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A propos of my earlier posting about "Cli-fi", take a look at what Brian Micklethwait found in his local bookshop.

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50 shades of green.

Sep 17, 2013 at 2:47 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

See CLI FI CENTRAL at blogspot

Sep 17, 2013 at 3:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterdan bloom

During the sweltering British summer of 2013, Foyles bookstore in London did something that was a long time coming: It set up a dedicated ”cli-fi” table with a simple yet eye-catching sign promoting fiction and non-fiction books with climate themes.

Among the books seen on the table in the photograph to the right above are Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and James Lovelock’s “The Revenge of Gaia” as well as Stephen Emmott’s current bestseller “10 Billion” sitting alongside such dystopic scenarios as J.G. Ballard’s “The Drowned World,” John Christopher’s “The Death of Grass,” Joe Dunthorne’s “Wild Abandon” and Liz Jensen’s “The Rapture.”

Most of the books on the table are also available as e-books as well, according to Steve Matthews, a Foyles bookshop employee who was working the early morning shift last Sunday and graciously snapped the photo—exclusively for TeleRead—with his iPhone.

The ‘cli-fi’ sign in-store may be the first of its kind anywhere in the now-warming world, and follows extensive media coverage of the emerging cli-fi genre in TeleRead, The Guardian, the Financial Times, and The New Yorker.

Other cli-fi novels on the table included Barbara Kingsolver’s”Flight Behavior” and and Ian McEwan’s “Solar.” Will other bookstores and book-selling websites around the world follow Foyles’ example and set up similar cli-fi sites at bookstores in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Paris? Is this a trend or just a one-off photo opp in the UK?

Sep 17, 2013 at 3:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterdan bloom

There is no shortage of Cli-Fi. So-called peer reviewed journals are full of articles based on "storylines" or scenarios. In fact, the IPCC's report on "Emission Scenarios" has a chapter, "Narrative Scenarios and Storylines." [See] These storylines are no less fictitious than Michael Crichton's "State of Fear."

[Cross-posted at Brian Micklethwait's.]

Sep 17, 2013 at 3:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterIndur M. Goklany

Hmm. I prefer Fallen Angles, by Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn.

Sep 17, 2013 at 5:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterdavebowne

Some of the titles I recognize were not intended as fiction.

Sep 17, 2013 at 6:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Dan Bloom asks:

'Is this a trend or just a one-off photo opp in the UK?'

Guess it rather depends on whether there is a public appetite for such stuff. Given the generally poor (=flat last) poll ratings that climate worries get, I doubt it'll be huge.

Examples (taken from Amazon)

'Solar' by Ian McEwan #18,543 in books
'Flight Behaviour' #353 in books
Revenge of Gaia # 23,589


Not, I think, a huge genre.

Sep 17, 2013 at 7:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Actually, there are quite a few SciFi books where climate change is part of the background. It doesn't become a part of the plot, it's just sort of there providing some of the conditions necessary for the plot.
As an example, the Hugo award a couple of years ago was won by Paolo Bacigalupi with "The windup girl". It's set in a drowning Thailand and is quite good. Could come under CliFi - and it may have been the author's intent - but that's not the only thing in it at all.

Cheers -

Sep 17, 2013 at 7:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon.S

Cli-Fi could be an interesting way to track the narrative of climate change, as it evolves. Peter F Hamilton's Greg Mandel trilogy is SF from the 1990s, for instance, and set in a world where global warming has dramatically raised sea levels and created a Mediterranean climate in the UK, with citrus groves.

Missing (as far as I recall) is the "extreme weather" theme, which might have been present, had the novels been written after Hurricane Katrina, ten years hence. Or the "missing Arctic ice causes colder winters" idea, had the stories been written in this decade.

Regarding the grey area between fiction and purported non-fiction, this goes back a way. I have a copy of Paul R Ehrlich's "Looking Backward from 2000 A.D.", written for Earth Day in 1970, which describes an improbable "perfect storm" of environmental catastrophes (leading to the infamous statistic of "sixty-five million American deaths in the decade 1980-1989") but which is framed as a piece of short fiction.

It's clearly aimed to unsettle and alarm readers, but being presented as fiction, it neatly avoids the charge of "failed prediction" - it's only a story, the writer could always claim.

@ Simon S, the Paolo Bacigalupi book looks very interesting, will check this out.

Sep 17, 2013 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Richard Tol: "Some of the titles I recognize were not intended as fiction."

Yes, Joe Romm's "Hell and High Water" is something he believes to be a factual work.

L. Ron Hubbard also thought his work was factual.

Sep 17, 2013 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

I had some time to kill in an affluent south-coast town a couple of weeks ago and found an analogue bookshop (Waterstones); I was disappointed with what was on offer in the small science section, a couple of alarmist titles but nothing from the sceptic perspective. This debate is taking place on blogs and kindles.

Sep 17, 2013 at 8:38 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Ditto for Burning Questions by Berners-Lee and Clark, 10 Billion by Emmott, The Revenge of Gaia by Lovelock and Silent Spring by Carson.

Sep 17, 2013 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

When fighting a monster narrative, counter-narratives are useful, especially those with hard truths woven into them. The free-to read sceptical Cli-Fi / Sci-Fi novelette 'Truth' is available in various electronic formats here:
Featured last Christmas at WUWT, then Judith Curry's Cli-Fi review and here at the Bish's place, plus including the currently fashionable 'Pause'. Not all Cli-Fi has to be Alarmist :)

'Truth' is also now included in the philospophical Sci-Fi collection 'Engines of Life':
(this is pay - but only 77p or $1 at the US site)


Sep 17, 2013 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Some of these books are in the wrong section
They should be transferred to the "Cli-My section.
Or is that a myth;

Sep 17, 2013 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

I like the way this discussion has gone, and yes, cli fi as literary genre is still evolving, re poster above said ''Cli-Fi could be an interesting way to track the narrative of climate change, as it evolves." Yes, that's it. Cli fi is just a convenient lit genre of fiction novels and movies, short stories and plays too, and could be useful to track the evolving narrative, yes. Will the term take? Who knows? Carolyn Kormann at the New Yorker magazine blog in July wrote a long piece on cli fi but added that in her opinion the term will not take and gives her own reason, which was totally wrong. In fact, cli fi already has TAKEN, re Foyles, re all the stories via google now on clifi, re all the clit lit jokes online, re Judith Curry's very good blog at CLIMATE ETC last December where she did a long piece on CLI FI lit and did a good piece on Chricton's novel STATE OF FEAR and why it needs to be be in the canon too. And I agree with her. Read it.

PS: by the way, I am not a novelist or writer, just a freelance newspaper reporter and blogger, with a strong interest in climate issues, pro and con AGW, and with a PR background so my interest in CLI FI is as a PR campaigner for nothing monetary at my end at all, just a wordman and a dreamer and a longtime reader of good novels.

Sep 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDan Bloom

Nathaniel Rich's recent novel in the USA, no UK edition yet but soon, titled ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW is sort of comic Ian McEwanesque cli fi novel about Superstory Sandy, and what it could do to Manhattan, but he wrote the novel before Sandy ever happened. Prescient. And he never mentions the term "climate change" once in the entire 300 pages. He told NPR he considers the term to be a cliche. AND Margaret Atwood while not a cli fi novelist by genre has been a big booster of CLI FI on her twitter feed over the past 2 years. She likes to call her work as "speculative fiction" not sci fi or cli fi. AND both Rich and Atwood will appear together on Sept. 25 in Canada at the Kingston WritersFest to headline the opening night events, she 74 to his 34, but no generation gap at all. She is young at heart, and he is wise beyond his years.

Sep 17, 2013 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterDan Bloom

Has anyone else here read Solar? I couldn't figure out where McEwan was coming from; he puts pretty much verbatim CiFesque rants into the book about how evil deniers are, but the POV is that of a lying, work-thieving, fornicating climate pseudoscientist.

I took away that I was supposed to hate the hatred-driven climate psyence liars. Did I get that right?

Sep 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

But then, it's all a fiction - Man made CO2= warming.

Joe Romm, L. Ron Hubbard............................. whack jobs move over for - UNEP-IPCC AR5, it will fit in nicely.

♪ Ye cannot change the script Jim.
Och, #!*& Jimmy.

It's worse than that, it's physics, Jim.

Bridge to engine room, warp factor 9.

Och, if I give it any more she'll blow, Cap'n! ♫

(Star Trekkin' across the universe.)

A section for the space cadets, how apt.

Sep 17, 2013 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Michael Crichton's State of Fear was very influential on me. Not that I accepted the scientific references quoted, any more than I did in works like Prey or other techno-thrillers by Crichton, but more of an emotional epiphany. I very much identified with the hero and initially rejected all the arguments from the two sceptical scientists. I looked at numerous publications and blogs with new eyes afterwards. Incidentally, it is interesting that nearly all of Crichton's output has been made into (excellent) films but not State of Fear. (Or Prey, I have to admit - although that probably wouldn't make a very good film.) Cowardly film-makers?

Sep 17, 2013 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Cowardly film-makers?

Who knows? Scared of making a big loss, yes.

I'm just looking forward to a decent film one day where the oilman is a hero rather than the villain. "There Will be Blood" was close - although he was hardly a sympathetic figure. Usually it's all about courageous environmentalists fighting off big businesses who want to *gasp* bring industry and jobs to a depressed area which can only mean *destruction* of all the good things in the world.

Sep 17, 2013 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Actually, "literary cli-fi" could be an interesting tongue-twister (NPI). Instead of "50 Shades of Grey" you could have "40 Shades of Green" .

Sep 17, 2013 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

@ Justice4Rinka, I think Ian McEwan was being quite sly when he wrote "Solar", as it can be interpreted several ways and not always to the credit of the planet-saving fraternity, as you point out. A case of show rather than tell.

The novel seems to have been a sort of homework assignment after McEwan went on a Cape Farewell expedition in 2005; here's a short piece he wrote, following the trip. Again, it's ambiguous; the trippers have lofty ideas about "the stupendous responsibilities that flow from our stewardship of the planet", but are completely unable to organise their own boots.

Sep 17, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

GOODREADS says !feel free to add a shelf at goodreads named or "cli-fi".

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the message. The genres for books on Goodreads aren't actually set by the meta-data (yet). At the moment, a book's genre is determined solely by the way Goodreads users shelve the book. If many users shelve the book as "historical fiction", it appears on the "historical fiction" genre page, and so on. We do plan to use meta-data for more precise book information in the future, but we still haven't finished that particular project. As of now, no member has shelved a book as "climate fiction", so it doesn't exist yet on the site. If you have books that fall under that new category, feel free to add a shelf named or "cli-fi".

Customer Care Representative

CLI FI CENTRAL: ‘Cli-fi’ – a new literary genre


CLI FI CENTRAL: 'Cli-fi' – a new literary genre
CLI FI CENTRAL: 'Cli-fi' – a new literary genre

Sep 18, 2013 at 2:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterdan bloom

“State of Fear,” in 2004, was a thriller about unlikely allies (including an environmental lawyer and a researcher turned undercover agent) who find an ecoterrorism group staging natural disasters to exaggerate the effects of global warming. But it was also a platform for Mr. Crichton to dismiss scientific concerns about climate change.

Mr. Crichton included many footnoted references to a selection of actual data — rates of sea-level rise, frequencies of hurricanes — as well as bibliographies and direct comments to the reader (“the people of 2100 will be much richer than we are,” for example). All of this advanced a thesis: that global warming isn’t as drastic as the scientific community says, that its man-made origins can’t be proved and that the debate around it has become too politicized. This argument earned Mr. Crichton invitations to visit the Bush White House, and to testify before the Senate. It also elicited harsh judgments from research and policy groups that said he had misinterpreted or misused data, and had politicized the debate himself.

Sep 18, 2013 at 5:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterDanny Bloom

Two titles that should be candidates for the Cli-Fi genre:

Faux Nobel Laureate, Rajendra Pachauri's Return to Almora

Faux Nobel Laureate, Michael Mann's The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars (which should have been ttitled Portrait of the Artist as an Aggrieved Mann)

Sep 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov


I take it you haven't seen Armageddon. In that movie, a group of oilmen are sent to space to drill into and blow up a comet on collision course with the Earth. There is a very memorable scene in which our world saving oil rig owner, Bruce Willis, plays golf with Greenpeace protesters. See,

My review? A decent yarn, I'd say for a sci-fi movie.

Sep 18, 2013 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Father/daughter duo blog posts pro/con POV re CLI FI #clifi climate fiction novels, Your POV? -

Sep 22, 2013 at 3:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterDan Bloom

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