What can we learn from cli-fi?
Sara Boon blogs:
In my first Wednesday on the Web, I had a link to an article about whether dystopian climate fiction, or cli-fi, was becoming a reality. Another cli-fi article has popped up in my reading list this week—this time exploring the things we can learn from cli-fi. What’s interesting is that the author of this article, Murat Cem Mengüç, also hadn’t heard of cli-fi, even though the term has been around since the early 2000s. Also, surprisingly, both articles reference the Dark Mountain Project.
As Mengüç writes, the genre itself has been around for centuries, but there is renewed interest in it because of several factors. He cites the Anthropocene, the feeling of solastalgia (“a form of psychological or existential distress caused by environmental change, such as mining or climate change”), and the so-called ‘spatial turn,’ which has led to a growing interest in geography and ecology, as main drivers of people’s interest in cli-fi.
If you’re interested in reading this genre, Mengüç provides many modern examples to check out, including Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s Madaddam trilogy.
I’m not a huge Atwood fan, but have read some of the other examples, such as Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I’ve also read others not included in Mengüç’s article, such as Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven—see more in my post on post-apocalyptic literature and decision-making.
I find the Dark Mountain Manifesto is particularly apt:
“Those who witness extreme social collapse at first hand seldom describe any deep revelation about the truths of human existence. What they do mention, if asked, is their surprise at how easy it is to die.”