science and environment genre. It’s a climate change book with a difference, and that difference is a fictional alien that gradually poses solutions to our race’s over-tendencies to prioritise things we really shouldn’t, and let vested interests get in the way of what’s best for us long-term. It works really well, and I loved reading something so wildly different.
It’s actually a great concept, and perhaps more engaging for those that don’t know much about the environment, or don’t tend to read non-fiction books. Both fiction and non-fiction elements support each other, and Kumar’s easy, humorous writing style makes it such an enjoyable and entertaining read (despite the topic). It read as intelligent and comprehensive, yet not dry or overwhelming.
Although the humour ran through the entire book it gradually became more and more foreboding. There are three sections, with the final one so poignant and emotive that it left quite an impression on me. There is something quite dark about the way the book goes but it has to get its message across. Alien Places portrays a stark message to humanity in a way that should get its readers to listen. Climate change isn’t something we can um and ah about – we have to act now.
Despite the despair I felt around how bad the situation is, Kumar doesn’t leave his readers in a black hole of eco-anxiety. Far from it, as the book wraps up positively and contains so many things throughout that we can work on. The message is clear for the environment but I also took so many things from it – to think of society with our individual acts, and consider the benefits of what I do before I do it. I even learnt a new word, “ecocide”, which refers to extensive damage of the environment by a species that leads to their own demise (cheerful, I know, but it’s happening!).
As for the other aspects of the book, I mostly enjoyed how it been stylised and formatted. Kumar included not only the main text but also a series of songs and films that relate to his cause. He detailed these to show both the alien and the audience aspects of humanity that we should be aware of, and I loved this feature. I also love the cover, which is simple but works well. The only thing I didn’t like was the text layout. I would have liked better spacing between sections in chapters to split the bulk of text up. This isn’t something that put me off the book or gave me a negative reading experience though.
Even if you’re a climate change warrior then there’s still something to learn from Alien Places by Atul Kumar. If you’re far from it then it’s an essential read in my eyes. It’s a climate change book that’s a bit different, and will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Both descriptive and solution-focused, it’s a book we all need to read and understand if we want to move forward.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of Alien Places then you can do so here:
“I have 20 years of experience in the environmental sector, a MSc with distinction in Environmental Management, and a 1st class BA in Geography.
I work as a fundraising consultant for environmental charities, as well as being a writer, presenter, podcaster, campaigner, actor and voiceover artist.”
(Taken from author’s website)
Do you think that as a society as need to be viewing our problems from a different perspective? What do you think of Atul Kumar’s method within his book? Share you thoughts below, and make sure to like and pin! You can read some of my other non-fiction book reviews here: