Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

The ‘cli-fi’ stylings of Paolo Bacigalupi’s ‘The Water Knife’ beckon readers worldwide

More and more novelists around the world are settings their eyes on themes of climate change and global warming, from Sally Abbott with her debut novel “Closing Down” to Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Water Knife.” And more. Hundreds of novels are now tackling themes that were once neglected and ignored. Not anymore.

The popular Bacigalupi, with a large fan base, has a new YA novel coming out in October titled “Tools of War.” According to Publishers Weekly, the book industry magazine, the novel will have a first printing of 50,000 copies and the Colorado-based author recently attended the American Library Association’s summer conference in Chicago to promote his new book for teen readers.

“Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the YA (Young Adult) map,” a Los Angeles Times book reviewer has opined, “but Bacigalupi is one of the genre’s masters, employing inventively terrifying details in equally-imaginative story lines.”

“Tools of War,” the third book in a well-received YA series, tells the story of the most provocative character in the three books, which also include “Ship Breaker” and “The Drowned Cities.”

For Maddie Crum, books editor for the Huffington Post, climate-themed comics are on the menu for her this summer. In a recent article headlined “The Dangers of Climate Change Are Real in This New Comics Anthology,” Crum introduces the book this way:

“In the past decade or so, a subgenre of dystopian fiction has emerged to confront our changing planet: climate fiction, or cli-fi. In stories like Jeff VanderMeer’s ‘Southern Reach’ trilogy, or Kim Stanley Robinson’s ‘New York 2140; and Claire Vaye Watkins’ ‘Gold Fame Citrus,” characters confront floods, droughts and other environmental catastrophes.’

”But as Anna North in a recent post on the Smithsonian blog points out, these stories are swiftly becoming not just future possibilities, but present realities.”

“A new cartoon anthology called Warmer — which is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter ― addresses these issues and more. Co-edited by artists Madeleine Witt and Andrew White, the collection of works serves to provide support and hope to those who are mourning the damage done to the Earth.”

According to the Atlantic’s culture editor Sophia Gilbert, a British transplant to America, cli-fi is now making its way into television, too. In her preview of “The Mist” on Spike TV, she writes that Danish show runner Christian Torpe ”seems attuned to cli-fi, and the potent timeliness of the idea that an environment can turn on its inhabitants.”

So make of this summer of 2017 what you will. Donald Trump still occupies the White House, the sea ice in the Arctic is still melting, a major “carving event” (sic) according to British journalist Andy Rowell is set to take place in Antarctica any day now — Rowell meant to write “calving event” — and climate activists like Bill McKibben and Michael Mann are putting out renewed warnings and appeals for action.

Choose who you want to listen to, what you want to believe, and then take action. Future generations of human beings will depend on what you do this summer and next fall. Time is running out.

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.