Earthlings: The Beginning by Ray Star is the first book in the Earthlings young adult fantasy trilogy. This impassioned book is a siren call for animal rights and going vegan, and a classic example of how powerful stories can be in conveying an environmental message.
What is Earthlings about?
The story follows Peridot, a young elemental who is learning about the powers she holds in a world that her mother has tried to shield her from. Living on an island off the English coast, Peridot’s mother is also an elemental and has tried to protect her from a major event which has turned everything on its head. The event in question was ‘The Changing’, and after it had taken place, all the animals farmed by humans became the rulers. In turn they began to farm humans for food.
One day, a boy called Euan turns up on the island and this changes everything as Peridot is now at risk of finding out what her mother has hidden from her. When Peridot uses her magick one day, Euan is mistakenly transferred back to the farm from where he escaped. As such, it becomes Peridot’s goal to find him and his mother and bring them to safety.
Earthlings as an example of eco-fiction and cli-fi
I’ve written a fair bit about how powerful stories can be in conveying climate and environmental messages, with articles in The Bookseller and on Mongabay. It’s even been suggested that stories can be more powerful than statistics in communicating important information. As such, I believe that cli-fi and eco-fiction are two of the most important genres of the 21st century.
Earthlings specifically mentions the climate crisis (“We’re still experiencing the after-effects of something called climate change says Mum but it’s getting back to normal, and the weather changes will cease over time”), and references the world ruined by humanity. It also makes readers think about animal rights and the horrendous conditions animals endure on farms. We begin to inhabit such a world vicariously when we see how humans are treated on the same farms that were once used for animals.
As such, Ray Star has used fiction to convey very powerful messages that the world needs to heed not just to tackle the climate and ecological crises, but also to address how we treat animals in general. This is all wrapped up in a great YA fantasy novel, which not only became an Amazon bestseller, but has also won multiple awards including ‘Book of the Year 2021’ by Betty’s Bookstore, and the ‘Vegans Choice Award 2022’ at the Vegan Choice Awards. It also won the ‘Outstanding Environmental Achievement 2021’ at the Essex Business Awards.
Novels like Earthlings are desperately needed at this pivotal moment in human history. It delivers many important messages, yet makes for a unputdownable read, which is the perfect combination. The fact that it sits within the YA category is important, as it has the potential to influence how younger generations think and interact with the world. I hope that the messages contained in the Earthlings trilogy (book two is already available here, and book three is due out later in the year) travel far and wide, to help bring about the change that the world desperately needs.
My new cli-fi children’s picture book is Nanook and the Melting Arctic. Nanook is a caring polar bear who lives in the Arctic. But when his igloo starts melting, Nanook must find a way to save his friends and his home. He knows that the people who can help are also those who’ve caused the problem and he must find a way to convince leaders to act on the climate crisis. You can purchase Nanook from Amazon’s global stores including Amazon UK and Amazon US.