Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kim Stanley Robinson. Jason Farmer and PRX radio host Greg Dalton discuss cli-fi novels and movies in one-hour discussion in San Francisco (audiocast here)

Yes, Kim Stanley Robinson. Jason Farmer and PRX radio host Greg Dalton discuss cli-fi novels and movies in one-hour discussion in San Francisco (audiocast here). The event, sponsored by Climate One in San Francisco, took place in Febuary. It's now uploaded as a "live," recorded audiocast from that event here.

FIND IT AT ''most recent piece in this series:"

The Windy Camp Literaray Awards

Tuesday morning, Beinecke Library staff sat Yale et up a small, modestly-lit stage and 40 chairs upstairs to prepare for the announcement of this year’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize winners [aka ''The Windy Camp awards''].  The prizes award $150,000 to each of up to 9 writers — three in drama, three in nonfiction and three in fiction. Last year there were 8 winners.
Though this certainly makes for a noteworthy accolade, few people attended the ceremony. Almost all those who came worked at the Beinecke. University President Peter Salovey read a short speech: He named the winners, summarized their careers, thanked listeners and left. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes.
Despite the small reception in New Haven, the event attracted a much larger audience than could be contained in the Beinecke. Michael Kelleher, program director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, opened proceedings by saying, “We’re being watched all over the world live right now.” Indeed, the announcement was live-streamed over the Internet.
The ambitions of the Windham-Campbell Prize certainly merit global attention. It aims to reward writers in the English language from all over the world for demonstrating achievement or promise in their respective genres. In an interview with the News, Kelleher said, “For the first time, more than half the winners knew what Windham-Campbell was.” At the awards ceremony, he joked that he was happy that no one thought the phone call notifying them that they’d won was an online scam.
But in all seriousness, the vast scope of the award has attracted international attention, and though it was created only 3 three years ago, the Windham-Campbell Prize has quickly acquired significant prestige.
The ambitions of the Windham-Campbell Prize certainly merit global attention.
The prize was created by Donald Windham who, upon his death in 2010, left the majority of his estate to Yale in order to fund the Windham-Campbell Prizes. [He never went to Yale and he never even went to college.] Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the gay teenager Donald Windham [took a bus] to New York City soon after graduating high school to become a writer [and never looked back].
There, his career took off when he collaborated with Tennessee Williams on “You Touched Me!,” and he went on to become a critically acclaimed novelist.
Windham’s success never came easy. [The son of a wealthy Georgia family who left him an inheritance which he later parlayed through wise investments in a small fortune,] he never went to college, and as a young, financially struggling writer, he worked odd jobs in New York City. It is perhaps because of this difficulty that Windham wished to create a prize that would not only honor well-known authors with impressive bodies of work, but also — and perhaps more importantly — provide younger, less established writers with the financial opportunity to focus on their craft.
Eugene V. Kokot, co-executor of the Windham-Campbell estate, says he ensures that the selection committees choose winners that match Windham’s goals. “It was Donald’s intent to give someone the prize who would really benefit from money to aid [their] writing, without having to work a second job to make ends meet,” he said. In keeping with this mission, last year’s winners have expressed their gratitude for the prize, which has enabled them to stop looking for temp jobs and worrying about money, and to finally focus on establishing themselves among literati.
The newfound ease of the prizewinners is the result of a long and complicated process. Each year, Kelleher travels to a different part of the world to familiarize himself with the region’s literary circles. He then chooses 60 nominators — usually writers or academics — who will each choose one “established” writer and one “up-and-comer” to nominate for the prize. He cited the importance of having what he called a “saturation” of nominees from a particular part of the world, so that every year selectors can closely examine the literature of a given country, rather than annually comparing literature from all over the world.
Selection committees choose winners not based on a single masterpiece; instead, they look at the writers’ entire bodies of work. Judges on the committee then pick a book they think is indicative of the overall quality of an author’s work to send to a panel of jurists, who decide on the final winners. It’s a long process, and usually takes an entire year. In fact, Kelleher begins searching for new nominators the day after winners are announced.
This involved procedure yields promising results. “The proof that the selection process works is in the people who are selected,” said Richard Deming, an English professor at Yale who teaches the popular creative writing course Daily Themes. “By and large, they aren’t household names, but they have been very impressive.”
The names of the nominators are never made public, and nominees do not find out they’ve been nominated unless they win. The selection committees, also composed of anonymous members, work in seclusion throughout the process to determine the best nominees. Even after their term ends, previous judges cannot reveal their identities to the press.
“The process is anonymous because we wanted to avoid conflicts of interest,” Kokot said. “We want nominators to nominate purely on the basis of their review of authors who deserve a wider audience.”
This could explain the modest reception that accompanied the announcement of the winners; unlike prizes such as the Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award, there is little fanfare surrounding the selections. While other literary prizes have celebrity judges and long processes involving publicized longlists, short lists and finalists, the Windham-Campbell doesn’t make a show of its procedure. As J.D. McClatchy, editor of “The Yale Review,” puts it: “The Windham-Campbell has prestige, like the Bollingen, more than glamour, like the Pulitzer.”
McClatchy is not the only person to compare Windham-Campbell to more established prizes. Though the Windham-Campbell program is still in its infancy, members of the literary community have high hopes for its future. The prize was profiled in a Foreign Policy article about prestigious global literary awards, along with the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Award. Unlike these accolades, the Windham-Campbell does not allow almost-winners to benefit from being named finalists. However, Teju Cole, one of this year’s fiction winners, says he wouldn’t have wanted to know had he been a finalist. For him, the anonymity de-emphasizes the competitive nature of literary prizes. “Making art is not about rivalry,” he said.
Most commonly, interviewees compared Windham-Campbell either to the Macarthur Genius Award, as the decision processes are similar, or, perhaps more aptly, to Yale’s Bollingen Prize, which is essentially Windham-Campbell’s poetic counterpart.
The Bollingen Prize has awarded literary excellence ever since its inception in 1948, when Ezra Pound was the first winner. Also affiliated with the Beinecke, the Bollingen selects American poets who have published the best book of poetry in the two years preceding the prize’s announcement. It also takes into account lifetime achievement that the judges deem particularly impressive. Its goals, then, are somewhat different than those the Windham-Campbell — the Bollingen is not international, and is rarely given to a junior poet without a significant body of work.
Nancy Kuhl, curator of American Literature at the Beinecke and Program Director for the Bollingen Prize, thinks that, because of these different functions, the Bollingen and Windham-Campbell will mutually inform and enrich one another.
“The two prizes together highlight Yale’s deep investment in great literature,” she said. “This isn’t just a deep investment in research, but also in the creation of great works of art.”
The relationship between Yale and the prizes is, in a sense, symbiotic: The prize enhances Yale students’ experience of literature, and association with Yale lends the prize automatic prestige. Kuhl went on to explain how awards such as these impact students and aspiring writers who are considering entering the field: “When we give an award to a writer, we don’t know what’s going to arise from their imagination, or how that will spark the imaginations of others at a distance.”
The Windham-Campbell has already put significant effort into sparking young imaginations. Since its inception, the prize has maintained a partnership with Co-op Arts and Humanities High School in New Haven. Each year, six students concentrating in creative writing or theater coordinate a panel and workshop with one of the winners.
Lynda Blancato organizes the cooperation between the Beinecke and Co-op High School. “This program shows students that the prizewinners have very diverse paths to their careers as writers,” said Blancato. Even just meeting new people who aren’t from New Haven, she said, is exciting for students — so working with writers from all over the world was especially rewarding.
The high school’s affiliation with Windham-Campbell winners is, in a sense, indicative of the realization of Windham’s goals — for many writers, especially those from outside the U.S., local recognition in New Haven is the first step to recognition abroad. “I’m literally trying to bring these writers to the world,” Kelleher tells me. According to him, the Windham-Campbell Prize intends to bring acclaim to writers who deserve it and whose art should be appreciated by literary enthusiasts around the world.
That said, fame is not the ultimate goal of most writers. “I think making art is about having a voice — prizes are not the reason we do this work,” said Cole. (This was, of course, after saying that he was very happy to have received the Windham-Campbell this year.) “But any opportunity to develop that voice is very meaningful. Money is not the end in itself, but it allows the work to go on.”

''Cli-fi'' in the classroom: university classes on "cli-fi" proliferating worldwide

'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom .........(almost sounds like a refrain in a new pop song -- 'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom, 'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom, 'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom

I am hearing from more and more academics and professors who are TEACHING cli fi classes this year, last year and planning classes and courses on cli fi literature for 2016 and future years too. CLI-FI is really catching on in academia and in college classrooms! And this is good for cli fi novelists and short story writers and movie makers BECAUSE it means the meme is sprreading like wildfire and a new audience of students will be your r...eaders.

 JUST TODAY i received this email from a professor in western Massachusetts who with her colleagure is teaching a cli fi class this semester. ................................

SHE WRITES: ..................."NOTE: ''The final project of the class will
have students **write their own Cli-Fi short stories.***''

I found your name in a google search when I was trying to learn more about
the term ''cli-fi'' and when the genre was first identified, and I saw
the term in a Wikipedia article, and from there I
found your website and blog.

I and a colleague are teaching a college course in ''Cli-Fi'' at
our local Community College in western Massachuseets. Our college is very supportive
of interdisciplinary learning, allowing us to develop "Learning
Communities" combining two courses from two different disciplines.

course, titled "Cli Fi: Stories and Science from the Coming Climate
Apocalypse," combines Introduction to Literature and a lab science. We
meet with our students for 6 hours a week plus a 2 1/2 hour lab.

We are using the short story collection titled *I'm with the Bears*, edited
by Mark Martin. Our students will also be reading Paolo Bacigalupi's *Windup
Girl* and Elizabeth Kolbert's *The Sixth Extinction*. We plan to show the movie
*Avatar* and maybe *Snow Piercer*.

The final project of the class will
have students write their own Cli-Fi short stories.

We have had some great
class discussions so far.

When I saw your email address online in my Googling, I just thought I'd reach out and say hi and
thank you for identifying the genre that we have built
our course around. We will direct our students to your new website --

If you have any suggestions or resources to share with us, please do. By
the way, I went to Tufts University in Boston, too! I graduated in 1986.
Best regards,

With "cli-fi" classes now being taught at.....Unversity of Oregon (2014 and 2015), Temple University (2015) and over a dozen other colleges worldwide, from Australia to UK, and everywhere in between....COOL! ! .....i am compiling a list of those universities teaching cli fi classes now or planning to do so soon. So IF YOU HAVE spotted or heard of these new cli fi classes in your area of expertise OR if you are planning to teach one in the future, let me know here. I think things just got started with cli fi in the classroom in 2014, and the NY Times article by Richard Perez-Pene helped set the meme on fire. And i think i see a new TREND developing here and i intend to monitor it and archive it: SO SEND me any cli fi in the classroom sightings YOU HAVE SEEN or know about. One this thing gets started, there will be no stopping it in academic settings, and I can even foresee entire departments of literature and cinema devoted to cli fi in the future, with students getting their PHDs with theses written about the cli fi genre and meme. So this will last a long long time now, 100 years and more, and it just got started?

Send me your sightings!

And congrats to Stephanie LeMenager a pioneer in this genre in the classroom and PHD candidate Stephen Siperstein at UO and PHD candidate Ted Howell at Temple University and Elitzabeth and Steve in western Massachusetts and dozens of others doing this. IT HAS BEGUN!

''Cli-Fi'' News & Academic Links (mirror site)

Cli-Fi News & Academic Links:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Jason Steger in Australia on the rise of cli fi in Australian literature

JASON STEGER ''chicklit ladlit clitfic tartan noir''. ''Next cab off the rank would appear to be

Jason Steger in Australia on the rise of cli fi in Australian literature -   #clifi

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze writes, and he says it well!
27th February 2015

The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity.

It is quite clear that we have no carbon budget whatsoever. The account, far from being in surplus, is horrendously overdrawn. To claim we have a few decades of safely burning coal, oil and gas is an utter nonsense.
The IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published in their latest report, AR5, a set of 'Representative Concentration Pathways' (RCP's).
These RCP's (see graph, right) consist of four scenarios that project global temperature rises based on different quantities of greenhouse gas concentrations.
The scenarios are assumed to all be linked directly to emissions scenarios. The more carbon we emit then the hotter it gets. Currently humanity is on the worst case scenario of RCP 8.5 which takes us to 2°C warming by mid century and 4°C warming by the end of the century.
As Professor Schellnhuber, from Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK) said, "the difference between two and four degrees is human civilisation."
In 2009 the International Union of Forest Research Organisations delivered a report to the UN that stated that the natural carbon sink of trees could be lost at a 2.5°C temperature increase.
The ranges for RCP 4.5 and RCP 6 both take us over 2.5°C and any idea that we can survive when the tree sink flips from being a carbon sink to a carbon source is delusional.
Where does this leave us?
Of the four shown RCP's only one keeps us within the range that climate scientists regard as survivable. This is RCP 2.6 that has a projected temperature range of 0.9°C and 2.3°C.
Considering we are currently at 0.85°C above the preindustrial level of greenhouse gas concentrations, we are already entering the range and as Professor Martin Rees says: "I honestly would bet, sad though it is, that the annual CO2 emissions are going to rise year by year for at least the next 20 years and that will build up accumulative levels close to 500 parts per million."

The recent US / China agreement supports Rees's contentions. But even if Rees is wrong and we do manage to curtail our carbon emissions, a closer look at RCP 2.6 shows something much more disturbing.
In his image (see graph, right), IPCC SMP Expert Reviewer David Tattershall has inserted vertical red lines to mark the decades between years 2000 and 2100. Within this 21st Century range he has also highlighted a steep decline in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (shown by the steep declining thick red line).
It is interesting that concerted action for emissions reductions is timed to occur just beyond the date for the implementation of a supposed legally binding international agreement.
Stopping emissions does not reduce atmospheric carbon. The emissions to date are colossal and the warming effect is delayed by around 40 years. Therefore, even if we halt emissions, we know there is much more warming to come. That will also set off other positive feedbacks along the way that will amplify the warming further, stretching over centuries.
So how does the IPCC achieve these vast reductions in greenhouse gases?
If we look at the vertical red lines, at around 2025 the steep decline in atmospheric greenhouse gases begins. Accumulated emissions not only are reduced to zero in 2070 but actually go negative.
This chart shows that carbon is removed from the atmosphere in quantities of hundreds of billions of tonnes, for as far ahead as 2300 to sustain a temperature beneath 2°C.
What makes this idea of projected large-scale Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) even more perverse is the talk by policymakers of a "carbon budget". This refers to the amount of fossil fuel that can be burned before we are at risk of reaching a 2°C rise in global mean temperature.
It is quite clear that we have no carbon budget whatsoever. The account, far from being in surplus, is horrendously overdrawn. To claim we have a few decades of safely burning coal, oil and gas is an utter nonsense.
Sequestering billions of tonnes of carbon for centuries
If all of the above has not raised any alarm bells then perhaps it is time to consider the proposed methods for sucking the billions of tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere.
In February 2015 the National Research Council in the United States launched their two reports on "climate interventions". Dr Nutt concluded with this statement on CDR:
"Carbon Dioxide Removal strategies offer the potential to decrease carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere but they are limited right now by their slow response, by their inability to scale up and their high cost."
Dr Nutt's conclusion points to very important factor that we can elaborate on with a rare case of certainty. There is no proposed CDR technology that can be scaled up to suck billions of tonnes out of the Earth's atmosphere. It simply does not exist in the real world.
This is reiterated by Dr Hugh Hunt in the Department of Engineering, at the University of Cambridge, who points out:
"10 billion tonnes a year of carbon sequestration? We don't do anything on this planet on that scale. We don't manufacture food on that scale, we don't mine iron ore on that scale. We don't even produce coal, oil or gas on that scale. Iron ore is below a billion tonnes a year! How are we going to create a technology, from scratch, a highly complicated technology, to the tune of 10 billion tonnes a year in the next 10 years?"
Science fiction
It is not just that there are currently no ideas being researched to such a degree where they are likely to be able to bring down atmospheric carbon to a safe level of around 300 parts per million. It is also that the level of funding available to the scientists doing the research is woefully inadequate.
These RCP's are used by policymakers to decide what actions are required to sustain a safe climate for our own and future generations. The information they are using, presented by the IPCC, is nothing more than science fiction.
It makes for sober thinking when glossy images of President Obama and the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, are presented to the world shaking hands on global emissions reductions by 2030 that we know will commit us to catastrophe.

Nick Breeze is a film maker and writer on climate change and other environmental topics. He has been interviewing a range of experts relating to the field of climate change and science for over five years. These include interviews with Dr James Hansen, Professor Martin Rees, Professor James Lovelock, Dr Rowan Williams, Dr Natalia Shakhova, Dr Michael Mann, Dr Hugh Hunt, among others.
Additional articles can also be read on his blog Envisionation.

An Interview with UK-based Reporter Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

Questions (and answers)  to follow, for now in invisible ink)......