Cli-fi is a new literary genre of the 21st century and it’s rising, rising. We are seeing more and more novels and movies about climate change impacts events now and in the near future (and in the distant future, too), and writers and literary critics are getting behind it.
But who is cli-fi for?
It’s for everyone, of course, and the general readership of novels anywhere in any country, for sure. And it’s also a platform for writers to use to tell their stories, to sell their wares, to display their ideas. But cli-fi has another purpose: to teach The Unreachables.
Who are The Unreachables? They are the ones who still cling to the hope that climate change is a hoax and not to be believed and to be taken seriously. These are the climate deniers, the climate denialists, the people who just don’t want to see what it is front of them and still live with their heads in the sand.
The Unreachables do not listen to any of the non-fiction books or journalism that appears in the media 24/7. All the New York Times science and climate articles in the world will not change their minds and have any impact on them. But The Unreachables are not “unreachable.”
They can be reached via well-written and highly literate cli-fi novels and the movies that are adapted later on from these novels. Cli-fi is for The Unreachables. They and their wives and their daughters and their sons and their nephews and the nieces and their husbands and their in-laws can be “reached” via the power of a well-written novel. And that’s where cli-fi comes in. Cli-fi is for The Unreachables.
So if you are writer with hankering to reach The Unreachable, sit right down and start writing your cli-fi novel or cli-fi film script. There is a whole world to reach this way, and through novels and movies, you can reach them.
The Unreachables do not listen to mainstream media journalism or magazine articles or any kind of alarmist climate news articles published on the web. But put a good novel in their hands, don’t even tell them it’s a cli-fi, don’t even use the word cli-fi in your PR, don’t even put the word “Cli-Fi” on the front cover or in your marketing materials. Just write your novel and get it out there, in the world.
With a large army of cli-fi novelists and scriptwriters outlining their stories and telling them with style and emotional resonance, cli-fi can have an impact. That’s what’s cli-fi is for. And that’s who cli-fi is for: The Unreachables.
There’s a 100-year window of opportunity before us now to try to reach them. Start your engines, cli-fi writers of the world. The time is now!
A pundit in California puts it this way, slightly edited for amplification:
”The people who really need to read cli-fi novels in red states won’t go near them. They wouldn’t listen to Al Gore or read a David Wallace-Wells doomsday article in a New York magazine if their houses were on fire and Al or David were standing there with a hose. And they’re not likely to listen to any graduate of an Al Gore climate leadership group than they are to read David Wallace-Wells’ July 9 gut punch of a magazine article titled The Uninhabitable Earth.”’