Monday, July 23, 2018

Burning Embers, Burning Ashes.....

UPDATE: For this month's July 2018 ''Burning Worlds'' ''cli-fi trends'' literary column, .@harrietalida, author of ''THE HONEY FARM,''  discusses is how fiction might shift our thinking on climate change. 

'The Honey Farm' Move in the Works with Hawkeye Pictures – Variety

Apr 5, 2018 - Hawkeye Pictures has acquired the film and television rights to Harriet Alida Lye's debut novel, "The Honey Farm." ... Print · Pin It · Tumblr. The Honey Farm. CREDIT: Courtesy of Liveright. Toronto-based production company ...

DEAL NEWS: Film/TV rights to Harriet Alida Lye's THE HONEY FARM ...

Apr 5, 2018 - DEAL NEWS: Film/TV rights to Harriet Alida Lye's THE HONEY FARM ... Lye's THEHONEY FARM (World Rights Available Ex: U.S., Liveright; ...

Another very good piece by the open-minded and generous literary critic Amy Brady, in her continuing monthly ''cli-fi trends'' column for the Chicago Review of Books website. 

What began as a question to this blogger in 2016 that she posed on her Twitter feed........ ''Do we need a regular literary column on the rise of the cli-fi genre and it's practitioners?''........later morphed into a popular must-read online column dubbed "Burning Worlds" that appears without fail around the 25th of each month. Almost two years now, and counting...

And her column is later reprinted verbatim a few weeks later in Yale Climate Communications website.

Here's the latest piece by Amy, -------SEE UPDATE JULY 24th ------- a PhD in theater from UMASS-Amherst in western Massachusetts, who has a deep concern for the fate of the Earth and a warm regard for readers, writers and people she has met along the way. Amy is a rising new star in American literary circles. Don't miss her monthly column or her separate monthly ''climate change and the arts'' newsletter.

“Burning Worlds” is a new monthly column dedicated to examining important trends in climate change fiction, or “cli-fi.”
It astonishes me to think just how long humans have known that the Earth is getting warmer. The term “global warming” didn’t enter public consciousness until the 1970s, but scientists have studied our planet’s natural greenhouse effect since at least the 1820s. In 1896, a Swedish chemist named Svante Arrheniussome concluded that human activity (like coal burning) contributed to the effect, warming the planet further.
And yet, here we find ourselves in 2017, still wrestling with manmade climate change like it’s a new phenomenon. Why have we not acted sooner? The answer may lie in what Indian author Amitav Ghosh calls humanity’s “great derangement”: our inability to perceive the enormity of the catastrophe that awaits us.
That’s where fiction writers come in.
For years, authors have been writing climate change fiction, or “cli-fi,” a genre of literature that imagines the past, present, and future effects of climate change. Their work crosses literary boundaries in terms of style and content, landing on shelves marked SF and “literary fiction.” Perhaps you’ve read one of the classics: Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Forty Signs of Rain. Then there’s Ian McEwan’s Solar and J. G. Ballard’s 1965 novel The Burning World, from which this column derives its name. Each of these novels—like others in the genre—help us to “see” possible futures lived out on a burning, drowning, or dying planet.
Here in 2017 at the Chicago Review of Books, we feel it’s time to give cli-fi more attention. To that end, we bring you “Burning Worlds,” a new monthly column dedicated to examining current literary trends in cli-fi. It’ll feature interviews, reviews, and analyses of the genre with the hope of generating a larger conversation about climate change and why imagined depictions of the phenomenon are vital to the literary community—and beyond.


Can Fiction Change People’s Minds About Climate Change?


A Buzzworthy Debut About a Mysterious and Secluded Artists’ Retreat

NYT book review: '

By Harriet Alida Lye
328 pp. Liveright Publishing. $25.95.
Bees are weird. The peculiar mating rituals, the doomed drones who wait all their lives for a single sexual encounter with an omnipotent queen, leading to immediate death. As humans, we find them fascinating: perhaps the only species whose gender politics are more screwed up than our own.
In “The Honey Farm,” the debut novel by the Canadian writer Harriet Alida Lye, the inner workings of a bee colony become an eerie metaphor for communal living gone awry. At the center of the novel is Silvia, a recent university graduate who replies to an exuberant online ad for “THE HONEY FARM. Free retreat for artists, writers, thinkers!” It’s unclear which category Silvia belongs to, but she is nonetheless offered room and board in exchange for work on the farm.
It seems, at first, an idyllic setting: Think Yaddo with bees. Running the show is the mysterious Cynthia, the farm’s proprietor and queen bee, who supervises the chores that occupy most of the day. The residents — two brothers who make documentary films, a French Canadian artist couple and Ibrahim, a driven young painter from Toronto, among others — are shocked to find that the farm has no internet access, no cellphone signal. Its only link to the outside world is a phone booth at the end of the lane.

'Raised in a conservative Christian home, Silvia seems younger than her years. Her innocence is believable, but her passivity is narratively problematic. She is a character to whom life simply happens. She drifts into a love affair with Ibrahim and feels guilty about not telling her parents. She sleeps a great deal and has cryptic dreams. The story gathers momentum when, to her utter astonishment, she finds herself pregnant — a fact she discovers only when a clerk in a grocery store inexplicably hands her a pregnancy test she doesn’t ask or pay for. Ever obedient, Silvia finds a restroom and pees on the stick.
''The story takes a dark turn when Cynthia shows a disturbing interest in Silvia’s unborn baby, building to a climax that should be harrowing, but isn’t, since Silvia lacks the drive to save herself or even understand the nature of the danger she’s in.
''When it comes to creating suspense, “The Honey Farm” succeeds almost too well. The unexplained phenomena of early summer, so vividly rendered, in the end amount to nothing. The drought eases, the bloody water clears and the frogs are gone as quickly as they appeared. In the end, the novel doesn’t deliver on its sinister promise. “It starts with the bees,” the spooky prologue tells us, “and it’ll end this way too.” If only that were true.''

The writing is uneven, but Lye is at her best when describing the natural world. “By the end of June, the fuzzy-headed clover will have finished its season,” she writes. “The bees will have sucked the purple straws dry.” Her fascination with apian life and the little-known techniques of beekeeping give rise to the most memorable scenes in the novel, as when Silvia learns to harvest royal jelly from the hive.

It’s a satisfying setup, reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery, the entire cast of characters marooned together in an exotic locale. Strange events ensue. Silvia drinks from a garden hose and finds the water blood-colored. The group is afflicted with head lice. A swim in a murky pond disturbs an unimaginable number of frogs, which soon infiltrate the house. The incidents seem related to an unprecedented drought that’s making the bees anxious. Clearly, evil is afoot.

No comments: