The stories, written by authors from six different countries, explore climate chaos and its aftermath through a variety of genres and styles, from science fiction and fantasy to literary fiction and prose poetry. In his foreword, Robinson writes that the stories, which unfold in far-flung locales around the world, are linked together by grief in the face of imminent loss:
The mood of these stories, repeated again and again, is grief at the damage climate change is doing to some particular place and culture. The specificity in these stories, the deep knowledge they display as they describe the places and cultures being lost, make them acts of love. The love is expressed as a kind of paying attention, as the detailed articulation of 10 beloved places and cultures in imminent danger of being lost. If they aren’t lost yet, they are likely to be lost soon—so soon that even if our global civilization were to start immediately to do everything possible to slow, stop, or even reverse climate change, these most vulnerable places and cultures are probably doomed. They are walking dead—not zombies, but rather condemned prisoners of history and geography.