Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

101 ruminations on the literary and philosophical meaning of ‘cli-fi’ now and in the future

​Cli-fi literary theory does not exist yet. It is that new. We are flying by the seat of our pants. The future beckons.

•  Cli-fi tries to answer philosophical questions about the fate of our species. There is no canon, no agenda, no school. You write it, we read it.
•  Cli-fi delves into the future as a way to analyze our current dilemma, here and now. Who will live to see the 25th Century?
•  Holocene, Anthrocene, Anthropocene. Cli-fi explores all scenes and judges all. Who let us down? Who will raise us up?
•  Teaching climate science is the role of school teachers. Writing cli-fi is the role of seers, visionaries, dreamers, prophets.
• There has never been a time like this in human history when so much is at stake. Will cli-fi answer the call?
• How on Earth did we end up this way? Who on Earth will have their say? Arise, all ye who write cli-fi.
• There’s no accounting for the predicament we’re in. No one to blame, no one to name. Or is there? Cli-fi sees all.
• Children born today are no different than children born before. But they will grow up to read, write cli-fi. (And. Face. Facts.)
• Cli-fi is not a science, and it is not science. It is a literary genre in search of redemption, grace, salvation. It is your turn to try.
• There will come a time when shoulders shrug, when faces droop, when smiles fade. But cli-fi can save the day. Arise!
• If cli-fi is to serve any real purpose, it must soar above distractions and land in the public square. Discuss it, write it.
• Cli-fi has no canon, no school, no leader. It belongs to all who embrace it. Use it as you will.
• In some future time, say 2085, people will look back at the rise of cli-fi in 2015 and wonder why and how it grew. Who knew?
• Do you cli-fi? Do you “do” cli-fi? Do you read or write or research cli-fi? Welcome aboard.
• Cli-fi exists not to promote careers or obtain research grants or government funding. No, cli-fi just is. And rising.
• Cli-fi is rising, yes. It’s in the air. It’s time has come. There is no wormhole that can stop it.
• In the best of all possible worlds, there would be no need for cli-fi. Unfortunately, we live in cli-fi times. In a cli-fi world. Face it.
• This is the Age of Cli-Fi, in the Antropocene, after the Holocene. It’s not a pretty picture, is it?
• Who invited you to the house of cli-fi? No one. You came of your own accord, to look, to see. It’s an open house.
• You write cli-fi because it gets under your skin and you can no longer look away. Peer into the future and tell us what you see.
• The house of cli-fi welcomes everyone. Come in, look around, take a seat. There are books to read. And write.
• I never met a future I didn’t like. No, that can’t be true. Some futures spell the end of humankind. It’s in the cards. Choose your exit.
​• Cli-fi isn’t a marketing term or a bookstore shelving category, and it’s more than a literary term. It’s a password into the future and those who know it, know.
• ​Cli-fi is more than a genre term, much more than that: it’s a code word, a password, a secret handshake; it is bringing us together as one
• ​Cli-Fi is not for you or your children or grandkids, no. It’s codeword for future generations, as yet unborn. And born they shall be. In next 30 generations.​
• ​Cli-Fi cannot, will not, save us from what’s coming. Too late for that. But it’s here, now, always. We have 30 generations to prepare. See?
• In the future, come 30 more generations of man, there will be no Cli-Fi. By 2500 A.D. (Anthrocenus Deflexus)it will be too late.
• People want cli-fi to offer solutions, comfortable happy fixes. Aint gonna happen. We are ‘’doomed, doomed’’ as a species, and we did it to ourselves.
​• Cli-Fi cannot, will not, save us from what’s coming. Too late for that. But it’s here, now, always. We have 30 generations to prepare. There’s time.
​​​•  Cli-fi won’t make much of a difference either way you define it. It’s just here, now, beckoning future writers. It’s not sci-fi, never was
• Cli-fi is more than a mere genre: it’s a cri de coeur, a warning flare, a pathway to the future before it’s too late. See? #CliFi’s here now​
• If the rising new literary term “cli-fi” makes you ‘cringe’ at first sight or hearing, don’t give up on it yet. With time, you will come to see it for what it is.
•​ Cli-fi is not sci-fi, it is not eco-fiction, it is not subgenred to anything earlier. Cli-Fi is a hashtag burning its stamp into our very skin, as we prepare.
• ​Cli-fi is more than a genre term, much more than that: it’s a code word, a password, a secret handshake; it is bringing us together as one.
• Cli-fi wasn’t just a case of slapping a new name on an old genre. It’s much deeper and existential than that. Think game-changer, new directions.
• We’ll never make it out of here alive. That’s cli-fi in a nutshell. Man the lifeboats, prepare to test the seas of one season after the next.
• Cli-fi defines a line the sands of time that no man can cross without trepidation or reverence. There’s a reason we are here. What is it?
• If cli-fi is one thing, it’s a chance to choose our future. One door leads here, another door leads there. Choose wisely: Your descendants are waiting.
• There’s a tragic flaw in our genes, a selfish shellfish that doesn’t want to share. This DNA will be our downfall. This Earth shall abide.
• Cli-fi doesn’t choose sides. We do. Choose your weapon, use it wisely. We are here by the grace of God, and someday we won’t be. God knows.
• You could say that in a post-sci-fi world, cli-fi has come to rescue us from oblivion. Not true. No way.
• You might not really be interested in cli-fi, or where it is going. But trust me, cli-fi is interested in you. Why? Becos the End is nigh
• When all is said and done, cli-fi points in only one direction. It’s for everyone to find it on their own. ON THE BEACH from 1957 has clues.
• Cli-fi is not about who coined it or who popularized it. It’s about much more pressing things, like how many more generations before the End?
• I never met a future I didn’t like. No, that can’t be true. Some futures spell the end of humankind. It’s in the cards. Choose your exit.
• Cli-fi is neither pro nor con. It just is. Take your pick. Choose yr sides. We are at war w/ a future that threatens all futures. Arise!
• Cli-fi is so much a part of this world that on first hearing the word or seeing it in print, it slips right by, invisble, unnoticed.
•If by some remote chance you find yourself reading a cli-fi novel without realizing it’s cli-fi, you have arrived.
• There are are still 30 generations to be born before the real apocalypse begins. This now is just a rehearsal. An audition.
• Cli-fi leads to a meeting of the minds, borderless, rudderless, unconsolable. Will we get there on time?
• If you think time is running out, or has already run out, in terms of the unspeakable cli-fi future we face, you are very close to solving the riddle. Why are we here?
• I don’t want to sound pessimistic, as optimism must abound and console us. But listen to the wind, hear the chimes sing, ring.
• Cli-fi has a place in our hearts and minds, now and forever. But forever is no longer forever. We sold the farm.
• Cli-fi can, and will, shine a light on the darkness that is about to befall us. Let’s stick together and shoulder the burden.
• You didn’t know cli-fi was coming. Nobody did. It’s taken us by surprise.
• There will be days when cli-fi is beyond us, unscoutable, undetected. All the more reason to pay attention.
• Cli-fi doesn’t mean resignation or giving in to the darkness ahead. To the contrary, it means taking up arms.
• If a time shall come when all else fails, cli-fi may just come to the rescue. Make room.
• Cli-fi cannot answer all our questions or undo the deeds we have done. No. But she can unburden us of our fears.
• There will come a time when there is no time left. That’s where, and when, cli-fi comes in.
• Who will write the cli-fi of the future? They will be legion, legends. Welcome them.
• Cli-fi is more than a mere genre term, much more than a literary term. It’s a battle cry, a cri decoeur, a shout-out to future generations: “We tried to warn you!”
• Think positive, think cli-fi. Think future generations, think now. Think the end is nigh unless we change our ways.
• There is no way out of here, said the sailors to the sun. Thirty more generations is all we have left. What then?
• Ploddingly, one step at a time, we are marching to future days. Cli-fi cannot stop the deluge, yet we must not surrender. Never.
• With sea levels rising in future times, Nature has been turned on its head. Cli-fi paints a picture, sight unseen.
• If we could see CO2, smell it, know that is there, over-loaded, we might be able to put out the fires. But it is invisible, odorless.
• Whatever generation you belong to, know in your heart that there is no way out of here. Nature has spoken, Earth recoils. Write on.
• To show respect to the Earth, which is our home in the cosmos, please always capitalize the word as ‘’Earth.’’ Earth matters, tell the copy desk. Lowercasing it is beneath us.
• Cli-fi cannot, will not, lead the way. This is a clean-up action, and way too late. But it matters nevertheless.
• One cannot see the future, cli-fi is blind. But the stories we tell will matter, even if it is all for naught.
• Cli-fi, by indirection finds direction out. Your words on the page must be balanced, insistent. Always. And never lose hope.
• Not doomed yet? What will it take to connect the dots? Not doomed yet? Some overly-rosy displays of optimism in print could be seen as pathological.
• As humans, ike all life forms, we are hardwired and programmed to believe that the near future will be similar to the recent past. Our Achilles heel, so to speak.
• Cli-fi won’t solve our problems, and can’t undo what’s done. Fasten your seatbelts. This is a ride to Hell.
• Climate change is more than a fact of life. It is the result of human ingenuity, greed, rapaciousness and fear. Fear not: cli-fi is here. Write it.
• I came to the table naive and unquestioning. I left totally convinced there will be dead people, lots of dead people. That was the genesis of cli-fi.
• You might not want to go down the cli-fi road, and that’s okay. It’s not a pretty picture, not a happy selfie. It’s disaster, writ large.
• In the long and rambling history of humankind, cli-fi will be just a blip on the radar screen. Pay it no heed.
• You weren’t born yesterday. Your descendants may not even be born at all, ever. That’s how unfathomable cli-fi is.
• If you can manage to fit the personal stories of cli-fi between the covers of a book, do it. With trepidation. Know your audience.
• Cli-fi will have no denouement, no act three, no happy ending, no Greek chorus, no social media take-away. Push send.
• Sorry, but this is how cli-fi is going to be, in the Anthropocene. Just 12 letters spelling doom.
• I wish there was some cli-fi way out of here, but there ain’t. Ain’t ain’t ain’t. Ain’t ain’t ain’t times, ten thousand times ain’t.

• If cli-fi is to serve any real purpose, it must soar above distractions and land in the public square. Discuss it, write it.
• Cli-fi is an open book and open to academics and retired Chicago professors, like Gary K. Wolfe and his friend in Australia Jonathan Strahan. Niall Harrison, too. In fact, the entire sci-fi world is welcome to look into the SF subgenre of cli-fi. Even KSR supports it as a useful subgenre. Jeff VanderMeer, too. Charlie Jane Anders as well. John Clute, too.

• Where is cli-fi headed? To the future, that’s for sure, but not to any sci-fi future or to three-eyed giant squids wrestling in space operas. Cli-fi is not sci-fi escapism or nerdy cult geekdom. It’s more important than sci-fi, which was invented for children and teenagers. Cli-fi is for adults.

• Will cli-fi save the Earth! No. Will cli-fi save humankind? No. So what can cli-fi do? Raise awareness, that’s all. Are you in? Welcome!

• Cli-fi as a full-fledged literary genre won’t fully blossom until 2050 or 2085. Maybe not until 2140. But there’s preliminary work to be done. Now!

• For those like Gary Wolfe and Jonathan Strachan who haven’t yet adjusted to the sound or sight of cli-fi, get a new set of ears, eyes my friends It’s not the 1950s anymore.

• Cli-fi will deliver some nuggets of novelistic wisdom over the next 100 years when none of today reading this note will be alive. Cli-fi is for our descendants, all of them.

• Cli-fi was born in the 21st century. But it won’t blossom until the 23rd or 25th century. That’s how long we need to be in this for. Are you on board?

• Cli-fi won’t pay any dividends for another 200 to 300 years. That’s the kind of struggle we’re in. And even then, who knows?


About the Author
Dan Bloom curates The Cli-Fi Report at He graduated from Tufts University in Boston in 1971 with a major in Modern Literature. A newspaper editor and reporter since his days in Washington, D.C., Juneau, Alaska, Tokyo, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan, he has lived and worked 5 countries and speaks rudimentary French, Japanese and Chinese. He hopes to live for a few more years.