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The #SVYALit Project: The Specter of Rape in Not a Drop to Drink, a guest post by author Mindy McGinnis

A lot of people ask me about the specter of rape in NOT A DROP TO DRINK. While you’ll never find the actual word anywhere in the text, it hangs over the whole like a storm about to break. Lynn, Mother and Neva all express their fears in different ways, but each one of them is highly aware of the specific threats they face anytime they walk outside.


I’ve caught some flack for this, as well. Do I think that all men are simply waiting for the end of the world so that they can rape indiscriminately? Um, no. Stebbs, Eli, and even the man only referred to as Green Hat are good men who serve as counterpoints to the “bad guys” who wish to control the flow of goods – water, bullets, food… and women.  However, I think it’s very naive to paint a lawless world where some men don’t take advantage of women. In a place where your actions are held in check only by your own conscience there will be theft, murder and rape. 


Recently at a signing I had someone say to me, “It would be horrible to feel like you have to look over your shoulder every time you walk outside.” I definitely agree, but the statement stuck and I turned it over in my head as a I drove home. I look over my shoulder every time I walk outside right now. Maybe it’s hyper-awareness, maybe it’s all the self-defense classes, maybe it’s paranoia. Or – maybe it’s not. 
 
“Type of men who gather up seven of themselves to attack two women in the middle of the night generally won’t go back for dead friends.”
Mindy McGinnis, Not a Drop to Drink 


Maybe it’s just common sense.

If 60% of rapes are never reported and a whopping 97% of rapists never spend a day in jail, aren’t we already living in a world where this particular crime is dictated by a person’s conscience?
 
“Just know that there’s bad men in the world, and dying fast by your mother is a better way than theirs.”
Mindy McGinnis, Not a Drop to Drink 


It’s a frightening statistic, and one that makes the relationships between men and women in NOT A DROP TO DRINK even more realistic. Yet, even with this in mind I would not change anything about the book. Mother’s stark isolationism and mistrust is still unhealthy, and men like Stebbs and Eli still exist.

You just have to find them. And always, always be aware of the others.
 
About Not a Drop to Drink:
 
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

 
The companion novel In a Handful of Dust will be released September 23rd by Katherine Tegen Books:
 
The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier. 

 
For the next #SVYALit Project Google Hangout On Air, we’re going to look at what happens when the world falls apart: post apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. 

It’s the End of the World as We Know It, what we can learn about current issues surrounding sexual violence through dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction
Date:September 24th (Noon Eastern)
 
About Mindy McGinnis:  I’m a YA librarian and author, represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. My YA debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a survival tale set in a world with limited fresh water. I’m an avid blogger, posting six days a week to my personal blog, Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, which features interviews with agents, established authors, and debut authors. Learn how they landed their agents, what the submission process is really like, and how it feels when you see your cover for the first time. I also do query critiques every Saturday on the Saturday Slash for those who are brave enough to volunteer. 

What is CliFi? An Earth Day Primer

So I’m flipping through my February 2014 issue of VOYA Magazine and I see a head-shot of author Mindy McGinnis – what is she doing there I wonder? Her book, Not a Drop to Drink (I’m a fan), is mentioned as being an example of CliFi. Wait – what is this CliFi thing?

You know how we’re always making those displays of climate change induced dystopian fiction for Earth Day? Yeah that, it turns out, is CliFi. Climate Fiction.

According to the VOYA article written by Rebecca Hill, the term CliFi was popularized by Dan Bloom. CliFi is fiction that deals with climate change.

I had never heard this term, but it is perfect.

Last year, Christie put together THIS list of climate change dystopias. Turns out, they are CliFi.

And I put together THIS collection of Earth Day activities, inspired in part by 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment published by Zest Books. Earth Day is coming, a great time to introduce your patrons to CliFi.

And here are 5 2014 CliFi books out now or later this year:

Endangerd and Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Publisher’s Description: “As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.” See entire description at Goodreads. Published February 25, 2014 by Scholastic Press. ISBN: 9780545551434.

I have read Endangered and it was really very good. 

Sunrise, the final book in the Ashfall series by Mike Mullin

Publisher’s Description: “This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.” See entire description at Goodreads. Coming April 15, 2014 from Tanglewood Press. ISBN: 9781939100016.

 This is a really good series and I am looking forward to reading the conclusion.

Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

Publisher’s Description: “In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of “pharma.” See entire description at Goodreads Coming June 2014 from Black Sheep. ISBN: 9781617752766.

Survival ColonyNine by Joshua David Bellin

Publisher’s Description: “In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.

Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to–because heat, dust, and starvation aren’t the only threats in this ruined world.” See the entire description at Goodreads. Coming in September 2014 from Margaret K. McElderry Books. ISBN: 9781481403542.

Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
In a world where water is scarce, what would you do to protect what little water you have?

Publisher’s Description: “In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.” See entire description at Goodreads. Coming in September from Katherine Tegen Books. ISBN: 9780062198532.

Be sure to check out the VOYA Magazine article for further discussion of this emerging genre, some additional titles, and some nonfiction titles that may also be of interest. Hill, Rebecca. “Weathering the Change: CliFi Settles in for the Duration”. VOYA Magazine, February 2014, pages 44 and 45.

Dan Bloom, who coined the term CliFi, can be found on Twitter @polarcityman. There is also a CliFi hashtag (#CliFi). You can also follow @CliFiBooks, though these are not specifically YA books or visit their webpage at www.clifibooks.com. Cli-Fi Books explores climate change themes found in novels, prose, short stories, and other fiction. Earth Day is April 22, 2014.
Please share your favorite CliFi books with us in the comments.