Thursday, 12 June 2014
Cli-Fi Author: Risa Bear
Hello Risa and welcome. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your book.
I farm one acre in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. A former tree planter, forest fire fighter, and timber cruiser, I retired in 2009 after twenty years at the University of Oregon and holds the M.A. in English and M.S. in Arts Management. I edited and compiled the pioneering e-text website,Renascence Editions, and my primary blog is A Way to Live. Here's my Amazon author page. And my Amazon Associates Store. :)
Starvation Ridge began as a blovel, written because the ones I was seeing didn't seem to me very realistic. It's had 120,000 pageviews. Some folks said they thought it was worthwhile, So I took it to Lulu and from there to the distribution channels. http://www.amazon.com/Starvation-Ridge-Risa-Bear/dp/1304772683/. It's print-on-demand and there does not seem to be much demand so far, but I'm not very attached to that. More on the process here: http://theredmullet.blogspot.com/.
It's the story of Karen Rutledge, who at fourteen in 2048 escapes from the underground home she was raised in when it becomes a deadly trap. Everything above ground appears to have been devastated some time ago. She wanders through the Pacific Northwest, which has very few, but mostly very dangerous, people left in it, then throws in with a group trying to revive farming. There are bandits, pandemics, crop failure, forest fire, and general lack of infrastructure to contend with. Sort of Seven Samurai meets Day After Tomorrow.
How has climate change played out in Starvation Ridge?
Capitalism might be more the focus -- resource depletion, really. The infrastructure collapses before climate (in the form of obvious heat) gets all that much play. Hunger and resource wars have brought about the "Great Undoing" before most people had time to notice that you can't grow much food after you've wrecked the jet stream. A youth in a late chapter does ask about climate and does get a detailed answer from a respected elder, but I try to lowball the preaching so as to help people make it to the end of the book even if they're used to only getting their news from Fox News.
Had you heard of the term Cli-Fi when you started writing Starvation Ridge? What first brought the term to your attention?
I first heard of it by reading an article by Daniel Bloom, to whom I am eternally grateful.
What compelled you to write about climate change?
It's going to kill my great-grandchildren. I'd like people to try harder to prevent that, though the horse may be out of the barn.
How do you feel about Cli-Fi as a means of getting the climate change message across?
Imagination is the most powerful tool we have. Look at the effect of On the Beach.
Are we already starting to see the effects of climate change and what do you think the future holds for our planet?
https://www.skepticalscience.com/ has some of the best summaries on this, with extensive citations. We are already losing crops and lives and my personal view is there will be triage.
Thank you Risa, great answers.