Question: What is a good definition of cli-fi?
Answer: The Yale Climate Connections editors put it this way: Cli-fi is a genre that transforms climate science into human stories.
Question: Will cli-fi novels or movies do any good?
Answer: They might wake up some people about the risks dangers that man-made global warming post to future generations of humankind. They might serve a good ”beach reads,” entertainment distractions and Hollywood blockbusters. On the other hand, they might not do any good at all in terms of looking at the big picture of trying to stop runaway global warming. We might be doomed, doomed.
Question: Who’s writing cli-fi novels or producing cli-fi movies?
Answer: Dozens of novelists in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States are writing cli-fi novels now, and a Google search of the term will lead you to their names and links. Among them are Meg Little Reilly, Susan Abbott, Cat Sparks, Laline Paul, Kim Stanley Robinson, Jean-Marc Ligny and Claire Vaye Watkins. In Hollywood, Dean Devlin is producing the cli-fi action thriller titled “Geostorm,” starring Gerard Butler and set for an October release.
Question: Is there a school of cli-fi or cli-fi canon?
Answer: No, there is no “school of cli-fi” and there is no cli-fi canon. Not yet. The genre is too young to have a canon. There are, however, many many people writing cli-fi novels as fast as they can in this Age of Trump.
Question: Are publishers, literary agents and literary critics getting behind the rising new genre?
Answer: Yes, the publishing capitals of New York, London and Sydney are beginning to see the logic in releasing such climate-themed novels in this Anthropocene Era, and more and more book editors are acquiring such novels. Literary agents are scouting for cli-fi novels now and accepting queries and submissions. And literary critics, from Michiko Kakutani to Amy Brady and Michael Berry, are aware of the genre and boosting its media presence.
Question: Some pundits have said that what cli-fi needs is an “On The Beach” type of novel (the 1957 book and 1959 movie by Nevil Shute about the dangers of nuclear war). Will such a novel about climate change arise in the 21st century?
Answer: Perhaps. Someone might be writing it now.
Question: Are there any cli-fi movies in the pipeline in Hollywood or Bollywood or the UK now?
Answer: Hollywood producer Marshall Herskovitz is actively scouting movie properties for big studio productions. In addition, director Dean Devlin is releasing a cli-fi thriller titled “Geostorm” this fall. But for the most part, Hollywood is turning a blind eye to global warming storytelling films. It’s as if Hollywood could care less.
Question: Why has cli-fi become so hot now?
Answer: It’s in the air. It’s in newspaper and magazine headlines, TV news programs, college classes. It’s time has come. Cli-fi has arrived.
Question: After you retire, who will take over the PR chores to keep the cli-fi term in the media spotlight?
Answer: Someone will come along, I’m sure. Already many academics around the world are writing papers and nonfiction books about the rise of cli-fi for university presses. And it’s going in its own momentum now. It’s taken on a life of its own. And who says I’m retiring?