Climate Fiction: How Climate Change Will Effect Us

November 13, 2015 | Kelli

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Climate fiction, sometimes called "cli-fi", is a literary genre that deals with the impacts of climate change. According to a recent articles in the Atlantic  and Wired, the term 'cli-fi" was coined in 2007 by climate activist and writer Dan Bloom who was looking to spice up the dull name 'climate fiction' and raise awareness about global warming. In this genre, authors take climate change predictions to their logical conclusion and explore how people may survive. Climate fiction (and its related eco-fiction) is considered a subcategory of science fiction.  Popular authors of this genre are Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi and Kim Stanley Robinson.  

With the United Nations Conference of Climate Change being held soon, from November 30 - December 11, 2015 in Le Bourget, France, this is a great time to try one of the many books in this growing genre.

Here are a few 'cli-fi' books:

Forty signs of rain Gold flame citrus Memory of water Oryx and crake Water knife

Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
Senate environmental staffer Charlie Quibler must find a way to get a skeptical Washington administration to act on climate change before it's too late. His wife, Anna, who works at the National Science Foundation, comes across a proposal for a revolutionary process that could solve the problem of global warming. However, when a race to control the budding technology begins, the stakes only get higher and fate is about to create a twist that will place them at the heart of an unavoidable storm. 
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Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
Unrelenting drought has changed Southern California. In this barren world most "Mojavs," prevented moving to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. Two young Mojavs, Luz and Ray, squat in an abandoned mansion subsisting on whatever they can loot or scavenge. When they cross paths with a mysterious child, they begin to thirst for a better future.
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Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
In the far north of the Scandinavia, in the power state of New Qian, Noria Kaitio studies to become a tea master. It is a position that holds great responsibility and a dangerous secret. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that once provided water for her whole village. Nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2015.
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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
In this first book of the Maddaddam trilogy, Snowman is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human. He embarks on a journey through the lush wilderness that was recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride.
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Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
In an American Southwest decimated by drought, Angel Velasquez is working as a water cutter, ensuring through violence that lush, luxurious developments have access to water.  Sent off to investigate a new source, Angel meets journalist Lucy and migrant Maria. The three work together when they find themselves used as pawns, but in this world where water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like the sand. 
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eBook

If you prefer to learn about climate change from non-fiction books, have a look at the Readings on Mother Earth blog post for some suggested titles to get started.

Note: Both Atlantic and Wired are available for free (with a library card) through Zinio, the Toronto Public Library's eMagazine service.

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