Cli-Fi: cautionary tales to prompt action

Cli-Fi: cautionary tales to prompt action

Cli-fi, or climate fiction, also known as Eco-fiction, is a relatively new genre of literature that sets narratives in an often dystopian world affected by climate change. I love it because fiction can be used to convey complicated climate change messages, by enabling exaggeration, contraction of time, or the creation of hypothetical situations that can better illustrate impacts than dry, scientific facts. It can also reach audiences who do not normally obtain climate change information.

I gave it a shot in the mid 1990s by developing a web-based science soap opera, called CO2Lab, which used a superficial story about the social lives of a fictional team of climate scientists as a ‘Trojan horse’ to introduce complicated concepts about climate change and other science (you can still find it online if you search hard enough).

There are hundreds of cli-fi novels (for example, GoodReads), and universities even offer courses that examine climate in film and books (see the New York Times).

Hopefully they are cautionary tales to prompt action in the present rather than handbooks for the future. For my top ten cli-fi novels, see my ’10 Great Books on Climate Change Fiction’ blog post on Science Book a Day.


Date Posted:

December 23, 2015