Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

Are you a wordnik? Do you love crossword puzzles? Here’s a story for you then

Hollywood is catching up with the ”cli-fi” buzzword these days, as the popular TV show “Jeopardy” last March showed. Now a syndicated crossword puzzle on August 30 ran a clue that led to the answer — which was ”cli-fi.” If you’re a wordnik, read on for the details.

When earlier this year a friendly English professor in New Jersey named Juda Bennett notified me by email that ”episode 57” on Jeopardy on March 20 featured a ”Jeopardy” ”cli-fi” clue and its correct answer of ”climate fiction,” I was delighted.

Now comes news from a Twitter user (and a dedicated wordnik and crossword maven) that ”Newsday,” a New York area daily newspaper, published a crossword puzzle on August 30 that had a clue for a 5-letter word in a “down” column that read: “Dystopian novels like ‘The Carbon Diaries.'”

The answer, the crossword geek figured out using his crossword puzzle detective hat, had to be “cli-fi,” he reasoned, given the other words both “down” and “across”taking shape in the corner of the puzzle.

You see, ”cli-fi” was a new word for him, something he was not familiar with, so he tweeted out his discovery to several of his friends, who joined in a friendly discussion of the new literary term none of them had heard of before.

This year has been a busy year for the cli-fi genre in pop culture circles, and the “Jeopardy” mention was just icing on the “global warming” cake, so to speak.

On March 13, New York literary critic Amy Brady, who has been writing a monthly ”cli-fi trends” column for the online Chicago Review of Books for the past two years, wrote an article for the Oprah Winfrey magazine “O,” headlined “7 Books That Provocatively Tackle Climate Change: They Each Fit Into a New Genre: Cli-Fi.”

Oprah! Who knew?

Jeopardy! Who would have guessed?

A syndicated crossword puzzle! What a surprise!

“O” introduced Ms. Brady this way: ”Environmental writer Amy Brady identifies an intriguing epidemic: the proliferation of provocative novels in which the enemy is climate change.”

Add the YA cli-fi novel “The Carbon Diaries” by Saci Lloyd in Britain to the “O” list, thanks to a savvy crossword puzzle editor in New York.

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.
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