Sunday, June 18, 2017

''After Sci-Fi Comes Cli-Fi'' -- an article in Germany by Julia Grillmayr


''After Sci-Fi Comes Cli-Fi'' -- an article in Germany by Julia Grillmayr




derstandard.at/2000059374108/after-the-science-fiction comes-the-climate fiction


English Google machine translation is here:




Nach (after) der Sci-Fi kommt (comes) der Cli-Fi

18. Juni 2017, 10:00

Eine Konferenz in Graz reflektierte über die Rolle von Literatur in ökologischen Diskursen. Das Genre der Climate-Fiction macht die abstrakten Folgen des Klimawandels greifbar

Graz – Sie beschreiben Hitze- und Flutwellen, Eiszeiten, das Aussterben der Arten oder porträtieren Naturschönheit und zeigen ungezähmte Wälder, Meere und Tiere als besonders schützenswert. Für literarische Werke, die den menschengemachten Klimawandel und seine Folgen thematisieren, hat die Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft seit einiger Zeit eigene Konzepte und Labels entwickelt: Man spricht von "Ökokritik" (auf Englisch "Ecocriticism") oder "Climate-Fiction", kurz "Cli-Fi".
Provokativ und mit Fragezeichen, aber nicht unernst gemeint bezeichnete Axel Goodbody Cli-Fi als das "Genre des Jahrhunderts". Der Germanistikprofessor der britischen Universität Bath sprach vergangene Woche bei der Konferenz "Literature and the Environment", die vom Anglistik-Institut der Universität Graz organisiert und unter anderem von der Akademie der Wissenschaften und dem Landwirtschaftsministerium unterstützt wurde.
Ökokritische Literatur oder Cli-Fi tritt mit einem politischen Anspruch an. Sie will mitgestalten, wie über Klimawandel und die damit verbundenen Risiken und Gegenmittel nachgedacht wird. "Klimawandel ist für die menschliche Wahrnehmung unzugänglich", sagte Goodbody. Literatur übersetze das globale, komplexe Phänomen in einzelne Raum- und Zeiteinheiten. "Sie macht den Klimawandel lokal und unmittelbar und zeigt gleichzeitig seinen dramatischen Maßstab." Cli-Fi könne positive und negative Rollenbilder aufzeigen und verschiedene Handlungsszenarien ausloten. Die meisten Werke, die als Climate-Fiction gehandelt werden, sind amerikanisch, es gibt aber auch viele deutschsprachige Beispiele, wie Goodbody zeigte. Er nannte etwa den Proto-Cli-Fi-Roman "Berge Meere und Giganten" von Alfred Döblin aus dem Jahr 1924 sowie Ilija Trojanows "EisTau" (2011).
Welche spezifische Funktion kann Literatur für ökologische Diskurse haben? Diese Frage prägt die Ökokritik und somit auch grundlegend die Grazer Konferenz. Ein zentraler Theoretiker in dieser Auseinandersetzung ist Hubert Zapf, Amerikanist an der Universität Augsburg. In seinem Vortrag hob Zapf hervor, dass Künstler ein ausgeprägtes, kritisches Sensorium für Machtverhältnisse hätten und somit eine wichtige Stimme in der Verhandlung von Umweltgerechtigkeit seien. Angesichts der ökologischen Krise seien neue Formen des Geschichtenerzählens notwendig.

Kultur und Natur

Das passiert einerseits auf inhaltlicher Ebene; Cli-Fi lenkt die Aufmerksamkeit auf ökologische Themen und Motive. Andererseits geht es um das Aufzeigen von Perspektiven durch das Finden einer neuen Sprache und somit auch um eine gewisse Selbstreflexion von Literatur und Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft.
So wurde bei der Tagung oft auf Zapfs einflussreiches Konzept der "kulturellen Ökologie" zurückgegriffen, das Kultur und Natur nicht einander gegenüberstellt, sondern auf einer Ebene denkt. Die "Umwelt" ist in diesem Verständnis nicht mehr nur die materielle Umgebung, sondern auch die Ideen und Bilder, die an diese geknüpft sind und auf sie zurückwirken. "Literatur ist eine ökologische Kraft im kulturellen Feld", sagte Zapf.
Neben konkreten ökokritischen Textstudien – etwa Maximilian Feldner von der Universität Graz, der über den nigerianischen Autor Helon Habila und sein Sujet der Ölgewinnung im Nigerdelta sprach – waren daher auch die Herangehensweisen und Ziele der Wissenschaft selbst immer wieder Thema. Julia Martin von der südafrikanischen University of the Western Cape zeigte eindrucksvoll, was der Anspruch der "environmental humanities" für ihr akademisches Arbeiten bedeutet.
Mit der Idee, auch nichtakademisches Publikum zu erreichen und die disziplinären Grenzen zu überschreiten, propagierte sie "literarische Non-Fiction", ein essayistisches wissenschaftliches Schreiben. Sie ermutigte zu spekulativeren Herangehensweisen, bei Beibehaltung wissenschaftlicher Akkuratesse. Dabei sei der eigenen Subjektivität ein gewisser Platz einzuräumen: "Im akademischen Schreiben wird das 'Ich' vermieden", sagte Martin, man sollte hingegen versuchen, in wissenschaftlicher Weise ausgehend von persönlichen Erfahrungen und Gefühlen zu sprechen – ohne dass das "Ich" dabei ein narzisstisches würde.
"Interconnectedness", die Feststellung, dass alles mit allem verbunden ist, sei der Kern dessen, was aus der derzeitigen ökologischen Situation gelernt werden könne, sagte Martin. Zu dieser Verbundenheit gehören in einem wichtigen Maß auch Tiere.

Tiere sprechen lassen

Wird über ökokritisches Schreiben reflektiert, dann oftmals mit der Frage, wie die literarischen Werke nichtmenschlichen Protagonisten eine Stimme verleihen. Oft werden Tiere in Fiktionen anthropomorphisiert und kommunizieren in menschlicher Sprache – man denke an "Das Dschungelbuch". Der Kanadist Konrad Groß von der Universität Kiel zeigte anhand des Romans "L'Oursiade" der französischsprachigen kanadischen Autorin Antonine Maillet, dass es alternative, seiner Ansicht nach überzeugendere Weisen gibt, Tiere sprechen zu lassen.
Eine weitere kanadische Autorin, auf die in diesem Zusammenhang immer wieder referiert wird, ist Margaret Atwood. In einer Doppelpräsentation und im Vergleich mit der Schweizer Autorin Hedi Wyss zeigten Michelle Gadpaille und Vesna Kondric-Horvat von der Universität Maribor auf, wie Atwoods Fiktionen thematisch, aber auch stilistisch ökokritisch arbeiten. In Bezug auf eine Kurzgeschichte Atwoods stellte Gadpaille fest: "Sie schreibt ohne die Syntax des Missbrauchs am Planeten. Nicht Subjekt, Verb, Objekt; nicht jemand tut etwas einem anderen an." (Julia Grillmayr, 18.6.2017)

An interview with novelist R.E. Greene, author of the novella ''DESCRIPTIONS OF HEAVEN''

1. How did you go about finding an agent an editor and a publisher for your novella?

I found most agents wouldn't represent something quite so slim word-count-wise. So I sought out publishers who took unagented manuscripts. Three publishers took an interest in my book. I ruled one out myself based on a close inspection of their company. The second ruled themselves out when they heard they were competing against Harvard Square Editions (they admitted they had even less resources and had much less experience publishing books).
Harvard, like most publishers, decided that an editor was needed for a final coat of polish on the novella. I ended up with Martine Bellen. Descriptions of Heaven is a poetic book, and Martine is a poet. This, I believe, worked to my manuscript's advantage. When I found out she was a librettist too, I knew that this was an editor who would understand my sensibilities.




2. Why is it a novella and not a novel? What's difference?

A diet novel; novel 'lite' perhaps? Descriptions of Heaven is simply a short book, but (as some readers have pointed out) it's compact with ideas and themes which can be excavated at length from any number of angles. It's about the right length for the tone and pacing.
And although the right length, I didn't know exactly what I was composing when the idea for this work first came to me. I was playing with a theme for a novel-in-progress that wasn't taking root. "Perhaps," I thought, "this is just a writing exercise" when I began working with this theme through the lens of a different story. But as I wrote, I realized it was more. And once it was far past the length of any short story I'd ever read, realized that I had a small book in my hands. Beings I write all things by hand at first, I wasn't even sure what length I had reached. After typing it, I judged it to be around the size of Heart of Darkness or Crying of Lot 49 (I believe Descriptions of Heaven actually falls somewhere between these two).


3. How you YOU prefer to  classify your novella in terms of genre?

I classify it as literary fiction. This is itself a broad category, which subsumes a lot of the best of the world's literature. My book has elements that take it beyond contemporary realism: it's set in the future during a time of worldwide drought. The family lives in one of the few places that still gets rain regularly. The lake their house looks on is actually artificial, made to naturally pool more water.
With that said, the book doesn't don the trappings of typical sci-fi, forcing some sort of post-apocalyptic future or even focusing on the science of the sci-fi. But the elements are there, and they're there to help make a point about the climate, which is the backbone of the book, the theme that threads together this tragedy. So it is cli-fi, climate fiction firstly, subtle sci-fi second, and the overall mood, tone, and writing places Descriptions of Heaven squarely in the camp of literary fiction.


4. What kind of PR and promotions has your publisher done and what PR are you doing? Radio, TV, blogs, podcasts, newspapers?

My publisher does run on a shoestring budget, but they have help to advertise events and articles on related websites and within their realm of influence. They've run a free ebook campaign on Amazon and had a great list of places to which advance release copies were sent.

I've been fortunate to be featured in local newspapers several times. Many bloggers have done interviews with me, and many others have reviewed Descriptions of Heaven. While I've slowed down on actively getting book reviews, I ran a Goodreads giveaway until the end of May. What I'm focusing on now is finding more places to do book signings. I've had one book signing at a Barnes & Noble and one book signing/reading at a cafe. I'm happy to say that both were quite successful. I've also have a forthcoming podcast interview on the Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner. My hope is that the interviews, reviews, and book signings just become a regular part of the monthly goings-on.



6. What's next for you?

I'm currently working on a short story collection. After that, I want to pick up where I left off with a novel-in-progress about a rock band that gains fame through infamy. It's about half done, but these stories need to be written first.


7. What's yr age, college major and where, and age now?

I'm 32 years old. I have a degree in English and Anthropology from the University of South Dakota.



I've been married about 5 months now. We hope to have children in our future. My wife and I also hope to find reason to move to other parts of the country, though there are perks to living here in Iowa, close to both of our families. I'd like to immerse myself in a literary community again. This may entail moving to a city with a more robust "literary scene" or pursing a MFA in Creative Writing. For now I'm content to write at a local Sioux City cafe and enjoy the company of my tri-state friends and family.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

NYT asks readers -- We’d like to hear you sing “O Canada.” for 150th birthday of CANADA

We’d like to hear you sing “O Canada.”
 
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/world/canada/canada-150th-birthday-anthem.html
 
On July 1, Canada marks its 150th birthday, commemorating the moment that a cluster of British colonial provinces joined together to form a country that quickly grew to encompass a vast expanse and array of people, languages and cultures.
 
Let’s mark the occasion by performing “O Canada.” Please post on Instagram, with the hashtag #MyOCanada, a video of you singing the anthem in any language, style or setting you like, with or without accompaniment.
 
Since you can post only one minute of video to Instagram, sing the first verse and use your caption to tell us what the words mean to you. (Don’t forget to include the hashtag #MyOCanada.)
 
As you can see in the video here , we asked Canadian cast members of the Broadway musical “Come From Away” to sing a version so you have an idea of what we’re looking for. We thought they did a pretty good job.




Leslie Goodreid @Leslie_Goodreid 3 minutes ago
, ''thanks for the shout out, but was formed out of British and French colonies. We are a bi-lingual and multi-cultural country.''

Friday, June 16, 2017

The New York Times news bureau in Australia asks readers: ''What makes Australian intellectuals and cultural critics tick?" (It's not always a pretty picture.)

 
The New York Times news bureau in Australia asks readers: ''What makes Australian intellectuals and cultural critics tick?" (It's not always a pretty picture) -- WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON ALL THIS MESHAGUS?
 
Recently, the Sydney news bureau of the New York Times, overseen by veteran reporter and editor Damien Cave, posted a brief rant in its weekly newsletter to readers about the the state of Australian  culture and its relationship with Aussie literary circles, sci-fi literary critics and public intellectuals. Cave was wondering "What makes Australian culture workers tick?"
 
 
Damien Cave is the new Australia Bureau Chief for The New York Times. He’s covered more than a dozen countries for The Times, including Mexico, Cuba, Iraq and Lebanon. Follow him on Twitter at @damiencave and on Instagram, also at @damiencave.
 
We hope you’re enjoying our weekly dispatches from our new Australia bureau. Tell us what you think at NYTAustralia@nytimes.com. - Damien Cave
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cave, who is now the editor of the New York Times in Australia bureau, a new posting for him, wonders why ''some'' (just some, most are open to new things) Australian sci-fi lit critics, among them James Bradley and Lucy Sussex, tend to be publicly negative towards the new lit genre of cli-fi, with sci-fi booster Bradley in the SMH in 2015 calling it "an unfortunate shorthand" ''[for climate fiction]'' and sci-fi short story writer Sussex calling it "an appalling term" in the Sydney Review of Books just the other day. Cave notes in a Times newseletter for readers of the Oz edition and his take is headlined
''The Fall and Rise of Australian Culture ''


and he writes among other things: ''Sebastian Smee, a wonderful Asutralian art critic who returned to Sydney this year after winning a Pulitzer with the Boston Globe, wrote for us about the Art Gallery of New South Wales and its struggle to obtain the financing it needed to expand its exhibition and event space.''

''Later in the week, Besha Rodell, another Australian who has become a standout in the United States — in her case, Los Angeles — explored the battle over how to modernize Melbourne’s beloved Queen Victoria Market. ''

''Both pieces ***mined the tension*** in Australia that ***often seems to come with proposals for the new, the bold, the different.*** This is something Ben Shewry, the world-renowned Attica chef who Sam Sifton profiled this week as part of a special series of features on Australian food and drink, talked about when we hosted an event with him in Melbourne last month: ***the degree to which Australia tends to criticize new ideas and new literary genres, the nails that stick out, [just like Japanese culture].


 
Damien added: ''So is Australia becoming more open to bold creative expression or is this country ***just as eager as always to cut down the tall poppies who stick their heads up and stand out? "***

---- ''Quick, don’t overthink it: What comes to mind? What have you seen, heard, tasted, watched or read lately that’s Australian and that has really moved you or challenged you or made you want to share it with the world? ''
****Write to us at nytaustralia@nytimes.com, *** and tell us what it is (multiple examples are welcome; if you've got a Top Five, I want to know) and explain your choice. In the next NYT OZ newsletter, I'll share a few choice contributions.
Don't feel a need to be snobby, either. What we're trying to explore here is how Australians experience culture high, low or in-between and what that might reveal about the country's attitude toward insurgent creativity. ''

Several Australians already chimed in about Bradley and Sussex, and Australian literary critics and so-called public intellectuals
saying that James and Lucy were part of the problem and not part of the solution.

An adjunct professor of literature in Perth, said: ''There is some truth in this. But the big difference between the US and Australia is size - not just of the country, but of the SF community, the literary community, the intelligentsia. In such small worlds it's often difficult to dissent: Australian intellectuals tend to hunt in packs.''
 
Another Australian said: ''As an Australian I appreciate the perspectives that outsiders bring to our public debates even if they may miss some nuances or I may disagree with them. Australia is an island and our public debate often reflects that with limited, narrow perspectives and an attitude of anti-intellectualism. ''
 
And a third Australian wrote: "As an Australian who works in climate scenario planning, preparedness and resilience, I often use cli-fi and third party narratives to help build creativity and imagination in newbie leadership workshops. Being mindful of science based models, data and output is critical though as too much fantasy can lead to nonsense and lose audiences. Having first worked on climate in the early 90's through a risk and opportunity lens, I've seen a rapid growth in the tails of climate polarity especially in Australia. With othering, left goes left and right goes right which can create some room in the middle. However as each tail from doomers to deniers gets louder it can marginalise the other, traumatise the middle and stop critical thinking. As a Sydney citizen and avid reader, I've probably only read Sydney Review of Books once in 20 years! NY and London, Delhi and Asia are markers for my perspectives. I crowdsource my reviews to avoid homophilly and seek paragogy as an aid to forming my perspectives. I think "Big island small mind "is a fair criticism for the "squatocracy" and rather conservative anti-stereotypes that hog the arts here. Dan you've shown good leadership with ypur cli-fi public relations work,and the CF community is growing worldwide -- keep going and don't fear the misguided and snarky haters / knockers in Australia!''
 
And Ed Wright, a book reviewer for the Australian newspaper, started off his recent review of an Australian novel this way, ignoring the unfortunate attack dog tactics of literary critics Bradley and Sussex, writing in his first sentence: ''Cli-fi, which imagines our world in the aftermath of climate change, is booming. It’s a brand of dystopian narrative that often features desiccated landscapes, where resources are scarce and contested and ingenuity is required just to survive. Lotus Blue (Talos, 382pp, $22.99), the debut novel from Australian writer at Sparks, a much anthologised science fiction writer, is a compelling addition to these ranks.''
 
 
 

 

Aaron Thier's cli-fi novel MR ETERNITY is released in paperback edition and profiled in Amy Brady's cli-fi column at the Chicago Review






Aaron Thier is a 30-something writer born and bred in western
Massachusetts, and his latest hardback novel "Mr. Eternity" has just been issued in paperback.
A comic novel and a very serious novel at the same time, and it has been characterized by readers as literary fiction, sci-fi, apocalyptic dystopian, fantasy and cli-fi. And a comic novel, as well.
Thier did his undergraduate work at
Yale, majoring in literature (Class of 2006) and later completed a
Creative Writing MFA at the University of Florida in 2012.
His surname has an interesting back story, and when asked about it,
he told me a bit of family history.
"Their is my birth surname," he said. "My parents decided that Thier was more interesting than Murphy [his father Peter Murphy is an English at Williams College."
"So the three children all have my mom's
name. This hasn't produced as much confusion as you might think.
People seem charmed by the matriarchal orientation."
In addition, in connection with his mother's surname, a former
president of Brandeis University in the early 1990s was her father,
his grandfather, Dr Samuel Thier, a medical doctor.
"I wish I knew more about where the Thier name came from. I know that the original Samuel Thier, my great-great-grandfather, was an actor in the Yiddish theater in Warsaw, Poland, but I don't know much else about him."
When asked if he was a pessimist or an optimist in regard to possible
climate change outcomes in the future, he said: "I’m a pessimist in
the sense that I don’t think we’ll get it together to avoid a very bad outcome. In many important ways we’ve already missed the
boat by a long way."
However, he added: "But I’m an optimist in the sense that I believe in
human resourcefulness. I don’t think this represents a threat to human
existence, only a threat to human civilization as it’s currently
configured. People will eke out a living somehow in a brutalized world.
There will probably be fewer of us, maybe way fewer."
A recent interview with Thier in the Chicago Review of Books updates the paperback edition of his novel and his views about global warming.

Friday, June 9, 2017

In this Age of Trump and the Paris climate accord, dozens of literary critics and cultural observers are no doubt planning their own non-fiction explorations of the cli-fi genre.

 Photo by Novelist Yann Quero in France: "The Madonna of Global Warming"


===========================================


blog post by staff writer


Adam Trexler led the way, of course, publishing "Anthropocene Fictions" with UVA Press in 2015. [http://www.upress.virginia.edu/title/4777]

Subtitled "The Novel in a Time of Climate Change," the book was widely reviewed and read in academic circles worldwide. Trexler looked at 150 novels with strong climate change themes and came away impressed with the cli-fi genre, even mentioning the new coinage in the introduction.

Dr Heather Sullivan, a professort at Trinity University in Texas and the author of ''The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment," was impressed with Trexler's work, writing: ''As an extremely timely contribution to the urgent discussions of climate change and culture in the Anthropocene, 'Anthropocene Fictions' deserves high praise for carefully documenting the longer history of climate change novels as well as projecting forward into the uncertain futures of postapocalyptic writings. Trexler’s provocative theory of 'eco-nomics,' or the inextricably intertwined aspects of ecological and economic choices made in our industrial cultures as we navigate rising waters and rising costs in the 21st Century, is one with wide relevance for anyone interested in the cultural impact of global environmental change."

In this Age of Trump and the Paris climate accord, dozens of literary critics and cultural observers are no doubt planning their own non-fiction explorations of the cli-fi genre.






These books have not been written yetbut I do envision and anticipate their publication over the next 10-15 years, some from Britain, some from Canada and the USA and some from Australia as well.Who will be writing them? Mostly academics and literary critics, but also journalists, media critics and cultural observers. Maybe you?

Here's my tentative list:

''The Rise of Cli-Fi in the Age of Trump: A Cultural Exploration of a Literary Trend''


"Cli-Fi, Sci-Fi, We All Cry, The End is Nigh: What Cli-Fi Novels Say Aboout the Anthropocene"


"Climate Fictions, Climate Frictions: A Global Warning From Novels and Movies"


"From Trump to Paris: Cli-Fi Novels Explore The Future of Humankind"


"Anthropocene Arguments: How Cli-Fi Changed the Way Novelists Approach Global Warming Issues"


"The Power of Cli-Fi: Has The 'On The Beach' of Climate Change Yet to Be Written?"

"To Live or Die in the Age of Cli-Fi: An Exploration of a 21st Century Genre"

''A Peaceable Kingdom: In Search of Cli-Fi Visions"

"Turning Cli-Fi Studies into Climactic Moments: The Rise of Cli-Fi in the 21st Century"

"Cli-Fi Nights, Cli-Fi Flights: Kingsolver, Rich and Robinson in These Times"

"How Novels Can Save the Planet: The Rise of Cli-Fi in an Age of Hope and Despair"

''Utopian Visions, Climate Divisions:  The Rise of Cli-Fi in a Pivotal Time"

"Faith and Love in an Age of Cli-Fi"

''The Genre Wars: Sci-fi, Cli-fi and America"

''The Battle of the Climate Genres: How Cli-Fi is Replacing Sci-Fi in the 21st Century"

"Cli-Fi: The Road to Ruin, the Road to Redemption"

"Cli-Fi: Nature or Nurture in the Anthrozoic Era"

""The Rise of Cli-Fi in an Era of Resistance and Reordering"

"Cli-Fi: Feast or Famine in the Anthrocene"

"Cli-Fi: Getting from There to Here"

"Climapocalypse or Bust: The Rise of Cli-Fi in an Age of Climate Illiteracy"

"Who Reads Cli-Fi and Why: An Inquiry Into a 21st Century Genre"



[Feel free to ADD your own imagined titles here too, in the comments below.]

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sci-Fi and Scary Website posts a good cli-fi blog today for World Environment Day with book recommendations

Sci-Fi and Scary Website posts a good cli-fi blog today for World Environment Day with book recommendations


Tarred & Feathered @TandFMag   posts a blog link for                 
World Environment Day

https://tandfrestlesssouls.com/2017/06/05/news-world-environment-day/

with a pic

 pic.twitter.com/4lvJ2H6PSb

Cli-fi as a rising literary genre in the MSM is like 水滴石穿 Chinese proverb: "dripping water penetrates stone" which means slowly, over time, it will catch on. Glacially.

Cli-fi as a rising literary genre in the MSM is like 水滴石穿 Chinese proverb: "dripping water penetrates stone"

see full text with pics at

Friday, June 2, 2017

Donald Trump cannot stop the rise of cli-fi novels and movies

 
Civic leaders, mayors, governors, business leaders, investors and the majority of the world community understand that we are in the middle of a clean energy revolution that no single person or group can stop. President Trump's decision was in conflict with what most people want from the American president, but no matter what he has done, the inevitable global transition to a clean energy economy will continue.

More and more cli-fi novels and movies are dipping their toes into these issues, and with film producers in Hollywood like Marshall Herskovitz and Darren Aronofsky up to Trump Denialism, we will be seeing more and more cli-fi novels adapted into screenplays and shown on the silver screen worldwide in a variety of languages.

We are in the Anthrocene, and cli-fi is here to make a difference, ring some alarm bells, set off some warning flares and generally serve as a wake-up call to humanity. Enough of this culture of empty distractions and escapism; the time has come to face facts and buckle up.

We are in for one heck of a ride, and it aint gonna be a pretty picture for the next 30 generations of man. And woman.


Arise!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dos Who? - an OpEd about John Dos Passos by Professor Aaron Shaheen




Dos Who?


an OpEd by Professor Aaron Shaheen


When one thinks of the American modernist pantheon—and who doesn’t at least three times daily?—I suspect the usual names rise to the fore: Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot.


For reasons not always so clear, the name that is often either left off this list, or is at least put on its second tier, is that of John Dos Passos (1896-1970). Dos Passos’s marginality is all the more surprising if one considers the level of sophistication and innovation behind his contributions to modernism.


For instance, the “camera eye” sections of the novels comprising the U.S. A. trilogy were every bit as instrumental in rendering the experience of modernity as Hemingway’s “iceberg” technique or Stein’s literary cubism. Hemingway’s and Stein’s larger-than-life personalities helped them live beyond the novels they wrote. In that crowd, how could the mild-mannered “Dos,” as he was often called, compete?  


In 2011 the life and writings of this frequently neglected writer experienced a modest resurgence when my colleague Victoria Bryan and I founded the John Dos Passos Society. We initially set limited goals for the organization—the publication of an annual newsletter, a showing at the American Literature Association Conference each May, and the occasional correspondence with other, relevant author societies.


But in its first full year of existence, the Society garnered enough interest and memberships that it began planning, at first idly and then intensely, an academic conference to be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee, (where I’m on faculty at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) in conjunction with the one-hundredth anniversary of the start of World War I, which Dos Passos saw up close as an ambulance driver on the Western Front.


The conference did indeed take place, and it attracted scholars and writers from not only the different regions of the United States, but also from Brazil, various European nations, and Japan. By the time the proceedings had concluded, talk was already underway about a second conference, this time in Madrid, a city Dos Passos knew intimately since his adolescent days.


Held in early June 2016, the Madrid conference commanded a generous amount of attention from the Spanish press, particularly after it played a crucial role in reuniting the descendants of the author with those of the author’s friend and translator José Robles, who was executed during the Spanish Civil War. No sooner had the first day of the conference begun than a participating Portuguese scholar volunteered to host the third biennial conference in Lisbon in 2018.


What propelled the success of the Society and, more generally, the growing international enthusiasm for Dos Passos? One must first concede that in much of Europe—Spain and Portugal in particular—the author never really went out of fashion. For instance, in Spain Manhattan Transfer (1925) has been in print ever since it was first translated into Spanish in 1929. But perhaps the most crucial element in this success comes in the form of the author’s grandson, John Dos Passos Coggin, himself an author, who at the time of the Society’s formation in 2011 had dedicated much of his own energies toward keeping his grandfather’s legacy alive.


Bearing a striking resemblance to his namesake, Coggin has done so not only though the website johndospoassos.com and his frequent participation with the Society, but also though various efforts to keep Dos Passos’s writings (particularly from midcentury forward) accessible to the public either in print or electronic form. Much of the grandson’s motivation and support has no doubt come from his mother Lucy, who from the ancestral home in rural Virginia is the chief executor of the Dos Passos literary estate.


While planning for the 2018 Portugal conference is underway, the Society is sponsoring a routable discussion titled “Dos Passos Today” at the American Literature Association annual conference held May 25-28 in Boston. The author once recalled how Ernest Hemingway used to “bawl [him] out for including so much topical stuff” in his novels. But as the Boston panel plans to show, the writer’s emphasis on history and politics, even from an earlier time, offers insight into how we live our lives today. Discussion topics will range from the writer’s presence in contemporary Brazilian politics to his appropriation in the rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election.


The Boston routable scheduled for late May will show Dos Passos’s unnerving prescience. One can’t help but sense a manic energy in his writings. His observations in his fiction and non-fiction alike track the rise and decline of mass movements on both the Left and Right.


Since the year 2000, America has seen swift and dramatic political shifts, from the neoconservatism and overt religiosity of George W. Bush, to the swing leftward with the election of the first African American president in 2008, to the rise of nativist nationalism under Donald Trump in 2016. Given these massive swings in only a half-generation, one wonders if the country really knows what it wants any more than the characters who populate so much to Dos Passos’s fiction know.


I think for instance of Martin Howe and John Andrews, the respective protagonists of One Man’s Initiation (1920) and Three Soldiers (1921), who at first embrace participation in the First World War but then recoil in horror after getting exactly the experience they sought. How different is the present collective American consciousness, with all of its contradictions and ambiguities, from Manhattan Transfer’s Jimmy Herf and Ellen Thatcher, who swerve wildly, even violently, from one pyrrhic answer to life’s problems to another?


These shifts may also reflect that of the writer himself, who by the mid-1930s had abandoned his leftist leanings for a more conservative vision, seeing the latter as the better alternative for preserving individual rights in a century increasingly overrun with the collusion of big government and big business.


Then perhaps, after all, the manic state of national and world politics, more than academic conferences or even a devoted grandson, can best explain the rise in interest in Dos Passos, as is evidenced by the way he has shown up recently in other media.


The author has appeared in film, either as a character (in the 2012 HBO film Hemingway and Gelhorn) or as the subject of Sonia Tercero Ramiro’s 2014 documentary Robles, Duelo al Sol, which recounts the author’s friendship with the scholar José Robles, whose execution by Soviet partisans during the Spanish Civil War initiated Dos Passos’s disillusionment with leftist politics.


This friendship is also recounted in the 2006 Spanish-language nonfiction book by Ignacio Martinez de pison titled Enterrar a Los Muertos, which in 2009 came out in an English-language translation. Finally, a book on the tortured friendship between Ernest Hemingway and Dos Passos has just recently been published by James McGrath Morris titled The Ambulance Drivers. (McGrath initially wanted to make the book exclusively about Dos Passos but was convinced by his editor that the book would sell better if it included Hemingway.) In each of these works the theme of swift and uncontrollable movement—be it in the realm of global politics, personal friendships, or in some inevitable combination of the two—prevails.


But prevails to what end? Usually destruction. Daughter, the automobile enthusiast from 1919 (1932), goes to her inglorious death at the hands of a hung-over pilot in a plane crash, taking her unborn child with her. In a drunken frenzy, Stanwood Emery, the wealthy playboy from Manhattan Transfer, sets himself on fire while singing advertising jingles. In these and other instances, self-annihilation seems nearly as compulsive as booze, sex, or fame.


And in this regard, Dos Passos is at his most prophetic. The choices we make—in our personal friendships, our politics, our finances, or even our consumption habits—often seem to carry the simultaneous promise of liberation and imprisonment, of a beginning and an end.


=========


Aaron Shaheen
UC Foundation Professor of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Campus Box 2703
615 McCallie Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37403





Friday, May 12, 2017

Jewish reporters at major news sites worldwide focus ​on climate change issues, global warming impact events






Jewish reporters at major news sites worldwide
 focus ​on climate change, global warming issues


By staff writer, with agencies


Climate change and global warming impacts us all, and Jewish reporters have often been on the front lines of climate reporting, from George Monbiot in the Guardian newspaper to Andrew Revkin at the New York Times and now with Politico. At Think Progress, Joe Romm delivers sharply worded and well-researched diatribes against climate denialists and he doesn't mince words. And at the New York Times' recently reorganized Climate Desk under Alaska-born-and-raised Hannah Fairfield, veteran Times reporter John Schwartz covers national climate issues along with a team of top-notch journalists.


In France,
Raphaelle Leyris ​reports on climate issues and cli-fi novels at Le Monde newspaper in Paris.


Since global warming is a particularly vexing and complicated issue, it attracts reporters of all faiths unafraid to battle entrenched climate change deniers who populate the current Republican Party under the administration of President Donald Trump.


Even New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. is getting into the act.


According to Hadas Gold, a Revkin colleague at Politico, Sulzberger is completely behind his new hires at the Climate Desk and is adamant that his newspaper will continue to focus on climate change, including more photo essays about rising sea levels impacting cities worldwide, and environmental rules, regulations and other policies rolled back during Trump's first few months in office.


In addition, Gold noted, a recent issue of the Times glossy Sunday Magazine was dedicated to the future of the Earth's climate.


"This [climate] journalism [we do] is unrivaled in its sophistication and imagination," Sulzberger wrote in a recent message to readers. "The support of our subscribers is what allows us to pursue such ambitious stories all over the globe."



The Times offers readers a free online newsletter from its Climate Desk to keep track of future stories and insights.






​In related newspaper news, the unique ​Alaskan background of Times climate editor Fairfield is interesting and makes for a good story. She was raised in Fort Yukon by Episcopalian missionary parents who ministered to the ​spiritual and community needs of ​indigenous Gwich​'​in Athabascan population of the tiny rural village close by the banks of the mighty Yukon River. Fairfield spent her first 18 years there​,​ and in the university town of Fairbanks​,​ before going to college in the Lower 48 and later  joining the Times as a digital storyteller in 2000.​





Fort Yukon, population 600, where Fairfield spent the first four years of her life is populated by Native Alaskans whose ancestors have lived in Alaska for over 10,000 years.  Fairfield moved with her parents to Fairbanks to attend the local public schools, finishing high school in 1992.
In Fort Yukon, her parents and their four children lived in the Episcopalian mission church house and offered what services the church could, including baptisms, weddings and burials. They were one of the few white families in the village, and according to the family, the children cherished their time there.




Think things like Fairbanks at 60 degrees below for three weeks in the winter of 1989. Think life in a subsistence village of rural Alaskans whose ancestors go back centuries. Think boat trips on the Yukon in the summer, fishing for salmon, and yes, eating salmon. Lox!











So what does Alaska mean to this very well-placed climate journalist, Hannah Fairfield? And how has her experience growing up in a Christian missionary family in rural Alaska shaped her views  on nature, God and global warming?





Although a happy and dedicated New Yorker now, and loving it, old-timers in Alaska contend that once you live there you can never really let the place go in your heart and mind and soul -- or in your view of the way the world works. Ask any Alaskan, past or present. It's that kind of place. The Last Frontier.



I know this feeling because I lived in Alaska for 12 years in the late 1970s and 1980s -- mostly in Juneau but with two long winters in Nome -- and although I left the state in 1991, I still keep Alaska close in mind and my experiences there in fact led me to find a home later on in a growing cli-fi community of artists, writers, dreamers and climate activists.



Another thing I am looking forward to, hopefully, will be Fairfield's future policy of capitalizing the word "Earth" in Times' articles about climate change and global warming, since there is no reason on Earth to keep lowercasing it, as the newspaper does now.


It's not "earth Day" in April every year. It's "Earth Day," with a capital E. It's time for the New York Times to adjust their editorial style and start showing more respect for the Earth, our home planet.




Dean Baquet, the top editor at the Times, recently put it this way, in announcing Fairfield's new climate gig in a staff memo: 
''With Hannah's appointment, we aim to build on what has already been dominant coverage of climate change and to establish The Times as a guide to readers on this most important issue. The subject has taken on more urgency as the Earth's temperature continues to break records and a new political leadership in Washington appears poised to make sweeping changes to policies meant to limit carbon emissions."


===============


AND MORE from TIKKUN magazine


Tikkun magazine invites a climate activist of the literary to explain himself

Blogposted:

A few weeks ago, I approached Rabbi Michael Lerner in California, the founder of Tikkun magazine, about writing a blog post for his publication, and he kindly invited me to send my piece in. A few days later, it was published, with the headline "A 'Cli-Fi Missionary' with Jewish Roots Who is Fighting Global Warming."

I started off the oped in a conversational way, writing: "I'm a climate change literary activist and gadfly, and I'd like to talk to you today about something I call cli-fi."


And then I told my story, parts of which are excerpted here, noting: "I'm close to 70, and I graduated from Tufts University in 1971 with a major in literature, and promoting the literary fortunes of cli-fi is now my life work. And I'm Jewish, and my Jewish education and family life in western Massachusetts in the 1950s and 1960s plays a central role, even today, in my climate activism.


''So what's cli-fi? It's a subgenre of sci-fi, according to some observers, and a separate stand-alone genre of its own, according to others. I feel that cli-fi novels and movies can cut through the bitter divide among rightwing denialists and leftwing liberals worldwide over the global warming debate. I'm not into politics; I'm into literature and movies.



''We are a world now divided bitterly over climate change issues. In my view of things, novels and movies can serve to wake people up in ways that politics and ideology cannot. That's where cli-fi comes in. In my late 60s, with a heart attack-related stent keeping my ticker ticking, and my days numbered now, I'm combining my Jewish heritage with its emphasis on social justice with my personal concerns about the future impacts of man-made global warming.


''As a Jewish person, I learned from an early age the need to look out for others and have empathy for the world at large. Climate change is the most important issue the humankind has ever faced. As a Jew, I cannot look away.


''Ten years ago, I coined a new literary term I dubbed 'cli-fi' for 'climate fiction' novels and movies. My coinage with its modelling of the sci-fi term, was picked up by reporters for the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC and San Diego Jewish World where I write occasionally pen a freelance column about Jewish life and culture.


''In 2015, I set up a website called The Cli-Fi Report to broadcast my views about cli-fi and to gather feedback from literary critics and novelists around the world.


''I fund my work myself on a very small shoestring budget in my sunset years, but I had a father who left me an inheritance more important than money: a Yiddish term called 'menschlekeit.' And to be a PR guy for cli-fi in my late 60s is in direct gratitude for the good life I've had on this planet, and it's also my way of saying thanks to my dad and mom, Bernie Bloom from Avenue J in Brooklyn, and Sylvia Epstein Bloom from Blue Hill Avenue in Boston.


''What I want to say today, here in Tikkun, is thank you Bernie and Sylvia. You both taught me that it was important not only to be a mensch in one's daily life but also to try to help 'repair the world' -- tikkun olam in Hebrew.


''And for me, with my contribution of a new literary term to the world, that is what my work on the climate fight is all about: tikkun olam. I am not writing a book about cli-fi, I am not appearing on TV talk shows, and I am not making a documentary about my work. I am not interested in fame or money.


''And despite not having stepped foot in a synagogue for over 40 years,  I'm as Jewish as they come, and I recognize the importance of my Jewish heritage, first described in the second creation story in the Torah, to steward the Earth's resources. That's why I was inspired to coin and publicize the cli-fi term: to try to save future generations of humankind as global warming impact events make themselves felt worldwide more and more over the next 30 generations of man. I'm a visionary of sorts, but I don't hear supernatural voices. I only hear my parents saying to me: 'Danny, don't give up!'


''And so help me God, I'm never giving up.''

After the oped was published online, two responses from readers came in that resonated with me, one from a Jewish man in North America, and another from a Jewish man in Australia.

Richard Schwartz wrote: "Kudos to Dan Bloom. Since most people prefer fiction and movies to factual material, his approach could be a major help in increasing awareness about climate change, so important to help shift our imperilled planet onto a sustainable path.''

And Evan Shapiro, a novelist and public relations consultant in Australia, reached out to me in a longer reaction, writing:

''Thank you for sharing. It's a fascinating and well-outlined perspective. While I'm from Jewish decent, I wasn't brought up Jewish. My grandparents were observant, but both my parents declared themselves as atheists and gave my siblings and I a very liberal upbringing and education here in Australia. My feelings about being Jewish are by no means simple. There have been times in my life I've felt it keenly. There are particular aspects of my life that also make me feel very Australian, though by no means is that very traditional, either.  It's an interesting place to find yourself. As I get older, however, I feel more and more human and observant of social conditioning of all kinds that may or may not have affected my outlook. Appreciative of my background and upbringing but open to looking well beyond them, if that makes sense. It's that sense of humanity beyond the label, or perhaps beneath the label that drives me to communicate ideas of human compassion. From a human perspective, how can we not save our one and only precious planet? Thank you for sharing your honest and open article. I really enjoyed it.''

=================

LINK TO OPED

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Canadian TV talk show talks up 'cli-fi' short story by Canadian writers titled "Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change"

Canadian TV talk show talks up 'cli-fi' short story by Canadian writers titled "Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change"


27 minute video from TV talk show in Canada:
http://tvo.org/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-paikin/cli-fi



Canadian TV talk show talks up 'cli-fi'

by staff writer

For a group of 17 short story writers in Canada, putting together a collection of stories for a new anthology titled "Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change" was a labor of love and a commitment to speak up about the risks and fixes for runaway global warming. Bruce Meyer put out a nationwide call last year for short stories from Canadian authors, and 300 submissions came in, he told this blog. And during a recent television appearance on the "The Agenda" in Ontario hosted by veteran journalist Steve Paikin, Meyers said that he chose 17 stories for the final cut. The book was published by Exile Editions with Michael Callaghan serving as editorial director. Stories by Kate Story, Peter Timmerman, Leslie Goodreid and Nina Munteanu, among 13 others, are contemporary examples of cli-fi writing of the short story kind, and they are getting media attention now across Canada and the rest of the English-speaking world, from Australia to Britain.

Paikin introduced his  TV program that included Meyer, Story and Timmerman on the studio set, by noting that that the new climate change fiction anthology is charting new literary territory.

"Climate change is no fiction, but a new short story anthology attempts to bring an imaginative response to one of the world's greatest crises," he said. "The Agenda welcomes the book's editor and several of its authors to talk about their fictional tales, and why writers need to respond to the threat of climate change."


​For the next 30 minutes, the three panelists and their host chatted about climate change and literature. ​


​"​
The
​Earth's
climate is not infinite
​," Meyer, a well-known literary figure in Canada, said in the introduction of the anthology.​
​"​
The air we breathe, the water we need to sustain life, even the temperature of the day, are all necessary ingredients for the survival of human beings. That said, what we remove from beneath the ground – the coal, oil, gas and metals – do not simply disappear because we release them into the air or the water. The more we make, the more we need to unmake, and that creation of new things, that use of non-renewable resources for energy is an enormous expression of our self-deception: we merely rearrange what already exists in the world, and those rearranged things do not simply disappear because we want them to. The world
​'​
s capacity to absorb and tolerate misplaced carbon, among other things, has reached the point where the balance of nature has been permanently altered by human activities. What is one day
​'​
s resource will become another day
​'​
s waste and another day
​'​
s waste will become another day
​'​
s poison. The result of this process is already evident.
​"

Imagining the results of climate change is nothing new
​,
though it has not been a topic of necessity for most writers in Canada
​, Meyer added, noting:​

​"​
We
​[Canadians] ​
learn to ignore those things that do not celebrate our potential for failure. We write about our successes because success reinforces that status quo and comforts us. The uncomfortable topic, the unsettling reality, is a hard sell to readers and an even harder sell to writers as subject matter.
​"

So his new anthology is an attempt to change all that in literary circles in Canada, he said.


​"​
Canadian literature, by virtue of its thematic matter, should offer some hope
​," according to Meyer.
 
​"​
Canada has produced a literature that is conscious of its setting. The ramifications of nature are omnipresent in the works of Canadian writers; yet for all the wilderness musings of snowfalls or even hard-scrabble dustbowl farming, climate change has not been a major concern, until now. This anthology was an answer to a call that was made by Margaret Atwood in April of 2015.
​"


Meyer explained that​
Atwood visited Barrie, Ontario
​ that year​
to speak at a high-school literary festival
​with ​
t
​he​
evening
​having
a theme: our relationship to the world and what we can do to save it. During her address to the audience, Atwood reminded everyone of the warnings Al Gore, had sounded in his
​2006 ​
film
​''​
An Inconvenient Truth
​.​
​''​
The film went into
​worldwide ​
theatrical release and roused considerable international discussion.

In the middle of Atwood
​'s
discussion of the impact of climate change,
​Meyer recalled, ​
she paused and put a question to the audience:
​"​
Where are all the Canadian writers who should be addressing the greatest crisis of our age?
​" ​
There was dead silence. No one knew how to respond.


​"​
Atwood had been doing her part with her
​"Maddaddam" ​
trilogy of
​climate-themed ​
novels, but the idea of Cli-Fi, the fiction of climate change, had not entered the Canadian imagination as a convenient topic
​," Meyer said.


So the seed was planted for Meyer to create an anthology of Canadian short stories about climate change, and in consultation with publisher Callaghan, the wheels were set in motion. From Margaret Atwood's lips to Bruce Meyer's editorial vision, this book was born.

''Cli-Fi This Week'' -- (May 15 - 22) -- Hundreds of current ''NEWS LINKS'' about the cli-fi genre -- updated *daily*!



''Cli-Fi This Week''

NEWS LINKS, HOT LINKS - just click! on the categories below:

[ updated every day 24/7/365 ]





Cli-fi links


Climate Fiction links


Climate Change Fiction links


Global Warming Novel links


Climate Fiction Novel links





Wednesday, May 3, 2017

''Cli-Fi This Week'' -- ( 8- 15 2017) - NEWS LINKS, HOT LINKS





''Cli-Fi This Week'' - (May  8 - 15)


News Links Via Google Search with hot links (just click! below)
 
updated every 60 seconds 24/7/365 by Google's autobots!


Cli-fi links


Climate Fiction links


Climate Change Fiction links


Global Warming Novel links


Climate Fiction Novel links


Climate Fiction Novels links


see also for weekly updates:


http://cli-fi-books.blogspot.tw/2017/05/cli-fi-this-week-may-1-8-2017-news.html