Sunday, December 10, 2017

Some PhD students' thoughts on the rise of cli-fi, for better or worse....

After reading this very good oped in the UK Guardian, on the rise of cli-fi as a new literary genre, a group of PhD students in the USA opined that they didn't really cotton to Professor Abraham's oped, even though it has become very popular worldwide since its publication.  Here's the oped they took issue with in their group discussion:

''Cli-Fi – A new way to talk about climate change''
by USA scientist and professor John Abraham
subhead: ''If you’re not familiar with the new genre of climate fiction, you might be soon''

And this is what our new-found PhD candidate friends of the cli-fi world had to say about it all:

[slightly annotated and edited for clarification and amplification....]

''To be clear, I actually love this kind of fiction.''

''I would just call that cli-fi stuff that Abraham talks about in his oped as 'environmental science fiction', 'ecocritical dystopia' (Conrad Scott’s term for it—he has a good reading of 'back of the turtle'), 'eco-sf,' or any of the other terms that get used—'cli-fi' is more of a journalistic term than an actual category.''

​''Any description of cli-fi could equally apply to texts like Thomas Disch’s 1971 collection 'The Ruins of Earth' — cli-fi really wants to be a new trend and who knows, in the future, it might take hold. I am waiting to see."

​​“The Cli-fi” term also makes me think of Plo Kloon and other goofy Star Wars names.''

​''I don’t think toxic is the right term, its more that “cli-fi” is a clickbait-y term for a set of texts that should be categorized differently, and as part of a much longer history of sf and eco-fiction. Ditto on what that other guy is saying here.''

''​I gather cli-fi is mostly a conversation happening around social media and in "think pieces" like the Guardian piece on cli-fi that some are  referring to here, but perhaps there is something more substantial written about cli-fi that I'm not familiar with. I need to do some homework on this before I misspeak or put my foot in my mouth without knowing the backstory."

​''So books that take on the subject matter of cli-fi, like a future ravaged by climate change, are ok. Like 'On The Back of Turtle' Just the naming/classification? I’m reading 'The Swan Book' by Alexis Wright, an Aboriginal author in OZ and it's been called Cli-fi, yes.''

Cli-fi  fans emphasize the accuracy of the science (esp in that UK Guardian article, which wants it to “get the science right”). While I can understanding this as the influence of Kim Stanley  Robinson, prioritizing hard SF over “softer” SF is giving me “cold equations” flashbacks.''

''I have no idea what's going on here. Fans being fans, I take it, and that professor being a professor, but what's going on around cli-fi? I've only heard the term once or twice and I had no idea there was so much news now surrounding it.  Any reading tips?''

No comments: