Monday, August 22, 2016

A Facebook group page focuses on cli-fi and ecocriticism, with academics the majority of its members worldwide.

Dan Bloom

As the cli fi genre of literature continues to worldbuild a global community, several online sites now are bringing together people interested in the emerging genre, either as readers or writers, as the Washington Post recently reported in an oped by Dan Bloom in the
Post’s “PostEverything” section.

Among the online sites focusing on the cli fi genre a few years ago was one set up by aconcerned citizen in London, who felt that the issues facing humankind in the future will be important to solve. One way is to publish cli fi novels.

So the Facebook cli-fi group page was set up to encourage a dialogue between anyone with an interest in the emerging genre. The FB group now has over 500  members, and while it is a private group and all posts and comments remain private, anyone is welcome to apply to join the group.

The term ‘cli-fi’ (short for climate fiction) describes a loose collection of novels, films, plays, works of art and even video games which all touch on, or are concerned with, climate change.

“I am really interested in the potential of cli-fi to engage a wide and diverse audience on the issues around climate change and influence the debate,” he said . “With this in mind, I set up the Facebook cli-fi group for anyone with an interest in cli-fi to share and discuss their work, ideas and find out more about this exciting genre.”

How the British man became interested in the cli-fi genre is an interesting story.

“I thought I was a newcomer to the cli-fi genre. But in reality, I’ve been unwittingly reading books that fall within that category for a while,” he says. “I’m an environmentalist and believe that writers of fiction are missing a trick in fully engaging with people on environmental concerns and influencing the debate on those issues on a global scale . It’s heartening that there are a number of excellent books out there that could be making a difference to the thinking of a wide audience of different age groups. Despite this, I still think there are a number of hurdles that would need to be overcome if we are
to invigorate the genre and make the most of its potential.”

Writers of the genre should share thoughts and ideas of what falls within the scope of the new genre, he believes, and asks: “Should we go beyond the consequences of weather events? Is there too much talk of science which could alienate readers? Where are the political characters in plots? Is there too much pessimism, should we focus our
optimistic eye?”

He  said he thinks there’s a huge potential audience for cli-fi out there. And he no longer feels alone.

Google ‘cli-fi’ and you’ll come across some fantastic articles and interviews on the subject and there are great resources worldwide now  posing even more questions.

“So what do the literary agents and publishers think? Are they prepared to take a risk with new writers from a varied pool of talent that may exist beyond the usual boundaries, for example scientists?”

“Self-publishing isn’t an option for every wannabe author and without the backing of an agent and publisher, what could be a wonderful idea for a book that could really connect with an audience on a global scale, is simply lost,” he adds. “That would be a real shame.”

“Yes, the ideal would be for an author to prepare the usual pitch and draft chapters for an agent but what about those who have the ideas for a game-changing book but need a nod of hope from an agent or publisher before being able to commit a huge amount of time to such a project?” he adds. “Yes, there is always the risk that what emerges at the end of the writing is not marketable or indeed any good, but a more willing approach could make all the difference to invigorating the cli-fi genre and making a real difference to how we engage on the environment.

Cli-fi readers and writers and academics worldwide are invited to come and join the Facebook cli-fi group.

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