Written by @andrewliptak and
@GeekMtnState (he uses two handles and retweets his tweets on one to make it appear that his tweets are being retweeted, when in fact he retweeting his own tweets).
Science Fiction Needs a New Subgenre
The next movement of science fiction will look at our status as a pale blue dot.
After he wrote this very good article, searching for a new term for a new subgenre of sci-fi, Liptak tweeted the real reasons he wrote this piece. And his sci fi friends added their venom to the stew even Joe Monti!
Liptak uses two different Twitter handles, @andrewliptak and
@GeekMtnState. He uses two handles and retweets his tweets on one to make it appear that his tweets are being retweeted, when in fact he retweeting his own tweets. Cool.
@Andrew Liptak with a cartoon thought balloon based on a real tweet he posted online in this series: "I can't say this was the real reason I wrote this piece, but yes, I was so sick and tired of him being so passionate about the cli-fi term and getting press everywhere, even in foreign countries overseas, that I just could not take it anymore and had to write this piece to stick it to him. What do you think?''
@AndrewLiptak "My point with the [Omni] article is that the term [cli-fi] is needlessly constricting
and excludes context.''
''In other words, Cli-Fi is a dumb term.''
change fiction. He's very [passionate] about it.''
Andrew Liptak to Tobias Buckell in reply:
BUT THEN HE TAKES AIM THE RISE OF CLI-FI GENRE which he hates with some uncontrollable hatrd: "With rising and vocal proponents [of the cli fi term] pushing for a shared movement of works that explicitly deal with climate change, we should be wary about strict definitions for any movement [including sci fi] . Criteria, particularly when it comes to literary movements, can act as walls, [even for sci fi, too] and thus restrict the raw exploration and storytelling that movements require to thrive. [For the cli-fi writing community worldwide now,] focusing only on climate change serves only to tell a select grouping of stories, while missing out on the bigger picture."
The New Wave was expressly a movement against Golden Age conventions, turning its back on the space travel it heralded. Cyberpunk was a brash moment that melded a new outlook on the genre alongside the computer revolution.
There’s always the eye towards what will happen next: What movement is the heir to the genre’s historical movements, and how will it change genre fiction and influence writers decades into the future?
Climate Change in Sci-Fi
While this is a topical (tropical?) subject, it’s an overly narrow one that misses a larger contextual framework that should inform and influence genre fiction. Climate change is one small part of this mindset: humanity’s fragile position in the larger universe. Earth is an isolated oasis in the depths of space, and it is the only place where we can life.
Science fiction has broadly assumed throughout its history that humanity will propagate far into space, settling in new solar systems, discovering new alien species to interact with, and to boldly go into the unknown. The "wagon train to the stars" mindset fits well with humanity’s (read: America's) can-do attitude and ability to forge a future to the stars.
But space isn’t the American West. Instead, it’s like the Arctic. It’s cold, difficult and expensive to reach, and prolonged exposure will certainly kill anyone not properly equipped. Those who live there endure a difficult environment: and that’s just our planet.
Earth is the only place humanity can live and thrive, and there is a growing body of literature that explicitly deals with the fragility of our place in the universe. In recent years, several notable space-based science fiction novels have depicted a more realistic environment.
Recommended Reading:MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
The Windup Girl by Paolo BacigalupiThe Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
But, loose definitions of such literary movements are useful: In a broad sense, they can help to guide works by either working with or against a shared cluster of tropes. With rising and vocal proponents pushing for a shared movement of works that explicitly deal with climate change, we should be wary about strict definitions for any movement. Criteria, particularly when it comes to literary movements, can act as walls, and thus restrict the raw exploration and storytelling that movements require to thrive. Focusing only on climate change serves only to tell a select grouping of stories, while missing out on the much greater context that it aims to warn against.
We can tell the stories of how we change the world by our own hands, but in doing so, we fail to recognize something bigger: We’re destroying the one and only place we call home in the cosmos.