Monday, December 25, 2017

PINNED NOTE: Beginning today and officially as of January 1, 2018, I am taking a year-long break from this blog and working on a nonfiction book about the rise of the cli-fi genre over the past decade or so. See you in 2019!

PINNED BLOG NOTE: Beginning Christmas Day 2017 and officially as of January 1, 2018, I am taking a year-long break from this blog and working on a nonfiction book about the rise of the cli-fi genre over the past decade or so. However, these pages will remain up and you are welcome to post comments on past posts and share book news and climate points of view across the spectrum. For writers looking for more help with placing their novels and marketing them and discussing the ins and outs of the publishing business, my colleague Mary Woodbury in Canada runs a very good literary site devoted to nature writing and climate change novels and you can find a lot of good advice there at her website via [She runs a very good Google+ community chat group there, open to anyone, and she also has a new site devoted to novelists looking for advice of PR and marketing of their climate change themed novels and short stories at]


Nature & Science in Cli-Fi Novels and Movies

Nature & Science in Cli-Fi Novels and Movies

by Maggie Clifford

Scientists have been developing and enhancing climate models to project possible futures under multiple carbon-emission scenarios since the 1970s. Models from the IPCC resoundingly conclude that average global surface temperatures will continue to rise as greenhouse gas forcing continues. Science fiction allows us to explore these possible futures and examine how the present might shape those possibilities. To better understand a few works of cli-fi and what they can contribute to our understanding of the present and of the future, I examine three contemporary cli-fi novels; The Day After Tomorrow (Emmerich 2004), Arctic Rising (Buckell 2012), and The Collapse of Western Civilization (Oreskes & Conway 2014). All three works of cli-fi use, to varying degrees, scientific projections of future climate scenarios and explore how humans and non-human systems might respond. Each work focuses on different possible futures (ice ages to water worlds) and explores climate change as a catalyst for massive social, political, economic, and ecological transformation.

3 Synopses

The Day After Tomorrow (2004 film)
After years of exploitative and shortsighted manipulation of natural resources, humanity faces the wrath of the natural world. A 10-day megastorm sweeps across the Northern Hemisphere and launches the world into another ice age. According to protagonist and paleoclimatologist, Jack Hall, changing ocean currents caused by the melting of polar ice caps have created conditions to catalyze this extreme weather event. As minor squabbles between characters are sprinkled throughout the script, the storm takes center stage as the film’s primary villain and unites all other characters as humanity struggles to survive. Once the eye of the storm dissipates, members of the “developed world” are now guests in the global south, survivors who took shelter in the top floors of NYC skyscrapers are rescued, and the once-dominant ethic of unchecked exploitation of nonhuman resources is replaced with a humbled appreciation for humanity’s inability to control and suppress planetary systems.
Arctic Rising (2012, literary fiction)
arctic rising
In the not-too-distant future, the polar ice caps have broken up and the Arctic Circle has become a boomtown with offshore oil drilling operations, cities afloat on reclaimed military airstrips, and small, self-declared nation states emerging on the last remaining glaciers. As a region situated in international waters, the Arctic Circle is a hot spot for illegal nuclear waste dumping, drug trafficking, and unregulated factories. Anika, an agent for the United Nations Polar Guard (UNPG) is responsible for monitoring boat traffic in the area to catch illegal behavior, primarily nuclear dumping. After discovering radioactive cargo on a ship, Anika’s life is threatened and she must summon all of her military training to outwit and overpower her would-be killers and captors. Against the backdrop of continued global warming and changing geopolitical dynamics, Anika and her allies learn that a private company has taken the fate of the world into their hands. While the plot is upheld by fast-paced action and combat, attention is given to governance structures, competing ethical ideals, and market failures leading to ecological collapse. Based on real world projections produced by the US Navy, Arctic Rising (2012) is Tobias Buckell’s take on a human-centered narrative in a nearly ice-free North Pole.
The Collapse of Western Civilization (2014 literary fiction):
A senior scholar writing from the Second People’s Republic of China in the year 2393 documents the catastrophic dynamics of the 20th and 21st centuries that led to a collapse of western civilization by the late 21st century. The Collapse of Western Civilization (CWC) (Oreskes and Conway 2014) portrays the scientific, political, and economic systems and beliefs that obstructed necessary action to avert climate crises. Drawing on the extensive paper and digitally recorded accounts of the events leading up to the Great Collapse, the narrator describes the nearly unbelievable history of a civilization’s demise that was “not only predictable, but predicted,” (p. 1). Written as a textbook for students in 2393, this essay-turned-book explores how future scholars might reconstruct and understand the socio-politico-economic systems that doomed western civilization to failure.
The Science in the Fiction
All three pieces use scientific projections of climate change to inform their work and to imagine ways that humans might overcome and adapt to immense changes in Earth systems. Because The Day After Tomorrow (DAT) uses an extreme weather event as the basis for its plot, the scientific merit of this particular fiction is most questionable. While real-life climatologist Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf writes that the climatic changes depicted in the film are possible, they would not occur in the time frame of a 10-day storm (2004). Arctic Rising and CWC, however, do not use extreme weather as the major source of drama, and therefore do not need to embellish, speed up, or fabricate climatic events. In Arctic Rising, the Arctic North is ice-free. When author Tobias Buckell first starting writing the book in 2008, an ice-free Arctic seemed like a distant possibility and unlikely to occur within his lifetime, according to the Navy reports he used while researching the subject. By the time the book was published in 2012, however, ice-free summers “are a given very soon,” (p. 302).
Adapting to and Solving Climate Change
In all three climate fictions examined here, human civilization survives monumental climate changes. Although each tale includes large numbers of human deaths (probably millions or billions), by rising sea levels and changing temperatures, there are humans who carry on. Written by science historians, CWC has the most detailed and scientifically plausible descriptions of possible attempts to curb global warming and what surviving populations might look like. As a runaway greenhouse effect continues to warm the Earth throughout the 21st century, according to the historian in CWC, one geoengineering solution to reduce solar radiation is implemented. The international community agrees to inject submicrometer-size sulfate particles into the atmosphere to reduce average global temperatures by .1 degrees C per year. While the plan initially works, untoward side effects cause the international community to end the effort and a phenomenon called termination shock causes more rapid temperature increases. Permafrost ten melts, and the carbon load in the atmosphere is more than doubled. Only after a renegade release of a carbon-eating lichenized fungus, does atmospheric CO2 stabilize and, subsequently, atmospheric temperatures. While the populations of Africa and Australia are wiped out, survivors from Europe, Asia, North America, and the higher altitudes of South America, regroup and rebuild after this stabilization (p. 33).
While warming has occurred in Arctic Rising, leading to an ice-free Arctic, destabilized populations caused by rising seas are only hinted at. A detective that assists Anika is from the Carribean and his personal connection to the effects of global warming are repeatedly hinted at as a motive for his drive to remain with Anika on her mission through great adversity. In response to the runaway greenhouse effect, a private corporation, Gaia, Inc., is releasing reflective orbs into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays in an attempt to reverse global warming. The cost of enacting such a plan in the real world is so expensive and the effects so unpredictable, the international community is unlikely to approve it. Which is why, in Arctic Rising, one of the wealthiest corporations in the world has decided to enact this geoengineering plan on their own. In an attempt to reverse global warming, Gaia, Inc. is releasing reflect orbs into the upper atmosphere and to reduce the solar radiation that reaches Earth’s surface. Similar to CWC, where one renegade Japanese scientist releases the lichenized fungus to transform atmospheric CO2, the geopolitical atmosphere in Arctic Rising does not unilaterally approve of implementing this solution. And unlike either of the other two stories, the humans in DAT have no time to implement any strategy to avert the climate catastrophe caused by the megastorm. They can only do their best to survive the storm and to regroup in its aftermath. While legitimate scientific projections and possible solutions inspired these works, the realistic incorporation of science in climate-related adaptation is variable.
Role of Nature and Animals
More so than in any other work, DAT portrays Nature as a character with a will of its own. The relationship between humans and Nature is clear in the film: humans have caused Earth systems to become imbalanced and Nature is drastically shifting to reach a new equilibrium. In contrast, Nature in Arctic Rising is a backdrop to the human drama. While global warming is upsetting geopolitical order and inspires Gaia Inc. to launch a solar reflecting initiative, the people in the Arctic are benefiting from climate changes and ‘climate change’ is not an adversary to most of the characters (except for the one who is concerned for his family in another part of the world).
In CWC, the role of nature is nebulous. It is unclear whether the diseases and migration caused by global warming are considered nature because the phenomenon is so clearly caused by human activity. Rising sea levels ignite mass migrations and conflict, a Second Black Plague emerges in Europe sometime in the late 21st century, killing over half of Europe’s population and spreading to North American and Asia. While these events are traced back to the Great Collapse of polar ice sheets, which themselves would be considered nature, their collapse would be considered anthropogenic, not natural. So, as in the other two stories, nature has been abused by human exploitation and it is this exploitation that leads to ecological collapse.
None of these works focus particular attention on animals’ response to climate change, but in both CWC and DAT, animals serve as a warning and, sometimes, a threat. In CWC, year 2023 is remembered as the “year of perpetual summer” that resulted in widespread deaths of livestock and companion animals.
“The loss of pet cats and dogs garnered particular attention among wealthy Westerners, but what was anomalous in 2023 soon became the new normal…A shadow of ignorance and denial had fallen over people who considered themselves children of the Enlightenment. It is for this reason that we now know this era as the Period of the Penumbra.” (p. 9)
Flocks of migrating birds alert observant characters in DAT that troubling changes are on their way. As the water inundates a shelter for animals, caretakers marvel that the wolves have escaped while all other species face certain doom. Wolves take on
Climate Change and Culture Change
Migration, massive decline in human population, and an altered climate redefines where and how people live on the Earth. An ice-free Arctic as depicted in Arctic Rising has created a rapidly developing settlement with industry and institutions that thrive in a climate of lawlessness. The most powerful nations are referred to as the Arctic Tiger, comprised of Finland, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, Canada and Alaska. Climate changes have also led to the rise of companies whose products are intended to curb anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The most powerful of these companies are referred to as the Green Giants, of which Gaia Inc. is part. Similarly to Arctic Rising, the power and influence of a capitalist economy and private business are emphasized in DAT. Adherence to the economic dogma of unlimited growth is blamed for the warming that causes the megastorm. In the final moments of the film the Vice President of the United States humbly declares, “For years we operated under the belief that we could continue consuming our planet’s natural resources without consequence. We were wrong. I was wrong.” With this statement, a major cultural shift toward stewardship and sustainability is implied. In CWC, free-market capitalism and the US government do not survive. Neocommunism rises in the aftermath of the Great Collapse (2073-2093). While capitalist nations vehemently opposed communism, it was the greater capacity for communist regimes to relocate their populations that saved this political system. All three fictions explore cultural and geopolitical shifts that could occur as a result of major climatic shifts and the extent of the shifts depends on the time period and intentions of the authors/filmmakers.
Ethics in Climate Fiction
Applicable ethical frameworks are most closely scrutinized in DAT and Arctic Rising. Viewers of DAT might be surprised when any friction between characters is completely absolved by the time the eye of the storm is passing over New York City. Soon after the enormity of the storm is realized, all human characters join together to increase human survival rates. In Arctic Rising, competing ethical frameworks turn out to be the primary cause of conflict in the story. Anika, the protagonist, is concerned with the well-being of individuals and all her efforts to pursue her dangerous missions are based on the strong ethical impulse to protect individual humans. A mastermind behind Gaia Inc., the company launching a geoengineering project to reverse climate change, is, conversely, concerned with systems and lacks concern for individual humans or animals. He is perfectly willing to inflict harm on and kill those who oppose his geoengineered solution. In the end, Anika concludes that solutions of this magnitude must be democratically decided and that individual lives must be honored and considered. Her character is staunchly opposed to an ethical framework based on the ends justifying the means.
Authors’ Intent
Jeffrey Nachmanoff, co-writer for DAT, said in a 2004 interview that hoped the film would inspire dialogue on this important topic. This general sentiment is echoed by Oreskes and Conway, authors of CWC. In an interview included in the epilogue of the book, Conway says, “At best we can hope to have helped (readers) think about the climate of the future,” (p. 79). And Oreskes continues, “You can’t predict what readers will take away. Books are like a message in a bottle. You hope someone will open it, read it, and get the message. Whatever that is,” (p. 79). Both Oreskes and Conway are historians of science at respected educational institutions (Harvard and CalTech, respectively) and so their treatment of the topic is rooted in their decades-long investigation of the role(s) science plays in popular culture and, in particular, in climate change. Tobias Buckell, author of Arctic Rising, researched climate projections and political shifts related to climate change using Navy reports. According to his website and the acknowledgments in his book, he is interested in ‘around-the-corner ecological futures’ and this general interest inspired Arctic Rising. It appears that inspiration for all three of these works came from a desire to simultaneously entertain and to encourage dialogue on climate change.
These three works provide entry points for nuanced discussion of potential effects climatic changes may have on our world. Far from the sterile graphs depicting warming surface temperatures over most parts of the globe, these works explore how economic, political, and personal relationships may transform as sea levels rise, temperatures change, and geopolitical power dynamics shift. Extrapolating on scientists’ best guesses for climatic changes through a futurist, fictional lens allows writers to explore future scenarios that climate models cannot account for. While climate modelers struggle to discover which biophysical inputs make significant changes on Earth’s systems, fiction writers strive to understand what elements of human culture will be encouraged or stifled in a vastly different world. Neither the climate modelers nor the fiction writers have a crystal ball to predict what the human world will look like beyond year 2100, but collaborations between these minds can, at the very least, give us frameworks for discussing what might be and how we could prepare for these future possibilities.

Cli-fi Novels and Movies in the Anthrocene

A Conversation Series in NYC in 2018:

''The Art and Activism of the Anthrocene''

Climate change is already happening. Around the world, scientists, novelists, film directors and activists are addressing it in media from cli-fi novels and movies to live theater. This series brings together novelists, writers, journalists, and theater artists in robust discussions on how they address climate change - and why their work is important in the Anthrocene.

Don't Shoot the Messenger: The Challenging Narratives of Climate Change

with William T. Vollman, Chantal Bilodeau, and David Wallace-Wells
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 6:30 pm
These panelists approach climate-change dialogues through different mediums - book-length and magazine journalism, and through theater. They'll discuss their approach to gathering stories, their thoughts on why these stories matter, and the challenges they've faced when shaping issues of climate change into digestible narratives for the public.

Strange Realities: Art and Activism in Transitional Environments

with Jeff VanderMeer, Zaria Forman, Gleb Raygorodetsky, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy, speaks with visual artist Zaria Forman, conservation biologist Gleb Raygorodetsky, and Indigenous leader Victoria Tauli-Corpuz about "transitional environments" - regions of land undergoing change so dramatic they're barely recognizable. They will discuss how art and activism can bring greater awareness to the communities and environs most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Imagining the Impossible: The Role of Feature Films and Novels in Understanding Climate Change

with Amitav Ghosh, Helen Phillips, and Nathan Kensinger
Authors Amitav Ghosh and Helen Phillips talks with photographer and filmmaker Nathan Kensinger about the role novelists and artists play in helping others to better imagine the effects of climate change.

All events take place at the New York Society Library, 53 East 79th Street

These events are open to the public and free of charge, but registration is required. To register, contact the Library's Events Office at or 212.288.6900 x230. Library members may also register online.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Meet ''Taiwan's Charlie Chaplin of the Art World'' in New York City and Worldwide: Mr. Chin Chih Yang

UPDATE: Mr Yang will attend the March 2018 documentary film festival in Chiayi in south Taiwan as a special guest of the event for the screening of his movie by Director Huang.

Renowned Taiwanese filmmaker director Ming-Chuan Huang has made a 85-minute documentary titled FACE THE EARTH about Taiwanese-American performance artist Chin Chih Yang to explore the artist’s lifelong focus on the culture of waste. The documentary has been shown already in New York City in November 2017 and is set for a Taiwan premiere in March at the Chiayi International Documentary Festival, which Director Huang chairs each year in his hometown.

NYC headline: "Queens museum premieres a documentary about the eccectric and colorful performance artist Chin Chih Yang."

In the documentary, one of the culture mavens in the NYC art world refers to Mr Yang as "Taiwan's Charlie Chaplin [of the NYC Art World]." It's a fantastic and apt nickname. Let the entire world hear and see more from this avant-garde artiste!

It’s a film about a one-of-a-kind personality.
In November 2017, Queens Museum screened “Face The Earth,” a documentary on Taiwanese-American performance artist Chin Chin Yang.

The very definition of the term “colorful character,” the Taiwan-born Yang who has lived in the USA for over 30 years has had a lifelong obsession with garbage and the throw-away culture. He’s also had a long-time affiliation with Queens.
In July 2012, he introduced “Kill Me or Change” to bring attention to his contention that the average American throws away 30,000 aluminum cans over their lifetime. He sat in a public space near the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park while a crane suspended a mesh net containing 30,000 such cans about 60 feet above his head. An audience member then pulled a string and the net opened, allowing the contents to fall onto his head and bury his body.

In October 2010, he publicized “My New Job” which entailed walking across Queens College’s campus and picking up garbage to use in an installation between Klapper Hall and the Dining Hall. He was also part of a group exhibit at Flux Factory in Long Island City.

Face The Earth,” which lasts 85 minutes, mixes scenes of Yang’s projects and interviews with collaborators and others in the art world. Viewers will see clips from “Burning Ice,” a piece that involved Yang sitting on a giant block of ice in Manhattan’s Union Square and imploring passers-by to ponder the polar ice cap, which he claimed would melt entirely by 2050. They will also watch Yang make cloth out of potato chip bags and spearhead an effort to create a Giant Can Family at the Contemporary Art Museum of Taipei. In a political episode, he projects a giant Taiwanese flag onto the United Nations, which denies the island nation membership due to differences with China.
Tom Finkelpearl, who ran Queens Museum at the time of “Kill Me or Change” and is currently the NYC Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, appears in the movie, as does Peini Hsieh, the former Commissioner of the Taiwanese Department of Cultural Affairs.

About Chin Chih Yang


Multidisciplinary performance artist Chin Chih Yang was born in Taiwan, grew up there, did his military service there some 40 years ago, and has resided for about 30 years in the USA in New York City. He holds degrees from Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design. Among other honors, he has been awarded grants by The New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Franklin Furnace Archive, MacDowell Colony and more.


Yang’s interests in ecology and constructed environments have resulted in interactive performances and installations in the United States, Poland, Finland, Austria, Germany, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. He has exhibited/performed at Rockefeller Center, the United Nations, Union Square Park, The Queens Museum, the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Exit Art, Flux Factory and in 2016 the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei hosted a major retrospective. All told, Yang strives to lead audiences to a more direct awareness of the effects of contemporary technology and engender compassion for all humanity.

As a footnote to his biography, 
Chin Chih Yang contracted a virus which affected his muscles and nerves
of his face at the time of his military service in Taiwan some 40 years ago. 
As viewers of the documentary will see, it has made him difficult to speak clearly at times but in general it has not impacted his communication skills as a speaker or as an artist.
Indeed, still photos do not tell much about Mr Yang's personal struggles over the years
with his physical difficulties. Only video , moving images, and his voice, can tell. And it is this doc
which intimately tells medical history of this man and his family side by
side with his public art performances. Many of Yang's artist friends in the New York
art world do not know fully of his works over the last 20 years, not
mentioning his 5 time surgeries of his face and the heart problem which
have haunted almost all members of his family for a long time.

About Director Ming-Chuan Huang

Born in Chiayi in south Taiwan in 1955, Ming-Chuan lives now in Taipei where after a career in feature films, some of them avant-garde and edgy (and controversial) now works with documentary films. Graduating from the Department of Law of National Taiwan University, he went to the USA to study Lithographic Printmaking in Art Students League of New York and Fine Arts and Photography at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Huan’s feature film THE MAN FROM ISLAND WEST claimed an Excellent Cinematography Award at Hawaii international Film Festival and a Silver Screen Award at Singapore international Film Festival in 1990. In 1998 his FLAT TYRE was awarded Best film in the non-commercial category at Taipei Film Festival and Jury Award at the Golden Horse Festival, Taiwan.

Ming-Chuan has been the artistic director of the Chiayi City International Art Doc Film Festival since 2014.


FACE THE EARTH puts viewers right next to Yang as 30,000 aluminum cans are dumped on his head to call our attention to the vast amount of waste each of us creates – the average person uses and discards 30,000 cans in their lifetime! Sit alongside Chin Chih and passersby in New York City’s storied Union Square, on a giant block of ice and ponder the possibility that the polar ice cap will be gone by 2050. Watch the public participate with the artist to help him create his Giant Can Family at the Contemporary Art Museum of Taipei. Learn how he makes sturdy whole cloth out of discarded potato chip bags and gain insight into how each of us can FACE THE EARTH and contribute to her resuscitation.

This 85-minute documentary film intersperses scenes of the artist at work with in-depth interviews with Tom Finkelpearl, The Commissioner of Cultural Affairs of the City of New York; Dr. Martha Wilson, Founding Director of Franklin Furnace Archive; Michael L. Royce, Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts, Robert C. Morgan, Ph.D. – Artist/Art Critic, Steve Cannon – A Gathering of the Tribes, Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful – artist, Jeffrey Grunthaner – writer, James Leonard – Artist, John Downing Bonafede – Artist, John Ahearn – Artist, Manfred Kirchheimer – film maker / professor of film at SVA, Heidi Jain – photography teacher and others. 

 Directed and Produced by Huang Mingchuan, and produced by Formosa Filmedia Company, FACE THE EARTH includes footage by Annie Berman, Wang Yi Chang, Ray Huang, Liu Kuanting, Wang Shau-gung, Nick McGovern, Sen-I Yu, Doll Chao, Johanna Naukkarinen, Jing Wang, Susan L Yung and others. Photography by Rodrigo Salazar, John Bonafede, John Ahearn, Justen Ladda, Tom Otterness, Julie Lemberger and others.

FACE THE EARTH is sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Taiwan, and copyrighted 2017 by Ming-Chuan Huang and Chin Chih Yang.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

The day before Xmas in Taiwan, a cute sign outside a small gift shop reads "Merry Chris"

The day before Xmas in Taiwan, a cute sign outside a small gift shop reads "Merry Chris"
"Merry Chris" 

The day before Xmas in Taiwan, a cute sign outside a small gift shop reads "Merry Chris"

The day before Xmas in Taiwan, a cute sign outside a small gift shop reads "Merry Chris"
"Merry Chris" 

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?''


A friend of the global cli-fi world tells me today a funny story. A PhD student in California, she writes: “Cli-fi” makes me think of Plo Kloon and other goofy 'Star Wars' names ." I never heard of this character.

Who is PLO KLOON and how does one pronounce the name?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Yes #Clifi is a thing.Doug Parsons interviews Amy Brady to explain in this online podcast from 2017

America Adapts @usaadapts 12 小時前
Yes is a thing.

Subscribe/listen to podcast on Apple Podcasts.Now on Spotify! Listen here. On Google Play here. Please share on Facebook! On Twitter: @usaadapts Donate to America Adapts (We are now a tax deductible charitable organization!) In episode 32 of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks “Cli-Fi” with Dr. Amy Brady, Senior Editor with the Chicago Review of Books.  Amy just debuted a monthly column dedicated specifically to cli-fi called "Burning Worlds." Doug and Amy cover such diverse topics as: CLI-FI – What is Cli-Fi? Learn the history of this emerging genre of fiction. BURNING WORLDS - Amy describes her new monthly column focusing on this emerging field and what she hopes to accomplish with the column. AUTHOR AS CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVIST – Amy explains the backgrounds of various Cli-Fi authors and how some see their role as inspiring readers to take action on climate change. SCIENCE FICTION OR HIGH ART – Since Cli Fi is such a new area of fiction, it’s unclear if it’s considered just another form of science fiction, or something else. Doug and Amy discuss the controversies associated with the genre. SCIENCE OR SCIENCE FICTION – Doug and Amy discuss the use of sound science in writing Cli-Fi and what responsibilities authors feel in using science in writing fiction. NUCLEAR AGE VERSUS THE CLIMATE AGE – Doug and Amy discuss the parallels between the nuclear age of the 50s and 60s and how that drove science fiction writing and how climate change will influence literature. SCENARIO PLANNING WITH FICTION WRITERS – Doug and Amy discuss the possibility of fiction writers joining adaptation planners and scientists in the scenario planning process, relying on their creative talents to create a likely future scenario. GRAPES OF WRATH – Amy argues that John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was the original Cli-Fi novel. MUST READ CLI FI AUTHORS – Amy gives her suggestions on Cli Fi authors. She identifies books for new readers or for the robust consumers of fiction.  Additional Segment(starts at 55:45 into podcast):  Dr. Molly Cross (previous guest!) and Darren Long from the Wildlife Conservation Society come on for a short discussion to promote the call for proposals for the Adaptation Fund, one of the first granting programs focusing on climate adaptation. They discuss deadlines, strategies for applying and examples of previous grantees. We also briefly discuss the Atlanta Falcons historic collapse in the Super Bowl (Darren is a big Falcons fan). Additional Resources: Dr. Amy Brady Burning World Column Cli Fi resources: and Essays that provide quick overviews of the genre: Anti Cli-Fi:  emerging as a conservative rebuttal to clifi's more progressive stance on climate change: Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adaptation Fund America Adapts also has its own app for your listening pleasure!  Just visit the App store on Apple or Google Play on Android and search “America Adapts.” Finally, yes, most of your favorite podcasts are supported by listeners just like you! Please consider supporting this podcast by donating through America Adapt's fiscal sponsor, the Social Good Fund. All donations are now tax deductible! For more information on this podcast, visit the website at and don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on Itunes.   America Adapts on Facebook!   Join the America Adapts Facebook Community Group. Check us out, we’re also on YouTube! Subscribe to America Adapts on Itunes Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com .

The dedication page of the novel reads "For Spunky Knowsalot" who is, according to sources the New York York Times did not check with for confirmation, is none other than Bill's writer wife Sue Halpern, like McKibben, a longtime transplanted Vermonter, she from New York, he from Boston.

Jennifer Senior, one of the daily book reviewers on staff at the New York Times finally reviews Bill McKibben's debut cli-fi lite novel RADIO FREE VERMONT 30 days after publication on November 7 after dozens of small papers reviewed the book will 5 stars and thumbs up -- this way with a headline reading ''A Polite Drive for Secession in ‘Radio Free Vermont’''

The dedication page of the novel reads "For Spunky Knowsalot" who is, according to sources the New York York Times did not check with for confirmation, is none other than Bill's writer wife Sue Halpern, like McKibben, a longtime transplanted Vermonter, she from New York, he from Boston.

EXCERPT from the paywalled review, with slight editorial annotations and edits here by this blogger for amplification and clarification:

".....Like Mailer and Breslin, the central character of Vern Barclay, the old-school radio host and "forever young" hero of Bill McKibben’s ''cli-fi lite'' debut novel “Radio Free Vermont,” doesn’t truly believe he’ll have any success with the secessionist movement he leads. He’s an accidental renegade, a guy who fell backward into the revolution business while reporting his final story.

That was that. A movement for Vermont’s independence was born.
In his public appearances, McKibben, a Vermonter and one of the best-known environmentalists of our age, can be an extremely droll and appealing Cassandra.

But there was little in his many previous books to suggest he can pull off a novel-length satire. He’s a serious man.

(To Bill Maher, who complained that McKibben wasn’t giving him enough hopeful news, the author said: “This is your fault. You asked someone on whose most famous book was called ‘The End of Nature,’ O.K.?”)
Yet “Radio Free Vermont” is a charming bit of artisanal resistance lit. It’s a bit rough, with the occasional nailhead poking up too high. (Perry’s upspeak? It gets to be, um, a bit much?) But what’s surprising is how well-crafted the book is overall; how unhokey its folksiness feels, and how true its observations ring.
The finest running joke in “Radio Free Vermont” — not least for being so plausible — is that Barclay and his supporters are a supremely pleasant group of separatists. When he disrupts the canned music at Starbucks to point out that Vermont has plenty of locally owned coffee shops, he signs off with, “Remember: small is kind of nice.” When his pal Sylvia, the woman who provides him shelter in her farmhouse, hijacks a Coors truck — who needs Big Beer in a state with Hill Farmstead and Heady Topper? — she hands the driver a picnic lunch and apologizes for including only one Long Trail Coffee Stout. “We’re serious about DUI in this state,” she says, “but I think you’ll find it filling.”

Walmart’s management assumed Barclay was responsible for the stunt. He wasn’t. It was the handiwork of a 19-year-old hacker and social activist named Perry, a kid Barclay had never met before. It didn’t matter; he and Perry were now in the soup together. The two fled, took refuge in an old farmhouse and began a series of untraceable podcasts. “Underground, underfoot and underpowered” became its tagline, with every broadcast sponsored by a different Vermont-made craft beer. Vermont has almost as many microbreweries making craft beer as it does pet cats.

That was that. A movement for Vermont’s independence was born.

.....“Radio Free Vermont” is a charming bit of artisanal resistance lit. It’s a bit rough, with the occasional nailhead poking up too high. (Perry’s upspeak? It gets to be, um, a bit much?) But what’s surprising is how well-crafted the book is overall; how unhokey its folksiness feels, and how true its observations ring.

The finest running joke in “Radio Free Vermont” — not least for being so plausible — is that Barclay and his supporters are a supremely pleasant group of separatists.

When he disrupts the canned music at Starbucks to point out that Vermont has plenty of locally owned coffee shops, he signs off with, “Remember: small is kind of nice.” When his pal Sylvia, the woman who provides him shelter in her farmhouse, hijacks a Coors truck — who needs Big Beer in a state with Hill Farmstead and Heady Topper? — she hands the driver a picnic lunch and apologizes for including only one Long Trail Coffee Stout.

“We’re serious about DUI in this state,” she says, “but I think you’ll find it filling.”

Lest you think this is just the latest blue-state-flavored ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, remember: Vermonters love their guns.

The ability to shoot them — while skiing — figures prominently in the plot. Barclay is a former coach of high school biathletes. One of his former students, a woman named Trance, won a gold medal in the Olympics, was a sharpshooter in Iraq and ultimately becomes a heroine of the Vermont independence movement.

“Radio Free Vermont” is more than “A Fable of Resistance,” as its subtitle says.

It’s a love letter to the modest, treed-in landscape of Vermont, which Barclay wouldn’t trade for all the grandeur of Montana.

It’s a dirge for the intense cold, which Barclay sorely misses — why is the world now brown in January, rather than white? (“It made him feel old,” McKibben writes, “as if he’d outlived the very climate of his life.”)

It is an elegy for a slower, saner Vermont — “the world’s rush was doing it in” — and dependable Yankee virtues, like neighborliness and self-reliance and financial prudence.

The book also helps contextualize Bernie Sanders’s anti-establishment crankiness. Barclay likes to remind his listeners that Vermont was once its own republic.

Throughout the story, the secessionist movement gains in popularity. Bumper stickers start appearing on cars: “Barclay for Governor.” “Barclay for Prime Minister.”

Post offices start flying a new Free Vermont flag designed by Barclay’s mother. (The New York Times in the novel even runs a Timesy feature story under the headline, “In Quaint Green Mountain Hamlets, a Push For Independence.” Gotta admit that’s pretty good. Yes, Jen, very good!) Barclay increasingly devotes his podcasts to questions of feasibility were a divorce to take place: Can Vermonters defend themselves with guns? How would its citizens collect on their Social Security?

McKibben never suggests he truly believes secession is the solution in times of political turmoil.

If anything, it’s the opposite; Barclay eventually worries he’s asking people “to do something a little dangerous and more than a little weird.”

What he’s proposing is merely a thought experiment, daring the reader to ponder the virtues of smallness in an age of military and corporate gigantism. In his acknowledgments, he notes that Vermont has already had one “minor-league attempt” at a secession movement, about a decade ago, that failed, spectacularly.

The dedication page of the novel itself reads "For Spunky Knowsalot" who is, according to sources the New York York Times did not check with for confirmation, is none other than Bill's writer wife Sue Halpern, like McKibben, a longtime transplanted Vermonter, she from New York, he from Boston.

But if non-Vermonters need refuge in the months or years ahead of the evil undemocratic Hitlerian Trump administration, Bill adds in his afterword: “you’re all welcome to come to the Green Mountain State. We’ll teach you to drive dirt roads in mud season.”


Friday, December 1, 2017

Chris Beckett with his new book America City

American novelist Amitav Ghosh stirred literary circles up recently with his rebuke to “realist” modes of writing. Where, he asked, is all the fiction about climate change?

Well, it turns out that the answer is ''cli-fi,'' aka climate fiction, which Ghosh was aware of at the time of his writing and even mentioned in his book about climate change, The Great Denouement.

Genre writing has been exploring the possible futures of climate change for many years, and 2017’s three best novels engage in powerful and varied ways with precisely that subject. Kim Stanley Robinson is the unofficial laureate of future climatology, and his cli-fi novel titled New York 2140 (Orbit), a multilayered cli-fi novel set in a flooded Big Apple, is by any standard an enormous achievement. It is as much a reflection on how we might fit climate change into fiction as it is a detailed, scientifically literate representation of its possible consequences.
Just as rich, though much tighter in narrative focus, is Paul McAuley’s superb cli-fi novel titled  Austral (Gollancz), set in a powerfully realised near‑future Antarctica transformed by global warming.

Chris Beckett in the UK with his new cli-fi novel ''AMERICA CITY'' (photo)

Chris Beckett with his new book America City. Picture: Keith Heppell
Chris Beckett in the UK with his new cli-fi novel ''AMERICA CITY''

Chris Beckett  tweeted to this blogger at 1:09 AM on Sat, Dec 02, 2017:

 ''I'm very happy for you to call it Cli-Fi!''