You are welcome, Senor Calles!
see Carlos Calles at Resortera literary review on rise of 'cli-fi' worldwide:
BILINGUAL BLOG LINK
|Carlos Calles, el autor de “La ilusión del caos” trabaja en la edición final de la novela para que esté lista en octubre.|
The morning mail always brings me surprises and today was no exception.
A ''cli-fi'' YA author named Carlos Calles, from Mexico -- he currently lives in Monterrey, about two hours away from the USA border -- sent me an email after we connected online via a recent GRIST review of Paolo Bacigalupi's THE WATER KNIFE. We met online, and after a few tweets here and there, we made an email connection, and I was very happy to meet Carlos.
He's 32, speaks and writes English fluently -- in addition to his native Spanish, of course. He studied English literature in Chile (at the Universidad Católica) and also has a master's degree in the humanities (from Tec de Monterrey). He told me he teaches literature, both in English and in Spanish, at Prepa Tec High School in Monterrey. That's his day job.
Carlos is also a published author: his first novel was titled "El polvo que se acumula en los objetos", which roughly translates as "The dust that settles on objects". His second book is the cli-fi YA novel mentioned above: "La ilusión del caos".
"This YA novel is actually a work of Cli Fi," Carlos told me in our email exchange, which he finished writing at 2 a.m in Mexico. The new novel is at the publisher's office in Spain now, going through final edits and getting ready to be printed. Pub date is the first week of August.
Grupo Edebe is a publishing house in Spain, with offices in Mexico and other Latin American countries, Carlos told me.
I was glad to make contact with another member of the growing global community of cli fi authors, scholars, readers and researchers. Not to mention the journalists from many countries who have been reporting on the rise of cli fi over the past few years!
Carlos know about cli fi because of the initial NPR story that went viral in April of 2013, reported by Angela Evancie in a radio segment introduced by Scott Simon at All Things Considered. The NPR story was the first medie outlet to report the rise of the cli fi genre, and Carlos told he me read the news at the time, and then followed up in reports about cli fi that appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian and elsewhere. about
"I've read quite a few interviews and articles written about the evolution of the cli fi genre from a variety of sites, and I also visit regularly cli-fi.net, Carlos told me. His future plans include applying for a PHD program in Canada (hopefully in the Toronto area) and his PHD proposal will focus on "The Aesthetics of Cli Fi."
"I have been reading lots and lots of Cli Fi and also about Cli Fi." he added.
The new YA novel -- "La ilusión del caos" -- is set in the future, Carlos told me.
La novela "La ilusión del caos" forma parte de un nuevo género titulado “cli-fi” o climate fiction, en el que se abordan posibles versiones de un futuro afectado por el cambio climático, la mayoría de las veces centrado en las consecuencias negativas del calentamiento global.
"The sea levels have risen dramatically and most of the land we know today is now underwater. Overpopulation ensued, as well as scarcity, etcetera. Very strict measures of population control were set. Basically, love is forbidden. Also, history and the news are manipulated to keep the people in the dark about the important issues. Two teenagers defy the system, each in their own way: Norela, the female main character, joins a secret society whose objective is to protect and promote knowledge, and Oriol, the male lead character, joins a group called The Nibelungs, who try to gain power mostly at gunpoint."
"These territories exist because there is a wall, a 3 km tall wall, surrounding the area," he added. "No one really remembers who built it and no one knows for how long it will keep them safe. It's kind of hard to summarize a 256 page-long novel in a few lines of an email, but that's the gist of it."
The publisher in Span, Grupo Edebe, is really happy with the book, Carlos told me, and hopefully it will reach many young people in the YA category of readers from all around the world. So far, it will be distributed in Mexico and in Ecuador (about 10 high schools in Ecuador have bought advanced copies for their freshman classes).
Carlos told me this writing this YA novel was his starting point in learning about cli fi.
"Without knowing all that much about Cli-Fi, I had already started writing the novel," he said. "I had heard the term, of course, as most people did, first via NPR, and then in The Guardian, NYT, and other newspapers and website. Since then I've read mostly the "now classics" of Cli Fi: Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Paolo Bacigalupi, "The Drowned World" by J G Ballard."
"As for cli fi in Mexico, I belive that in Mexico there are not many writers whp are writing Cli Fi. Actually, I don't know anyone else besides myself who is writing Cli Fi. But then, it's hard to know since there aren't many literary publications, and those existing tend to focus only on very few writers, many of them who are already dead."
"It's tough, as you must know, for people to embrace new genres," Carlos said. "In a time when the word 'genre' is becoming obsolete due to the overlap of the traditional genres, there is still a generation of critics refusing to accept change or anything original. I believe sci-fi is no longer a good umbrella term to encompass ALL kinds of literatures that feature some sort of scientific theme. Sci fi has become too general, vague, imprecise. So new, better and more fitting concepts are needed to describe these new works of literature. And Cli Fi hits the spot, fits the bill."
I was so glad to meet Carlos Calles through a GRIST introduction and make contact via email. It's good to know that cli fi is making inroads among writers writing in Spanish, and cli fi has always been a global genre, for writers in all languages, from all nations. So welcome to the worldwide cli fi community, Carlos, and let's keep in touch.
"In these next few months I will be working on a brief 10-12 page paper about the aesthetics of climate fiction, sort of like an introduction to the genre, using a couple of novels as main examples, and comparing the genre to others in order to show why the new term is needed in this day and age," he told me. I believe his PHD thesis will be a stellar achievement and I can't wait to read it.
"I admire the work you are doing, Dan, to promote cli fi," Carlos told me, in closing. "Cli fi is a game changer. Really. Not only in literature as a field of study, but also in general, since I too believe that fiction is a good way to raise awareness and get the message across. It is not a perfect method, not everyone who reads a Cli Fi novel will install solar cells to power their house, but a few people will. And a few is better than none. At least for now. "
We will be hearing more from Carlos Calles in the future, I am sure.