Let’s face it, there is a problem with the way society looks at and thinks about climate change. From thinking it’s a hoax, to pretending there is no problem, to recognizing the problem but not making any moves to change it we, as a community are not acting as change agents to help our environment. It seems as though because we can’t physically see the long term effects of rapid climate change, they don’t resonate enough to warrant action. Well, this genre of fiction is creating speculative futures of what could happen due to climate change in hopes of inspiring change.
Cli fi, a spin off sci-fi is short for ‘climate fiction’ is a new genre that focuses on potential consequences of climate change and global warming. The novels that fall into this genre can relate to climate change in any way. In some novels, climate change is at the center of the plot, the driving force of the events however, in others, it is just a constant, looming threat in the background of the main set of events that eventually plays into the climax of the story. In any case, the novels demonstrate to the readers the potential effects of ignoring such a monumental problem.
A major benefit of cli fi is the human aspect. It can be difficult to relate to facts, figures, and confusing science terms that sound like spells I would learn at Hogwarts but these novels tell a story, people can connect to the characters in a way they just can’t with science. The overall hope of this genre is to incite people to take action and to address these environmental issues in new ways.
Want to read some of these novels?! Here’s a few of our favorites!
This novel, by Barbra Kingslover, tells the story of a woman, living in rural Appalachia, who finds hundreds of monarch butterflies living on her property. The discovery brings a lot of attention and people to the area, disrupting everyone’s lives. Kingsolver is a mainstream writer who made the jump to climate fiction on her eighth novel, so the story is a good balance of science and human.
Odds Against Tomorrow
If your mind automatically went to the movie, Day After Tomorrow, you’re not alone and they are actually incredibly similar. The author, Nathaniel Rich crafted a story of a man living and working in New York City, until a disaster hits (involving- you guessed it, climate change). It is a striking story about love, loss, and other things to make you feel all the feels.
Oryx and Crake
Margaret Atwood wrote this novel, the first in a trilogy so if you love it you’ll have two more books to ass to your list! This novel follows the story of a man in a post apocalyptic world where he is the last human living near primitive group he refers to as Crakers. He has to deal with the repercussions of the catastrophic event that has occurred.
Book image via Amelia Kramer