Thursday, 1 August 2019

What Happened to Cli-Fi?

Six years ago my YA Cli-Fi Novel was about to be launched onto the world, and Cli-Fi (short for Climate Fiction) was the latest buzz.

My publisher pushed this aspect of the story as part of their marketing plan. People were talking about climate change and the threat it posed and more and more authors were exploring climate change related themes in their work. It felt as if fiction was the perfect medium to bring climate change to the attention of the world.

For a while it seemed to be working. I took part in panels at literary events and ran workshops in schools that formed a crossover between literature and science. There was genuine interest.

And yet… Here we are, six years on.

Cli-Fi as a sub-genre never really took off the way we hoped. Every now and then it bubbles up, a new book comes out that explores these themes, and then it fades away. And the world itself? Has anything really changed? The science is still there, gathering momentum as the evidence mounts. Weather is becoming more extreme. Global temperatures are increasing. Sea levels are measurably rising.

But where is the action? Where is the call to arms? Politicians have come and gone yet it feels like we’re stepping backwards. Science Fiction is about to become Science Fact. The world I created in Red Rock feels closer than ever, and that’s not a comfortable thought. The coastal areas are already under threat and there’s a strange unease in the air – a society on the brink.

I can’t help wondering why this is. Maybe as our civilisation spirals inexorably towards becoming a real life dystopian novel people feel less inclined to read about such things. Is climate change something people don’t want to think about? Because maybe they should.

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