Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What is cli-fi? Kristin Hunt explains

What Is Cli-fi? These Books Imagine The Future Of Climate Change
The scene is future Los Angeles, and it’s a bit of a nightmare. Water is a precious commodity, more expensive than gas. Violence and fire are widespread. Society has devolved into all-out class warfare, where the rich live in gated communities, hoarding the precious few resources left on Earth. Life on another planet seems to be humanity’s last hope.
That’s the premise of Parable of the Sower, a 1993 cli-fi novel by Octavia Butler that imagined the consequences of mass tornadoes, blizzards, and drought. Parable of the Sower falls under the niche category of “cli-fi,” a literary genre that’s developed quite the canon in the past few decades.
 “Cli-fi,” has many definitions, so see for more.

Oryx and Crake: In Margaret Atwood’s cli-fi novel, a pandemic has wiped out most humans, save for our protagonist “Snowman,” or Jimmy, as he was once known. He spends his days scavenging for food with a group of not-quite-human creatures called the Crakers. Flashbacks reveal how he got into this mess, and it involves both environmental disaster and genetic engineering. Oryx and Crake is the first in a trilogy exploring this hypothetical world, one that may be coming to television soon.
The Water Knife: Paolo Bacigalupi focuses his futuristic cli-fi dystopia along the Colorado River, which has virtually dried up. The Southwest has devolved into a dust bowl, where residents fight over the remaining water supply. Angel Velasquez is a “water knife,” a mercenary who “cuts” water for his rich clients. He gets a tip on a new water source in Phoenix, so he heads into the depleted city, making uneasy alliances along the way. If you like The Water Knife, go back and read Bacigalupi’s debut novel The Windup Girl, another work of eco fiction.
Flight Behavior: Barbara Kingsolver’s cli-fi novel takes place in a rural community in Tennessee. Dellarobia Turnbow lives on a farm with her husband and young kids, and the family is struggling. One day, Dellarobia treks into the woods and witnesses a bizarre phenomenon she cannot explain. She thinks it’s a valley on fire, but it’s actually a sea of butterflies. They’ve migrated way off course due to pollution plaguing their winter home. No one knows if they can survive, but everyone has ideas on what to do with the butterflies, and it turns the town upside down.

Gold Fame Citrus: California is an arid wasteland in Claire Vaye Watkins’s cli-fi dystopian nightmare. Most of the population lives in internment camps, but Luz and Ray have evaded that fate. They squat in an abandoned L.A. mansion, surviving off rations and loot. The couple is doing fairly well, all things considered, until they meet a strange child. Inspired by this freak encounter, Luz and Ray travel east in search of a mythical colony that could be their salvation.

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