Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What might it be like to live in a future climate-changed world some 300 years from now (or even now, for that matter?)

A writer in Australia has penned an Op-Ed opinion article about ''what it might be like to live in a future world,'' and while they did not put it online yet with a link, here are some excerpts to ponder before the link appears.


 • ''The relevance of the general principle of storytelling to the specific situation of climate change was crystallised with the coining of the term  ‘cli-fi’ (an abbreviation of ‘climate fiction’), introduced by an American journalist and climate change activist who founded the cli-fi.net website.  He has stated explicitly that he does not own the ‘cli-fi’ term, and that the genre should and will find its own way.''

  ''One author, Margaret Atwood, stated at one point that she preferred to refer to her work as ‘speculative fiction’ but later sent a tweet containing the term ‘cli-fi’ which immediately extended the reach and popularity of the term. The wheel is still in spin, the situation characterised by movement, energy and uncertainty.''

 ''The work that has emerged under the cli-fi umbrella is extremely varied. At one end of the spectrum is post-apocalyptic writing, portraying a future where society has been devastated by war, disease or environmental disaster of known or unknown cause.''

 ''As might be expected, the quality of the literary offerings is similarly varied. Some are written primarily for entertainment,  ...others as serious literature and deeply thought-provoking. ''

 ''A good cli-fi novel does what every good novel does – takes us inside the mind of one or more characters who find themselves facing certain challenges......We do not need to re-invent the discipline of literary criticism in order to evaluate a cli-fi novel: each work can be judged on its own merits.''

 • [So,] what of the potential cli-fi readership? Are cli-fi authors writing only for the ‘converted’, for those already tuned in to the scale of the crisis, or can the literature reach out to a wider audience.''

 ....''cli-fi opens a window to knowing about the frightening and distressing situations heading towards us without our becoming overwhelmed. We can put a book down to give ourselves time to process what we have read.''

 ''There are signs that the idea of entering a fictional altered world in order to engage with the difficulties and uncertainties associated with climate change is gaining ground. Amazon now includes ‘cli-fi’ as a separate genre category...''

 • " In coining and promulgating the ‘cli-fi’ descriptor, the activist behind the term has done us all – authors and readers alike - a great service. An umbrella has been opened under which books and films and plays and TV series that engage with the greatest threat ever to have faced humanity can be gathered - and hence be found.''


CW Owens said...

Genre characterization should not become an obsession. Pigeonholing and sales categories are fine, but anthropogenic climate change is a serious issue, and all serious issues become subjects for writers.


Clarke, thanks for chiming in here. I don't think the author of that piece is ''obsessed'' with any particular literary genre, and they do treat Anthropogenic climate change as a very serious issue, as you will see when their oped is published later in the year. Genre labels are not important at all; I fully agree with you. -- Cheers, Dan