Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Meet CLI FI GUY. When he graduated from college, Tufts 1971, he had no idea where he was heading but he always knew he was heading SOMEWHERE. As a writer, he tried his hand at writing a novel, submitted it to a publisher in New York and waited for a response. Two years later, they said sorry. CLI FI GUY did not give up his dream to make a difference, to do something in life that would have an impact on other people, not just a job to make money and become famous, or boost his career opportunities, no. CLI FI GUY was headed somewhere but he just didn't know where for sure. So he headed out to Italy, Mexico, the USSR, Iran, Israel, Greece and France. He went to Alaska for 12 years, too. Nome, Alaska, too. Then, still not sure where he was headed, he sold his car and his apartment in Alaska and headed over to Tokyo for a five year sojourn in the Land of the Rising Sun. Then he hopped over to Taiwan and stayed put for a while. CLI FI GUY is now working in Taiwan as a climate activist and PR consultant for the CLI FI meme, helping to push the emerging new literary term to NPR, The Guardian, FT, Dissent, The New Yorker magazine, New York magazine, BuzzFeed, Gizmodo, TeleRead and Alaska Dispatch. Yes, this is the CLI FI GUY, the lone popularizer of the new term you have been hearing so much about, and will be hearing more as time goes on. The CLI FI GUY feels that climate novels -- CLI FI -- have a lot to say to the generations living today and which will follow in the next 30 generations. So now that you've met CLI FI GUY here, get ready to follow his future trips arond the globe, what one might call the "mondialisation" of cli fi as a new literary genre.

Greg Zeigler pens a cli fi novel titled ''THE STRAW THAT BROKE''

Greg Zeigler’s new novel presages water wars
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JHREA - In Story Quarter - 50k
While reading Greg Zeigler’s new novel, “The Straw That Broke,” I kept thinking of Roman Polanski’s film “Chinatown” and Marc Reisner’s classic tome “Cadillac Desert” — both about water politics in the West and the corruptive, criminal elements that take hold when huge sums of money are at stake.
The future of our region will be shaped by availability of fresh water.
Think in particular of Las Vegas,  the growing gambling metropolis that, according to the laws of nature, has no reason to exist in the middle of a scorching desert and yet, when it comes to water, is built upon the delusion of limitlessness.
Sometimes satire and farce become the only entry points for society to consider fundamental truths that are not being confronted through the dystopia of American politics. God knows, given Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s struggles to accept the science of climate change and evolution, this state is a case in point.
“The Straw That Broke,” a brutal romp that Zeigler describes as “an environmental thriller,” fits the description. A book that’s been a work in progress for 10 years, it’s a solid debut novel rooted in the eco-zeitgeist of our time. Dan Bloom calls it ''a 'cli fi' novel that should be on everyone's reading list.'' Bloom coined the term cli fi to stand for climate fiction novels a la the sci fi genre.
Jackson Hole, after all, is positioned at the center of a plot about water rustling. Zeigler, a longtime resident of the valley, knows well the human terrain and physical topography of the province. A onetime NOLS instructor, former head of the Teton Science Schools and a devoted conservationist, he weaves an intriguing narrative and spares no social group from a jab.
Susan Brand, his Jackson cop heroine, is the antithesis of the Coen Brothers’ Marge Gunderson in “Fargo.” A single mother who has a knack for doing solid detective work, she demonstrates her physical toughness by proudly bench-pressing her body weight at the gym.
Brand is the daughter of an Indian reservation preacher, a blond head-turner constantly ogled by the good men of this community. And yet she has a dangerous air. On a couple of occasions her carelessness with a gun resulted in accidental shootings.
Brand’s gumshoe partner, Jake Goddard, is a Utah private eye who is fending off a gambling addiction and whose vain self-awareness sets off sexual sparks.
Another memorable protagonist is Rank Moody, who, on behalf of the Wise Use movement, gathers intelligence on eco-extremists but for the right price turns double agent.
Then there is the colorful supporting cast: the ultra-flaky scientific researcher Noah Skutches, now well past his prime as a lothario of young idealistic environmental activists wanting to save the world; the tribe of counterculture hippies that makes an annual pilgrimage to “The Howl,” Zeigler’s lampoon of Burning Man; and a string of others modeled after actual living and breathing Jackson Hole citizens.
It’s fitting that Zeigler’s book carries a ringing endorsement from Jackson Hole novelist and screenplay writer Tim Sandlin, who has had several of his books turned into big-screen movies. “Zeigler predicts our future,” Sandlin writes. “A story to be savored.”
Whacky characters abound, not unlike the kind flowing through Sandlin’s fictional town of GroVont. In what surely will delight many readers, Zeigler’s plot moves between well-known Jackson Hole place names and across Teton Pass into Idaho.
The action angles southward into the deserts of Utah, Nevada’s Great Basin and the Mojave in the rugged canyon country around Lake Mead, where greedy developers have their eyes on the Colorado River.
“The Straw That Broke” plunges dramatically into the West’s dire reality, which is that without water, civilization as currently manifested is going to be in real trouble.
 “The Straw That Broke” establishes Zeigler as a writer to watch and lays a fine foundation for his characters to return in future novels.