''Promising Futures: Cli-Fi and the Temporal Imagination''
-- a paper presented at the ASLE 2015 conference by Rebecca Evans
This paper will argue that cli-fi serves an important function in the public perception of climate change by helping readers grapple with the temporality of global warming. I will discuss the formal strategies adopted by recent speculative fiction in order to depict prolonged and slow-moving environmental disaster, with an emphasis on Octavia Butler’s Parable trilogy (I will have the opportunity to examine the unpublished third book in manuscript form prior to ASLE through a Huntington Library fellowship).
Characterizing this series as a foundational early work of cli-fi, I will use the Parable books to illuminate the significant role of contemporary cli-fi in helping readers comprehend the temporally distributed threat of climate change while still thinking critically about ethical actions in the present. I will conclude by considering the adoption of cli-fi’s temporal strategies by other aesthetic genres and forms, including the Future Library project and predictive/projective multimedia.
The Cli-Fi Literature Panel at ASLE 2015 last year (which was organized Greta Gaard and Serpil Oppermann) was a great success with the panelists presenting thought-provoking papers.
Two graduate students from the University of Oregon, Stephen Siperstein and April Anson, were among them. They both teach cli-fi classes.
Steven's course syllabus can be accessed here: "English 104: Introduction Climate Change Fiction" http://www.asle.org/wp-
Other panelists were
Michelle Yates, Columbia College Chicago, MANLINESS AND CIVILIZATION IN ''SOYLENT GREEN'''S EDENIC RECOVERY NARRATIVE
April Anson, University of Oregon, SURVIVANCE ECOLOGY: SOLAR, THE IPCC HAIKU, AND THE MANIFEST STAKES OF FAILURE IN CLI-FI FORM
Stephen Siperstein, University of Oregon, TEACHING CLI-FI AND LESSONS IN AFFIRMATIVE SPECULATION
Laura Wright, Western Carolina University, THE FACT OF THE FICTION, AND THE FICTION OF THE FACT: CLI-FI, GEOSCIENCE, AND TRUTH
Rebecca Evans, Duke University, PROMISING FUTURES: CLI-FI AND THE TEMPORAL IMAGINATION