A reliable source in the U.S. book industry TWEETS TO THIS BLOGGER:
Other sources in the book industry in North America also tell this blog:
And another literary source in North America tells this blog over Dr Ghosh's refusal to accept or recognize hyphenized literary terms with hyphens in them such as sci-fi or cli-fi: "Although Dr Ghosh does not mention Margaret Atwood in his book at all, and he does write at length specifically about the ''cli-fi'' genre, -- although very briefly and only in passing, as an afterthought -- and that's too bad. But you should definitely read the book when it is released in the USA in September. I think you would find it interesting. He mentions Barbara Kingsolver and Ian McEwan. But he leave Margaret Atwood out of his book entirely and I don't know why. I think it's good to have these conversations, whatever one's position is on the breadth and depth of climate fiction, or cli-fi as it's been dubbed."
FROM SHREYA ILA ANASUYA's interview with Dr Ghosh:
In a conversation with The Wire, Ghosh answers questions about the most urgent impulses behind the writing of the THE GREAT DERANGEMENT, and how he feels about the framing of climate change as a distant phenomenon in modern cli-fi novels ...
You explore the failure of the contemporary novel, specifically literary fiction, to address climate change. Was ''the novel'' always going to be central to this book and its earlier lectures in Chicago?
I’m looking at the [LITERARY] novel as a symptom of a broader imaginative failure. The novel is one form of writing but I think this failure extends to all forms of writing, including journalism. It’s been very interesting for me because I’ve had so many young journalists come in [to interview me] and some of them have said that climate change is a very distant thing, it’s happening somewhere else.
And I say to them, well, if you’ve been in Delhi these last few weeks, you will have had to live through that incredible heat wave, what have you written about it? None of them have actually written about it. It’s very striking. One can’t help asking oneself why is it that people have just decided to be silent on this.
At the same time, almost all writing on climate change is in non-fiction. I’m a person who is very committed to the novel as a form. When you’re working in a medium which seems unable to recognise the world that’s around you, it raises questions, although I must admit I did not do my homework on the rise of the cli-fi genre in the West and how it has caught on in the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
At the same time, there are novelists working today, like your friend Margaret Atwood in Canada or David Mitchell in the UK, who are blurring these boundaries between so-called ‘serious’ fiction and genre fiction, and also dealing with climate in their work.
Absolutely. I’ve always loved reading science fiction, I’ve even written a book that some people consider science fiction, although I don’t think it is. [NOTE: http://sfonline.barnard.edu/life-un-ltd-feminism-bioscience-race/parasexual-generativity-and-chimeracological-entanglements-in-amitav-ghoshs-the-calcutta-chromosome/ = ''THE CALCUTTA SYNDROME" - 1995
What is interesting though is that when people write about climate change, it is almost automatically hived off into a different substandard gutter genre that nobody takes seriously like sci-fi or cli-fi now. So what is actually being said there? One is that climate change is not serious. What happens there is that it brings into question the idea of seriousness itself. If your seriousness is something the excludes mortal threats, in what sense can that be seriousness?
So just the very fact that climate change comes to be treated in the same way as Martians, space apocalypse (he actually laughs in the interview here!). It just tells you about the disastrous nature of our conception of seriousness. This idea of seriousness then itself becomes part of a great derangement. [NOTE: Dr Ghosh, regarding hyphenated literary genres, it is YOU who is deranged and in denial and actiing like a spoiled schoolboy crying to his father!]
Shreya asks: In defence of Martians, though, there’s a certain kind of contemporary genre fiction that deals in two concepts that you’ve detailed in your book: the uncanny and the agency of the non-human, both of which you use to discuss global warming. I’m thinking about weird fiction, as in the work of China Miéville, and the manner in which it introduces the reader to ultimately unknowable creatures. And it is this kind of fiction that also deserves to be taken seriously.!!!!!!!
It certainly does. All these issues come most dramatically into the spotlight in relation to Doris Lessing. She spent the last years of her life writing what other people considered science fiction. But she did not. And she always repeatedly made the case, as Ursula Le Guin has done, that there is no distinction between these genres. I think Ursula is absolutely right on that and Doris Lessing was right on that.
I find Miéville’s work very interesting, and he does address the uncanny in various forms, but what is also curious about it is that he doesn’t connect those things with climate. That’s why to me Barbara Kingsolver’s cli-fi book (Flight Behaviour) is particularly powerful, because it is set completely within a realistic framework, absolutely within our time. While Margaret Atwood and China Miéville’s speculations are set in the future or in alternate universes, this work is about our present day.
In order for this kind of fiction to be effective, you’re saying it should be set in a recognisable universe?
Absolutely. See, this is the problem: when you actually have a different genre for climate change fiction, it becomes something separate that is not connected with the seriousness of everyday life. [This blog notes: WHAT THE FUCK? IS DR GHOSH INSANE?] But it is absolutely integrated into our everyday life. And that is why you have to ask yourself the question of why mainstream LITERARY HIGH-CLASS fiction [LIKE GHOSH WRITES AS HE EYES A FUTURE NOBEL PRIZE] can’t recognise this. What is the form of blindness that it creates, that somehow your inner state is more important than these absolutely real questions of survival.
IN CONCLUSION: Two thirds of ''THE GREAT DERANGEMENT'' is brilliant. The one-third about literature and climate change fiction is totally bonkers and he will get eaten alive when he arrives in the USA for his book tour in Septemner. In India, where journalist practice PR and never ask pointed questions, especially to a Masterji like Amitavji, the press in India was all gushing and polite PR. That's apparently how Ghosh, who lives most of the year in Brooklyn likes it. But wait till he arrives in America. They will eat him alive for being so arrogant and WRONG about how writers in the West are responding to climate issues and have been for a long long time. America is not backward India. Wake up, Dr Ghosh.