Tuesday, October 30, 2018

" Long Live Climate Fiction!'' - A blog by Jimbo

a blog by Jimbo. He writes, (with brief edits and corrections for amplification and clarification by blogger and PR operative Dan Bloom) ...

I’ve been following the evolving ''Climate Fiction'' (Cli-Fi) genre for several years. And yes, it takes a hyphen. But what is Cli-Fi? I saw some cool things when the media, and TIME magazine in particular in its May 9, 2015 issue by Lily Rothman, began referring to the recent movie remake of ''Godzilla'' as a Cli-Fi movie (for summer magazine preview reaesons). All it takes is mention of the words “global warming” to get people thinking.
Now Amazon Original Series has entered the field, recently releasing its Warmer Collection series of 7 Cli-Fi short stories. The seven short stories by 7 top writers are relatively short, ranging from just over 30 minutes to about 2 hours in the audio format. I’ve listened to all of them. So.... where are we now?.....some 5 years into the Cli-Fi genre, given that it really began to take off only in 2013 after that NPR segment by Angela Evancie that went viral?
I’ve read some great books I would consider to be Cli-Fi, including Paolo Bacigalupi’s Windup Girl, James Powell’s 2084: An Oral History of the Great Warming, Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140, David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, and Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow.
Of course, the term “great” presupposes what you expect from Cli-Fi (or any other genre). Cli-Fi as a genre is intended to influence readers’ thinking about climate change.
As you know, I come to Cli-Fi primarily out of my interest in communicating climate change. As a result, I tend to hope Cli-Fi novels will engage readers in thinking about global warming in new ways. And that’s a frame I define as “effective”.
What are some different ways of looking at Cli-Fi? How are they represented in the larger Cli-Fi literature? One way to categorize Cli-Fi is: Cli-Fi as catharsis, Cli-Fi as apocalyptic , Cli-Fi as effective communications tool, and Cli-Fi as something for Hollywood to explore (like in the movie ''Godzilla'' and "Geostorm"). 
I’ll be the first person to note that different readers can have totally different reactions to a specific Cli-Fi work. With the entry of a player like Amazon onto the Cli-Fi playing field, though, it’s a good time to say hooray!. See www.cli-fi.net 

Long Live Climate Fiction!''

SEE ALSO....................

The arrival of ‘Warmer’ -- 7 new works of short 'cli-fi' stories -- signals 'Amazon Original Stories' interest in social/literary relevance. - Cli-fi News via Publishing Perspectives    https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/10/amazon-original-stories-introduces-cli-fi-collection-with-literary-studio-plympton/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook /

[Dr  Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives.]

‘Cli-Fi Stories That Are Part of the Cultural Conversation’
There’s good news for those looking to see contemporary literature address urgent issues of societal importance — and to speed its way to market to match the pace of today’s current events.

The newest of the Amazon Publishing imprints, Amazon Original Stories, has released a new group of seven short ''cli-fi'' stories, a collection of cli-fi, called Warmer.

''The Cli-Fi Report'' curated by Dan Bloom at www.cli-fi.net

In a chat with Publishing Perspectives, Original Stories’ editorial director Julie Sommerfeld says that the socially significant nature of the new work is no accident.

“Our editorial team loves cli-fi novels,” Sommerfeld says, “like Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior and Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, and [the team] wanted to create another entry point for readers – short ''cli-fi'' stories that people can read or listen to in a single sitting.”

Included in the new ''Warmer'' collection:
  • The Way the World Ends by Jess Walter in which a crazy ice storm lays waste to the South
  • Boca Raton by Lauren Groff surveys relentlessly rising seas that put not only the planet but the imagination under pressure
  • Controller by Jesse Kellerman examines how a few degrees make all the difference in a mother-son story of terror
  • There’s No Place Like Home by Edan Lepucki looks at a girl growing up amid global catastrophe and personal chaos in a climate-ravaged future
  • Falls the Shadow by Skip Horack sees a North Carolina combat veteran on the front lines of an environmental battle
  • At the Bottom of New Lake by Sonya Larson gives us a on Cape Cod exploring the collectible debris of a once-perfect world she’s too young to remember
  • The Hillside by Jane Smiley envisions a time when the age of humans is over and a “tender and tragic cautionary fable ensues
Those descriptive lines are from Plympton, a startup that many in publishing will recall from its inception in 2011 as the collaboration of writer-entrepreneurs Jennifer 8. Lee and Yael Goldstein Love. Plympton is the provenance of this new, culturally aware collection — a kind of work that Sommerfeld says is a good fit for what she sees Original Stories producing.
‘A Variety of Societal Issues’
“Amazon Original Stories creates powerful, memorable stories,” Sommerfeld tells us, “that expand readers’ horizons–whether that’s by helping them to find a new writer they’ll love or trying a different genre than they usually gravitate to, or thinking about important issues from new perspectives.

Julia Sommerfeld
“Our authors are telling stories that are part of the cultural conversation.”

In terms of fiction, however, Sommerfeld is leading her team on a promising departure.

Warmer is our first collection of topical fiction,” she says, “an area where we plan to keep expanding next year with collections of socially-attuned suspense stories, tales of dating after #MeToo, and more.

Sommerfeld describes a welcome concept for the best thinking of modern writers: “As part of Amazon Publishing,” she says, “a big focus for us is innovating on behalf of writers.

“Having a speedier process for publishing shorter works helps authors launch their ideas while they’re most relevant. The single-sitting length of these stories also allows busy readers to take a chance on something new.”

And in bringing the Warmer cli-fi collection to market, Sommerfeld says, the collaboration with Plympton was a matter of “providing authors we admire with a simple prompt: tell us a story inspired by climate change.
“The range of what they came up just blew us away.''
“Lauren Groff’s story, Boca Raton, is a devastating look at how a mother is crushed by the uncertainty of it all, while Jess Walter’s The Way the World Ends has a sideways humor that leaves you laughing and, most importantly, hoping. Jesse Kellerman’s Controller is a psychological thriller about a power struggle over a thermostat.”
‘The Existential Crisis of Our Era’
If you’re noticing that the roster of authors on the Warmer project, like the sound of the writings, gravitates more toward cli-fi. than sci-fi or fantasy, you’re on the right track. 

Jennifer 8. Lee
Living up to Lee’s classification of it as a “literary studio,” Plympton in recent years has been behind several interesting projects with which Publishing Perspectives readers are familiar.

Modestly, Jenny Lee hands off to her business partner, Goldstein Love, for a statement of how they see the character of the Warmer collection now available from Amazon Original Stories: “We conceived and pitched this cli-fi short-story project as a way of giving fiction writers a collective voice around the existential crisis of our era—and found the writers we approached eager to join this global conversation.”

For now, the good news for readers and for authors, as Lee frames it, is that “thematic originals are a way for fiction writers to create stories that feel highly relevant.”

In terms of fiction in the service of the most pressing issues of our time, Amazon Original Stories’ approach—and Plympton’s work with writers who are attuned to the need—may mean that publishing’s response to its consumers may be getting Warmer.

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