Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How the cli-fi term since 2012 grew step by step to be the international literary genre it is today.

Since 2012, the global landscape of cli-fi cultural websites has been chock full of news about thousands of fictional creations, in print and on the silver screen, talking about the global impact of human-induced climate change. In academia as well as in pop culture, this rapidly growing body of novels and movies is now commonly referred to by the catchy linguistic portmanteau ''cli-fi,'' a term coined by an American climate activist named Dan Bloom living in Asia and monitored worldwide on social media and the internet via his dedicated website ''The Cli-Fi Report'' at www.cli-fi.net

That cli-fi has transitioned from a colloquial term coined by a lone blogger working independently in Asia and circulating around the blogosphere into a cultural buzzword can be seen, to name but a few examples from a long list, by its recent addition to the Oxford Dictionaries, its appearance in numerous international conferences and academic publications, the daily blogging of Bloom at his cli-fi-books.blogspot.com site, his personal encouragement of the establishment of Amy Brady’s monthly ''cli-fi trends'' column, “Burning Worlds,” examining cli-fi novels and trends (Chicago Review of Books), and the increasing inclusion of cli-fi as a label in newspaper and internet articles and marketing strategies by publishers and movie studios.

In addition to the many cli-fi mentions in the media worldwide, there are also journalistic mentions of cli-fi novels and movies. Now more than 100 colleges and universities worldwide offer classes in cli-fi novels and movies.
The Cli-Fi Report from its inception was meant to provide an entryway into cli-fi’s many portals. While there is no general agreement on how cli-fi is to be defined, the term itself is understood as Bloom's simple abbreviation of the longer term of ''climate fiction.'' It is an independent, standalone literary genre, as Bloom insists it is, or, is it perhaps a subgenre of ''science fiction'' as some sci-fi literary critics and sci-fi historians opine? Whatever, cli-fi is here and it is here to stay. We can thank Dan Bloom for that.

​Without Bloom's constant blogging, tweeting and messaging about cli-fi on Facebook (in addition to an unending and persistent series of cli-fi PR emails since 2012 to hundreds of editors and reporters at internet websites around the world)​, cli-fi as a term would not exist. He set up the first Wikipedia page for cli-fi in 2013, which has morphed over time to a page now for "Climate Fiction," and he himself in his 70s is actively and energetically engaged 24/7 year-round without any vacations or days off from his computer desk and iPhone. It was his constant PR work since 2012 onward that led to cli-fi's rise in public awareness, and that led to two major New York Times articles in 2014 and in 2017 to a monthly ''cli-fi trends'' column in the The Chicago Review of Books which has also been picked up by the Yale Climate Communications website upon Bloom's recommendation to an editor there.

THE ''Cli-Fi ''REPORT:
Over 1000 academic and  media links worldwide now in a variety of languages:


planning underway now


Writing workshops

Climate Communications speakers

Keynote TBA

All-Night Jam

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YOUR POV? reply in comments below. a SFF writer friend tells me today -- It's always tough to get your finger on the pulse of the book industry until after the fact, but ultimately they want to publish what sells, so if Kim Stanley Robinson writes more cli-fi novels, or if Neal Stephenson wants to do a cli-fi opus, those books will certainly get published.

Having said that, from the trenches as a writer in the field, it certainly seems to me like there is less pure cli-fi getting written and published. I think the lack of new cli-fi has more to do with our current political climate than any aversion to cli-fi. Please note that in order to combat the prevalence of conservative "populist" ideologies—which are at their root racist, sexist, and homophobic—the sci-fi community at large is moving towards inclusivity and representation of marginalized voices in the genre.
We're still seeing some cli-fi settings in scifi and SF/F work, but for the time being at least, the cli-fi elements are more of a backdrop and less the driving-force of the stories. Another factor could be the fact we're already starting to live the reality of climate change. Personally, I had to scrap my near-future cli-fi novel I was working on because the future caught up with us too quickly!