Paratopian cli-fi: climate fiction novels set in the present or the very near future
Look, there’s 8 billion of us now, human beings that is, and we’re on track to add 5 billion more in the next 80 years. That’ll bring us up to 12 billion people by the year 2100. Double that to 24 billion in some distant crowded future on Earth and guess where that’s going to lead us: humanity, humankind, civilization?
Our goose is cooked, slowly being cooked, and the future’s gonna get crowded, debased, morose and tragic. Are you aware of where we’re headed? Ain’t gonna be no pretty picture. Are you reading me? Do you follow?
But not all climate fiction, aka Cli-Fi has be morose and depressing and dystopian and tragic. Such novels and movies can also be paratopian, that is to say, cli-fi novels that are set in the present, or the very near future at least. Not dystopia but paratopia. That’s from the Greek word “para” for “near.” I think we need some paratopian novels soon. And the sooner the better. There’s work to do!
Does literature and cinema play a role on how we peceive the future of climate change impact events? You bet they do. Art has power. Novels and movies have impact. Emotional impact. EQ power.
So if you’re planning on dipping your pen into a cli-fi novel in 2018 or 2019 or anytime in the 2020s, think about exploring a paratopia as your default mode.