Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cli-Fi in ITALY: Bruno Arpaia's new cli-fi novel ''Qualcosa là fuori''

Fino a qualche anno fa era considerata un sottogenere della fantascienza. Si tratta della climate fiction, il genere letterario che si occupa delle possibili conseguenze del cambiamento climatico. La definizione è dello scrittore e giornalista nordamericano Dan Bloom: divenuta “cli-fi”, per analogia con la “sci-fi”, l’abbreviazione inglese della science fiction. «Quando la scrittrice canadese Margaret Atwood ha ritwittato la nuova definizione ai suoi 500mila follower, le case editrici hanno cominciato a occuparsene come di un fenomeno con dignità propria. Sempre più autori hanno cominciato a scrivere romanzi in questo solco e sono nati corsi universitari e progetti di ricerca dedicati al suo studio». A raccontarcelo è Bruno Arpaia, scrittore, giornalista e traduttore di letteratura spagnola e sudamericana. In Italia la prima cli-fi è il suo romanzo Qualcosa là fuori, uscito il 28 aprile.

Until a few years ago was considered a subgenus of science fiction. This is the climate fiction, the literary genre that deals with the possible consequences of climate change. The definition is of the writer and journalist North American Dan Bloom: become "cli-fi", by analogy with the "sci-fi", the English abbreviation of science fiction. "When the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood ritwittato has the new definition to its 500,000 followers, publishing houses have begun to deal with them as a phenomenon with dignity. Always more authors have begun to write novels in this furrow and are born university courses and research projects dedicated to his studio". To raccontarcelo is Bruno Arpaia, writer, journalist and translator of Spanish literature and sudamericana. In Italy the first cli-fi is his novel something out there, released on 28 April.

What distinguishes the "cli-fi" from science fiction?

The distopie told from climate fiction are often staged in a near future, very linked to the contemporary reality. Margaret Atwood speaks of speculative fiction novels of speculative, congetturali, offering the reader a vision of what could happen on our planet, or even what is already happening, although in many not knowing. The scenarios imagined by "cli-fi" also derive from a careful study of scientific production on the topic without indulgent concessions "apocalyptic". You must be able to transform these scientific acquisitions in visions, inserting them in a braid exciting, with credible characters, and looking at the same time be understandable, but without renouncing to the complexity.

On which scientific studies it is based to build the setting of his novel?

My protagonists move from Naples to Stanford in the United States, then in Germany and Sweden, in scenarios included, often to the letter, from those outlined in the assay of Gwynne Dyer wars of the climate. I have them carefully compared with the reports of the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and of the European Environment Agency, which however according to many scientists sin for defect: not to bad faith, but because they can only take into account the data unanimously accepted. For this I wanted to also take into account other, like those of James Hansen and Dennis Bushnell of Nasa, or the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Oxford, and many authors of books more informative as James R. Flynn, David Keith, Bill Streever or Laurence C. Smith. My, therefore, is an operation scientifically documented, with the advantage of speaking to the emotions of the reader.

The revolutionary potential of climate fiction lies precisely in the emotional involvement of the reader: why?

The U.S. magazine Athlantic has even asked if these novels will be able to save the planet, sensitising finally large masses and political men to the problems of climate change. In North America the success of the genre is enormous, especially among the younger audience. The cli-fi offers the opportunity to know more about climate change by activating the emotional part of ourselves. "Live" through a novel The Innalza-mento of sea level in New York, or participate with the protagonists of a story to a tragic climate migration in a Germany desertificata, strikes us straight to the heart, and thanks to the empathy with the characters immerses us in complex scientific issues that are at the basis of the events recounted here. The maximum quantity of carbon dioxide tolerable in the atmosphere to the methane contained in permafrost, from the rate of dissolution of the glaciers of Greenland to the acidity of the seas. Without neglecting the ruinous impact of climate change on society, the economy, on world politics: migration, wars for water, deepening of economic differences, rickety democracies and track of this step. Reading, as happened to me while I wrote my book, we are migrants climate, we see the sea which covers Venice or Hamburg, feel the powder, hunger, thirst as if we were the ones to live them.

In this way the player passes from cold reading of numbers and scientific predictions to the experience of what might happen if you do not do anything to stop global warming, is so?

Yes, is the great power of the stories, the oldest and most effective that humanity has invented for transmitting experience. Today we also know that this capacity of the narratives that strike to the heart depends on the structure of the brain, from neurons mirror, by the fact that our gray matter is "a machine for future evolutasi" thanks to the fact that they have acquired the ability to tell stories even to ourselves. Certainly, the possibility of a world hungry, thirsty and shocked by the violence as what I describe in my novel is not attractive. Yet at this point, highly likely.

Why is it so difficult to communicate the climate change and to raise the awareness of public opinion on the need to act as soon as possible?

In the novel of cli-fi Solar Ian Mc Ewan, one of the characters says that take the topic with the seriousness due would not think of anything else. The rest, in comparison, would become irrelevant. Behold, the trouble is all here. Faced with the enormity of the problem and the chasing of daily life, most people cannot take this seriously. And yet, if the atomic bomb was the great global fear of the Twentieth Century, climate change is one of the twenty-first century. Everyone is talking about it, many fear him vaguely, some people are wary, other gather in the shoulders; very few, however, take the trouble to build a reasoned opinion on the matter or, better still, to do something. The scientific debate on global warming is difficult to follow: we have to do with complexity never addressed before, with an infinite of factors in the field, models still inadequate, often incapable of providing all possible feedback or the same operation of some vital cycles of the planet. Thus, very often, news really shocking for our future or our children raise just a thrill of fear and are immediately forget.

And it is here that you can insert the cli-fi…

Yes, you can beat the roads less traditional scientific disclosure. For example, you can write novels and bring the reader into a scenario in which nothing is being done to prevent global warming, to manipulate consciences and to push for a true change of course. I tried.

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