Thursday, November 7, 2019

''Cli-Fi'' --- 20 Important Facts and Figures [AND ONLINE LINKS] About the Fast-Rising Worldwide Literary Genre

20 Important Facts and Figures and Links About the Fast-Rising Worldwide Literary Genre

1. -- The genre term first took off in media circles and social media on April 20, 2013 when NPR radio network ran a 5 minute segment on air (and transcribed in text on the NPR website) and the link went viral

2. -- The genre term was picked up a month later by Rodge Glass on May 31, 2013, writing for the Guardian in London

3.  -- Carolyn Kormann, writing as a contributing writer for The New Yorker magazine 2 months after the Guardian piece appeared, wrote an essay on July 3, 2013 in which she (prematurely and later recanted) said  ''These books have been labelled “cli-fi,” but chances are that the name won't stick."

4.  -- The New York Times ran a story on April 1, 2014 by higher education beat reporter Richard Perez-Pena that put the cli-fi term on the map worldwide in education circles: ''College Classes Used To Teach Students About New Literary Genre'':

5. This was followed at MHP Books a few days later in a literary blog with the headline

'Uni'versity class focuses on cli-fi, the newest trend in dystopian fiction''

6 . --  ''Will Fiction Influence How We React to Climate Change?" was a headline in the New York Times "Room For Debate" forum on July 29, 2014

7.  -- Dan Bloom wrote in the New York Times in a short piece headlined "Movies Like 'SnowPiercer' Can Sound the Alarm''

8. GWU professor Michael Svoboda in November 2014 wrote for Yale Climate Connections website an essay titled "(What) do we learn from cli-fi films? Hollywood is still stuck in the Holocene Era: America's gridlocked political debate may have constrained Hollywood's efforts. But filmmakers' engrained ways of thinking lead to climate change mis-representations.''

9. -- A pair of academics in Europe posted in 2017 a blog post headlined

''Cli-Fi in American Studies: A Research Bibliography'' telling readers:''Over the last two decades, the global landscape of cultural production has been teeming with a cornucopia of fictional texts, in print, in live performance, and on the screen, engaging with the local and global impact of advanced human-induced climate change. In academia as well as in popular culture, this rapidly growing body of texts is now commonly referred to by the catchy linguistic portmanteau ‘cli-fi.’''

10. -- Three academics posted a website on January 12, 2016 titled

''Climate Change Imaginaries? Examining Expectation Narratives in Cli-Fi Novels'' writing: ''A new generation of climate fiction called Cli-fi has emerged in the last decade, marking the strong consensus that has emerged over climate change.'' at

11.  -- ''TeleRead'' website published an oped in September 2014 titled

''Movies work their magic with cli fi''

12. -- The Rosella Room posted a blog piece titled 

''Cli-fi: exploitative or transformative literature?''  at

13. -- Dissent Magazine in its summer 2013 issue ran an early cli-fi literary essay titled "Cli-Fi: Birth of a Genre" noting: ''Perhaps climate change had once seemed too large-scale, or too abstract, for the minutely human landscape of fiction. But the threat seems to have become too pressing to ignore, and less abstract, thanks to a nonstop succession of mega-storms and record-shattering temperatures. Several new novels make climate change central to their plot and setting, appropriating time-honored narratives to accord with our new knowledge and fears.''

14.  -- Joni Adamson in 2018 wrote in an abstract for her academic paper: ''The failure of the 2009 United Nations Copenhagen talks (COP 15) on climate change illustrated some significant barriers to achieving sustainable futures, including bureaucratic inertia and the tendency of governments, university academics and other groups to work in isolation. To break through this inertia, there has been a notable movement among literature professors, engineers, architects, and urban planners to embrace a fast emerging genre of fiction referred to as “cli-fi,” short for “climate fiction.” In a 2014 “Room for Debate” feature in The New York Times, several writers, critics and scientists contributed opinion pieces addressing the efficacy of imagination and fiction for identifying and solving the problems associated with climate change. One of them, George Marshall, founder of the Climate Outreach Network, argued that fiction and imagination are vitally important for making sense of climate change. We need “the alchemy of stories” to turn cold data “into the emotional gold it needs to mobilize” (Marshall, 2014). Another, Sheree Renée Thomas, recalled the role of folktale and myth in building resistance to slavery in the Americas. “There is power in fantasy, especially in stories that urge us to face the impossible or find ways to survive” (2014).''

15. -- A class syllabus at the University of Oregon in 2014 put it this way: This course offers an introduction to the study of literature by focusing on the emerging genre of climate change fiction (popularly known as “cli-fi”). Throughout the term, we will be investigating how fictional texts can suggest new ways for thinking about climate change and even afford opportunities for imagining more just and resilient futures. That is, we will consider the question: how and why does fiction, and specifically literary fiction, matter in the context of climate change? To pursue such an investigation, we will analyze the specific formal and stylistic conventions of literary and cultural texts and situate those texts within broader debates and discourses—scientific, historical, and political—about climate change. Specifically, we will read a range of short stories and novels, analyzing how features like point of view, characterization, and figurative language enhance the effects that those stories produce on their readers. We will also compare these literary texts to radical forms of fiction—like multiple-authored graphic novels, podcasts, and even alternate reality games—and will thus consider the extent to which different cultural forms shape the ways that people see, understand, and relate to the world. Overall then, this course focuses on developing the necessary tools and skills for thinking, writing, and speaking critically about both literature and climate change.

ENG 104: Climate Change Fiction

15. -- Carolyn Lewis in 2018 wrote a blog piece titled

''The Power of Imagination: The New Genre of Cli-fi'' in which she used the color photo (above, top of page) from a UK bookstore display:

16. -- In October 2017, the UK Guardian published an important oped headlined

''Cli-Fi – A new way to talk about climate change''

[Adding: ''If you’re not familiar with the new genre of climate fiction, you might be soon.'']

17. -- A website in Europe in 2014 ran an interview titled:

''A Chat with the Man Who Dreamt Up Cli Fi''

18. -- CNN ran a piece in 2019 titled

''Cli-fi (climate fiction) on the big screen changes minds about real climate change''

19. -- The Times of Israel ran a blog post titled

''CNN says ‘cli-fi’ films can change viewers’ minds about risks of climate change''

20. -- And finally, a piece titled

''Our planet’s uncertain future remains unknown but cli-fi writers can sound alarm'' noted: Dallas-based reporter Andrew Hirschfeld recently published a news article on the website ”Mic” that was headlined “How climate fiction is helping people understand the planet’s uncertain future.” The item was picked up by the New York book trade magazine Publishers Weekly as a tweet on its Twitter page, and Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist mentioned in the Mic article commented to me in very brief email that read: “Yes, this is now front and center.”

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