Saturday, December 26, 2015

''Cli-fi'' is on the page, cli-fi all the rage: an overview by Kieran Cooke in the UK

Cli-fi is on the page, cli-fi is all the rage... 

December 26, 2015


by Kieran Cooke

YOUTUBE VIDEO interview with Mr Cooke:

Mr Cooke  been a journalist for over 30 years, working in both radio and newspapers (BBC and Financial Times, mainly). He has been based in London but also spent many years overseas -- in Southeast Asia, Greece and Ireland. He hopes to use what he's learned over the years to act as a "translator" between academia, journalists and the business community. SEE LINK and PHOTO:


The Four Horsemen of the Climapocalypse concept appeals to cli-fi novelists  and readers.
Image: Viktor M Vasnetsov via Wikimedia Commons

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Stuck for some new reading material? Then how about a cli-fi thriller on a world in climate-caused turmoil?
LONDON, December 32, 2032 – It’s some time in the not too distant future. The American mid-west has turned into a dust bowl. Birds are dropping out of the sky. Cities are encapsulated in domes so that people can breathe clean, if recycled, air.
Billions of refugees, victims of drought and famine, are on the move. The streets are full of violent gangs and human traffickers. Pandemics are breaking out. 
Welcome to a new literary genre – climate fiction, or ''cli-fi.'' -- dubbed as such by climate activist and PR operative Dan Bloom.
Some of it might be sensational, some of it not exactly great literature, and some downright depressing, but there’s little doubting cli-fi’s growing popularity.
''Cli-fi'' is now considered part of modern literature’s classification system. Though some titles make only a passing reference to climate change, while others are more concerned with murder, mayhem and sex than with global warming, others are more thoughtful, science-based works. 
Well-established novelists have used climate change and man-made global warming as a backdrop in their books.
“Whether fictional or factual, the coming decades don’t sound like a picnic. It’s a scary scenario, and we’re largely unprepared”
The British writer, Ian McEwan, in his 2010 novel Solardescribes the world of physicist Michael Beard – a man of apparently insatiable sexual and culinary appetite – and his invention of a system for solving the global energy problem. 
Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist, has often used environmental catastrophe as a theme in her work: her trilogy MaddAddam graphically describes global floods and battles with criminals. Ultimately civilisation – and the environment – is rebuilt.
“There’s a new term, cli-fi, that’s being used to describe books in which an altered climate is part of the plot”, Atwood wrote a few years ago in The Huffington Post
“Dystopic novels used to concentrate only on hideous political regimes, as in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
“Now, however, they’re more likely to take place in a challenging landscape that no longer resembles the hospitable planet we’ve taken for granted.
“Whether fictional or factual, the coming decades don’t sound like a picnic. It’s a scary scenario, and we’re largely unprepared.”
Academic engagement worldwide
The emerging cli-fi genre has given birth to new courses at universities: academics say ''cli-fi'' helps people, particularly the young, engage more in science – and in the dangers posed by climate change.
Sarah Holding is the author of several YA cli-fi books aimed mainly at a younger audience. In a review of cli-fi books for children in The Guardian newspaper, Holding said in early 2015 that the new genre helps young readers value their environment.
“…These books are posing new questions about what it means not just to survive but to be human. Don’t be put off by the preponderance of floodwater or the scarcity of basic resources what you’ve got here are fast-paced, intrepid adventures into the unknown…”
NEWS! -- Dr. Renata Tyszczuk of the University of Sheffield in the UK is running a project called Culture and Climate Changewhich aims to involve the wider artistic community in the issue.
Tyszczuk says cli-fi is one area where culture has responded to climate change and includes some great work – but it’s not enough.
“Climate change is viewed by universities and many others as a science and technology ‘problem’ which needs to be solved.
Cli-fi is charting a new path in uncharted territory
“The arts are in a position to help put this difficult new knowledge into a much wider context and in so doing encourage more thoughtful and purposeful responses. 
Most academics and climate risk communicators are now convinced that the rise of cli-fi is a good thing. 
George Marshall is founder of the UK-based Climate Outreach organization.
Writing in a ''Room For Debate'' forum organized by Dan Bloom in July 2014 in the New York TimesMarshall said, among other things, that cli fi can be useful to help the battle against climate change.
"There is too much silence on the topic, and cli-fi is a welcome addition that could help people talk about climate change more," Marshall wrote in the summer of 2014.  

No comments: