Thursday, January 28, 2016

What It Will Mean To Be a Cli-fi Writer in the 21st Century

Charlie Jane Andrews' debut novel isn't cli-fi per se, but she confessed on Twitter a few months ago that there's some strong cli-fi elements in it. That caugt my attention.

Charlie Jane Andrews
' debut novel in early 2016 - She tweeted in 2015 to Scott Thill: ''And yeah, there's a bit of in there'' she said.

Fast foward to a recent oped ''What It Means To Be a Writer in the 21st Century'' where she writes:

"...And I didn’t just include an apocalyptic scenario [in my debut novel] to raise the stakes in my book, but because I believe our fears about the future are grounded in real issues, and they’re worth addressing.
''I was at an event a week or so ago, where Kim Stanley Robinson was talking about his belief that science fiction should address the reality of climate change. Because it’s our actual future, and if you claim to be writing even a semi-realistic vision of the world to come, you need to acknowledge this scientific consensus.
''And yes, I was just saying that we need more can-do optimism — but here’s the thing: Writing about climate change can be an optimistic act. One reason to write about the potential disasters and nightmares of climate change is because you believe that humans can make smart choices. We can recognize when our own behavior is outrageously self-destructive, and try to fix it.
''Back during the Cold War, pop culture served up tons of visions of nuclear war and other atomic apocalypses, from ''On the Beach'' to ''The Day After.'' And we’re only just now understanding how close we really came to having an actual global thermonuclear war in real life, on a few occasions. We were an itchy finger away from mass genocide. And here’s a crazy thought—even if all those books and movies about nuclear annihilation only made a slight difference in the mass consciousness, maybe it was enough. Maybe someone hesitated just a second longer to push that button because of On the Beach. We’ll never know, but it seems at least possible.
''So I don’t doubt that pop culture can make a massive difference in the real world, and I am certain we can do this with climate change, widespread extinctions, and other environmental challenges."
Andrews makes some good points.
So in general, as the 21st Century gets going in full form, for sure we have a lot of fears, as a society, that cli-fi fiction has an opportunity to address -- and will address -- since the this century is shaping up alread as the ''Century of Cli-fi.'' Sci-fi is not dead, and it is not dead, but cli-fi is taking over for one reason and one reason only -- it's more relevant and revealing. Now is the time to be a cli-fi writer, even if you grew up in a sci-fi world.


Charlie Jane Andrews
' debut novel in early 2016 - She tweeted in 2015 to Scott Thill: ''And yeah, there's a bit of in there'' she said.


Scott Thill
OK thanks. That should come in handy when I take down sci-fi for my cli-fi book!

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