Nature Future Conditional

The story behind the story: The memory of trees

Lynette Mejía makes her Futures debut this week with her story The memory of trees. You can keep up to date with her work at her website or by following her on Twitter. Here Lynette reveals the origins of her latest tale — as ever it pays to read the story first to avoid the spoilers.

Writing The memory of trees

The memory of trees was written as part of a flash-fiction contest through a writer’s group I belong to. I don’t generally win these little contests, but I always get great feedback on improving any story I submit, so I try to enter as many as possible.

This story arose from my thinking about the role of art in science fiction. Many stories about the future focus solely on where technology will take us in the coming decades and centuries, but I wanted to think about what function art might serve in the future world I was imagining, a world that, having been completely destroyed, was focused almost solely on survival. What effect would the absence of the natural world have on our collective psyche, and could art, in some way, function to fill that void?

To me, the beauty of art is twofold: first, it is a representation of the world that has been filtered through human experience, and is therefore both unique and universal; and second, it functions on a cathartic level, allowing us to bear emotional trauma that might otherwise break us. I don’t believe the future, however it turns out, will be devoid of art; and in fact, I don’t believe it can be. The memory of trees is my take on that idea.


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