The handful of stories in Brody’s collection clearly have an agenda of raising consciousness of and concern about the implications of climate change. Socially or politically motivated art is tricky: it can succeed in communicating its objectives without necessarily exhibiting the general hallmarks of literary merit. In literary terms, I found Hot Mess a mixed bag. These stores don’t always succeed for me even at the propaganda level: a world in which exposure to the sun literally brings instant death is so exaggerated that it almost seems to undercut the urgency of dealing with the real-world problem. The stories that worked best for me generally had a much narrower focus. Eric Sipple’s “She Says Goodbye Tomorrow” looks specifically at what climate change could mean for wine growers, and uses that as a lens to look at the difficulties of nurturing romantic relationships. Although I found its chronology a bit confusing, I thought it was generally successful. RJ Astruc’s “The World Gets Smaller, and Things Get Left Behind,” ponders the fate of Venice’s canals and art; it’s a bit heavy-handed, but I thought it was effective. The editor’s own “Haute Mess” is short and pointed satire about the point at which climate change could threaten our ability to remain a high-tech culture, and her “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom” examines a troubled child coping with repressed grief with the dubious aid of an artificial intelligence against a background of radical climate change. Both were among the strongest entries.