Saturday, July 14, 2018

''Climate change's literary seer -- How Cli-Fi came to be''

Word coiner Dan Bloom didn't have a plan when he started out with cli-fi, but he knew he was looking for a literary term that would resonate in the Age of the Anthrocene.

Cli-fi was originally coined as a PR term to promote a climate-themed sci-fi novel set in a dystopian Alaska of 2075 that Bloom had commissioned from a writer in Texas -- Jim Laughter who published ''POLAR CITY RED'' in 2012.

Bloom, an expat American  journalist and editor working in Japan and Taiwan since 1991, knew he was on to something when he saw Margaret Atwood re-tweet the term on her Twitter feed and later  use it in an oped in Canada and the UK.

Savvy literary critics like Amy Brady in New York  and James Bradley in Australia started using the term in reviewing books, and academics in the fields of literature, science communications and psychology began presenting papers worldwide on the cli-fi term.

Bloom is in his late 60s, early 70s, and is retired now and spends his days in Asia  running The Cli-Fi Report --  a non profit NGO archiving news links and cli-fi reading lists about, what else? -- cli-fi. !

Cli-fi has taken on a life of its own now. 

Publishers are talking about it, literary agents are taking on cli-fi novelists as clients, book editors are looking for the latest in cli-fi novels and the media worldwide is using the term with more and more frequency.

You could say that in 2018 cli-fi is in the air -- the polluted, the fire-tsunami driven, heatwave-driven and hurricane -fueled air. 

As sea levels rise over the next several centuries, into the 22nd century and the 23rd century, expect to see more and more cli-fi in the movies and in novels.

A new genre has been born. A stand-alone, independent genre. Literary fiction will never be the same.

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