Wednesday, November 20, 2019

SOME EARLY cli-fi novels noted in a 2010 letter to editor in UK newspaper headlined "SF writers hvae had climate change covered for decades''

SOME EARLY Cli-Fi Novels noted in 2010 letter to editor in a UK newspaper
 Opinion Page

        Letter to the Editor of the FT in the UK in 2010, long ago!
Science fiction writers have had climate change covered for decades
  July 10, 2010

   From Mr Bob Buhr the UK

Dear Sir, I just caught up with Ed Crooks’ review of climate change in fiction (“ When the wind blows”, Life & Arts, June 26-27), and, once again, we can see that science fiction writers have been writing about climate change for the past couple of decades.

Ian McEwan is certainly wrong when he says it’s hard to find novels about climate change.

He should just wander over to a different section of the bookstore. Even leaving aside most of the post-apocalyptic novels premised on some sort of global warming catastrophe, the following are pretty good examples of what the genre has been producing.

First, let's mention JG Ballard in your review. The Drowned World (1962) is a classic.

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Forty Signs of Rain (2005), Fifty Degrees Below (2007) and Sixty Days and Counting (2007) are an engaging and all too plausible chronicle of near-term events. All are more plausible and entertaining than McEwan’s Saturday. It’s actually on the basis of Saturday – a genuinely bad book by an otherwise good writer – that I’m holding off on his cli-fi novel titled ''Solar.''

Bruce Sterling’s Heavy Weather (1995) is as scary as hell. Take the notion of tornado hunters and translate into an extreme weather nightmare.

In Jonathan Barnes’ Mother of Storms (1995) methane clouds from under the Arctic disrupt global weather catastrophically when released by a nuclear explosion.

And since Mr Crooks is the energy editor, he could then think about the large methane bubble lying underneath the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and what that might accomplish if released.

Then there is Nothing Human (2003) by Nancy Kress, with global warming and its impacts as the backdrop for some changes to humanity. An astonishingly good book on any number of levels, not least in its description of a US dissolving from the impact of warming.

Peter F. Hamilton’s Mindstar Rising (1993) is set in England in the early 21st century as it tries to recover from global warming.

Meanwhile, the title of Arthur Herzog’s Heat (1976) sums it up. Herzog was talking about CO2 and global warming decades ago.

Paolo Bacigalupi wrote a number of short stories about climate change impacts, collected in Pump Six (2008).

Finally, Philip K. Dick wrote several novels in which the background environment is one ravaged by global warming. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the best known, as the basis for the film Blade Runner.

Happy reading!

Bob Buhr,London NW3, UK

No comments: