“Cli-Fi novels and movies are probably the best way to explore climate change because fiction involves imagination and the human element — and no government funding,” literary critic and books blogger Frank Wilson in Philadelphia recently told me in an email. He’s been following the rise of the cli-fi genre in the U.S. and overseas and he likes it, but has some reservations about it, too. “And it’s too bad Michael Crichton, the author of ‘State of Fear’ in 2004, is dead. [His novel was cli-fi from a conservative, rightwing point of view.] Have any of the Cli-Fi writers adopted his skeptical stance, I wonder.”
Frank, who blogs at Books, Inq on an almost daily basis, is a former book editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. Now happily retired, he writes about books and issues of general interest worldwide.
I like how he describes cli-fi novels, as “probably the best way to explore climate change” issues pro and con, because fiction involves the imagination and the human element of emotions, and, as Frank notes, “no government funding.”
So cli-fi novels and movies, unlike paid-for grant-fed government research from both rightwing think tanks and liberal think tanks, have a better chance to reaching the public, since no government funding or grant money from wealthy philanthropists is involved.
In reply to Frank’s frank question about Michael Chrichton, there have not been many rightwing cli-fi novels or movies so far, although the genre is open to all writers with all points of view, and certainly as time goes by we will be seeing some convervative cli-fi novels, too.
Not all cli-fi novels will be written by people who believe in global warming and climate change. Some will be written by denialists.
So there will be rightwing cli-fi novels and movies. But for the most part, the many thrust over the next 100 years of cli-fi will be from authors who want to warn readers about the dangers and risks of climate change by telling compelling stories with real characters and plots set in the present or near future.