Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

Cli-fi is the ‘best way to explore climate change,’ says literary critic

“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.

One such rightwing cli-fi novel was recently published, I told Frank in a return email, and it was titled “Climatized” and writtten by Florida resident Sally Fernandez. It’s available on Amazon, too.

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.

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.