It’s 2020, and a new genre of fiction shows that writers and readers worldwide are now taking climate change risk scenarios seriously.
In fact, a new standalone, independent genre of literary fiction that explores the potential effects of climate change is gaining global popularity. Climate fiction, affectionately dubbed “cli-fi,” is a new idea that is experiencing a phenomenal growth. Its genesis can be found in some earlier literary works, such as the 1964 novel ”The Wind From Nowhere,” by British sci-fi writer J.G. Ballard, and in Hollywood creations like the 2004 blockbuster ”The Day After Tomorrow.”
According to some observers, the advent of cli-fi was brought on by America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and President Trump’s stubborn refusal to accept man-made climate change as a serious threat. He’d rather go golfing.
Cultural phenomenon and anxieties tend to manifest themselves in art. Just as fear of Communist political regimes in Europe earlier spawned literary classics by Orwell and Huxley, Greta Thunberg’s obsession with climate change is informing art now and not just in her native Sweden. Cli-fi has gone global.
Novelists and Hollywood directors are using their imaginations to construct imagined worlds where the planet is punching back at humanity.
Authors are asking questions about this new world, as well they should. Their answers conjure at times a chilling dystopian climatescape and at other times a hopeful, optimistic scenario in the distant future. Think science fiction turned climate visionary.
Through these cli-fi stories, writers are attempting to transform climate change from the political to the personal, blending their version of the truth into emotional meds that hit the bloodstream, delivering a potent dose of understanding to hearts young and old
The movement is finding its movers and shakers where these things tend to: Greta Thunberg and her global youth army. Scores of climate fiction falls into the “young adult” (YA) category, and young people are devouring the concepts in their media as well. Whilst youthful minds tend to balk at scientific charts and government stats and obscure numbers, the emotional appeal of literature and cinema is far more effective, according to academics in the field. Cli-fi courses are sprouting up in universities around the world, according to Dan Bloom, one of a dozen cli-fi aficionados. According to other observers in academia, “Cli-fi” literature as an academic study will be catching on big time in the 2020s and 2030s.”
Sharpen your pencils, polish your keyboards. ”Cli-fi” is here.