Friday, August 14, 2015

Atlantic magazine does brilliant analysis of THE RISE OF THE CLI FI GENRE (link here)


#AMERICA talking about 'cli-fi' again, Atlantic Mag culture section -- freelanced by J.K. Ullrich - #clifi


HEADLINE: ''Can Cli-fi Novels and Movies Save the Planet? No, they can't. But food for thought as the Climapocalypse approaches over the next 30 generations of humans, circa 500 years.''

 SUBHEAD: A new literary genre that focuses on the consequences of environmental issues is striking a chord with younger generations—and engaging them in thinking about the Earth’s sustainability.

TEXT: ''Since the turn of the millennium, cli-fi has evolved ...into a class of its own. Unlike sci-fi, cli-fi stories do not focus on imaginary technologies or faraway planets. Instead the pivotal themes are all about Earth, examining the impact of pollution, rising sea levels, and global warming on human civilization. And the genre’s growing presence in college curriculums, as well as its ability to bridge science with the humanities and activism, is making environmental issues more accessible to young readers—proving literature to be a surprisingly valuable tool in collective efforts to address global warming.''

 “I never defined or even tried to define a new genre,” said Bloom. Instead, he merely wanted to come up with a catchy buzzword to raise awareness about global warming.”

''The strategy worked: When Atwood used the term in a 2012 tweet, she introduced it to her 500,000 followers, now 900.000 followers, according to Bloom. As the notion of cli-fi took hold, publishers and book reviewers began regarding it as a new category.

In this respect, cli-fi is a truly modern literary phenomenon: born as a meme and raised into a distinct genre by the power of social media. Today cli-fi has an actively used hashtag on Twitter, #clifi, [devised by PR maven Lisa Devaney in UK] 2 user-created book lists on Goodreads, and several Facebook cli-fi discusssion groups, including one devoted exclusively to YA cli-fi.''

 ''But colleges in the U.S. and abroad—from the University of Oregon to Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Educationnow offer courses in cli-fi. Earlier this year, students in a cli-fi class at Holyoke Community College  extracted DNA from strawberries to understand the genetic engineering themes of Bacigalupi’s award-winning novel The Windup Girl (2009).

At Temple University, participants in the cli-fi course used their class blog to share links to science news and cited scientific articles in their book reviews.

This fusion of science and the humanities can have practical consequences, encouraging more serious study of STEM, which can intimidate students. With literature and creative writing as a comfortable gateway, “science would become accessible to students who think they aren’t interested in science,” said Ellen Szabo, the author of Saving the World One Word at a Time: Writing Cli-Fi.

Therein lies the challenge. “Science doesn't tell us what we should do,” Barbara Kingsolver wrote in Flight Behaviour. “It only tells us what is.”

Stories can never be a solution in themselves, but they have the capacity to inspire action, which is perhaps why cli-fi’s appeal among young adult readers holds such promise. As the scientists and leaders of tomorrow, they may be most capable of addressing climate issues where previous generations have failed. Cli-fi, like the science behind it, often presents bleak visions of the future, but within such frightening prophecies lies the real possibility that it’s not too late to steer in a different direction. As Atwood wrote in MaddAddam, “People need such stories, because however dark, a darkness with voices in it is better than a silent void.”

and 21  COMMENTS:

This is just a rehash of the post-apocalyptic shlock sci-fi of the 1970s and 1980s. Instead of unnamed natural catastrophes or nuclear war as the cause, writers are now plugging in Climate Change as the cause. Climate Change, a super-flu like Captain Tripps or Zombies; it's all the same basic story.

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      What, no mention of The Road by Cormac McCarthy? The catastrophe there as impliedly but not definitively a nuclear war, but the results are eco-heavy.

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          It's too bad they made The Day After Tomorrow into a movie. Nature's End by the same authors was better in every way, and would have made a much better movie.

        • This is bullshit. It's called propaganda.
          No warming in almost 19 years. Record Antarctic sea ice.
          Recovering Arctic sea ice. No studies show an increase in the number or severity of droughts or floods. New record each and every day for the longest length of time since a major hurricane has hit the US. Violent tornado numbers trended down since the mid 1970s. Tropical cyclone accumulated energy index also trended down.

          The earth is greening and crop yields are up because of the increase in CO2. Plants grow faster and stronger and are more water efficient and drought tolerant with more CO2.

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              We need to start thinking of a way to geoengineer a solution to the sun's eventual demise.

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                  RE: Bonegirl above said: ''We need to start thinking of a way to geoengineer a solution to the sun's eventual demise. '' -- 98.m said : We've got a billion years to worry about that. Meanwhile, human civilization faces an existential threat over the next century from waste CO2 of its own making.

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                    How is this a "genre"?


                    Of course, some cli-fi comes from a denialist perspective, with the noble hero trying to save a doomed America from a vast socialmalistic conspiracy to, uh, cut pollution, move us away from centralized and foreign-dominated energy sources, and toward individual and local resilience based on subversive distributed energy systems and tyrannical cooperative local economies instead of patriotic freedom guns and liberty gold. Or something.
                    I'm sure that the poor sales of most denialist climate fiction comes from the aforementioned conspiracy rather than the laughable plots, tedious dialogue, and endless pages of Randian-style exposition.

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                      I would recommend ''State Of Fear'' by Michael Crichton.


                      It's not that new. John Christopher was writing post-climate-change apocalypses in the 1960's and 1970's. Davir Brin published "Earth" in 1990.
                      And "Stand on Zanzibar" won the Hugo in 1969.

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                        Their children will grow up and realize than in many cases the cure is worse than the disease.


                        I feel I should thank you for doing that particular bit of research so I never have to.

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                          Climate change is a very popular fictional topic, at least it is the way it's presented in this country.

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                              Sure. When I want a good dose of climate change fiction, I just proceed over to Watt's Up With That. They even have a sense of irony, as confirmed with their current promotion of a book called "Climate Change - The Facts".

                          • "A new literary genre". . . would this qualify as an exemplar?
                            or this?:
                            Genre identification counts for something, but so does sub-genre identification: this guy seems content to call his stuff "science satire", maybe he doesn't have academic or journalistic credentials.

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                                Searching for the term “climate fiction” on Amazon today returns over 1,300 results.
                                You can also search for 'Dinosaur Erotica' on Amazon and get results.
                                There's a hook for every reading taste on Amazon.

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