Selected Writing



“Muri” (Radix Media’s “Futures: A Science Fiction Series)

“Muri is the rare story that perfectly encapsulates itself in metaphor and message. Suffused with dread, and hiding nothing of its consequences, Shelby still manages to pull the reader along, to lull them into the obvious lesson, only to reveal that the true moral is greater and more menacing than what has been imagined. Reading Muri is like being taught how to swim in the ocean, and to be fooled into thinking all you have to fear are the waves.”

—Eric Shonkwiler, author of Above All Men

Using Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno as backdrop, Shelby reimagines the classic tale of madness, isolation, and revolution for the modern age. With the detailed urgency that would appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood, Allegra Hyde, or Jeff VanderMeer, Shelby’s seminal work confronts head-on the myriad attitudes toward climate change and all the hope and despair at the very heart of ‘the Impact,’ tightly wrapped in brisk, energetic lyricism. Timely, accessible, and precise, this ticking time bomb of a story will wrack you from page one, and will leave you commandeering a line from the book to describe Shelby, herself: that she is the “Paul Revere of Impact,’ riding forward to warn you to wake the hell up before the lantern goes out.”

—Leah Angstman, editor-in-chief of Alternating Current Press and The Coil, and editor of Undeniable: Writers Respond to Climate Change

In this reimagining of Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, the polar bear population has dwindled, and the remaining pods have been relocated to the coast of Antarctica in an attempt to save them using a process called “assisted colonization.” The last pod of Baffin Bay bears has boarded the Precession icebreaker, captained by a man who is keenly aware that the previous crews on this run have gone mad.

Are the events that unfold on this sea journey the ravings of an addled mind, the symptoms of contagious hysteria? Or have the bears chosen to rise up to exert their own autonomy?

Available now exclusively from Radix Media or via my online shop above.

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Toward a New Climate Change Genre: First Impact Fiction (LitHub)

On July 12, 2017, the New York Times sent subscribers a push notification that read: “‘Maps will need to be redrawn”: a massive chunk of ice had broken away from Antarctica, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded...

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Indulge Your Climate Rage in Fantasy (Slate)

In 2010, I began work on a novel set in a time I was certain would be looked upon as one of the most embarrassing periods of the climate change “debate”: the George W. Bush era. The novel, set at South Pole Station and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, takes as its premise the residency of a denialist scientist at the world’s foremost climate research site...

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To the Poles--Before They Started Melting (NY Times Book Review)

At a press conference in 2008, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center Mark Serreze announced the Arctic was “in a death spiral.”At the time, this was dismissed as alarmist rhetoric by climate change deniers and even by his fellow scientists. Ten years later, as NOAA announces that the “Arctic shows no sign of returning to a reliably frozen region,” Serreze’s declaration has a documentary feel to it...


Climate Change Triptych (KYSO Flash)

Ever since First Impact, king tides had become gargling monsters, so getting out of Plaquemines at high tide was a little hairy...


LinkedIn Thought You Might Be Interested in this Post-Climate Impact Job: Environmental Migrant Management and Soil-Free Solutions (The Coil)

In June 2024, due to the nationalization of the Post-Climate Impact agriculture sector, LivingSystems, Inc., and Aeroponic Farm Cooperatives merged, creating a new company with a global presence...