Does science fiction about climate change = a new genre?
The Digital Reader sends us a report from The Conversation on the phenomenon, which appears to have been introduced as a concept in 2007 by blogger Dan Bloom. Dissent Magazine had a useful survey article on it in 2013. Wikipedia, which is silent on the origin of the term, assures us that “Hundreds of universities worldwide now offer climate-change fiction courses that deal with both literature and film.”
As to whether cli-fi really does represent a full-blown genre, I remain skeptical. Does sic-fi have subdivisions for robots, dystopias, space flight etc.etc. or is it all just sic-fi? Surely one could write a romance novel which had climate change as its backdrop: would that be cli-romance? This difficulty has been taken care of by the website Eco-fiction, which makes no science-fictional demands. They also reveal the existence of the sub-genre Solarpunk, which slightly confusing term appears at bottom to be cli-fi with a happy ending.
Still, if it makes fans happy to live with cli-fi, what harm’s done? For such, there’s a Twitter hashtag, #clifi, and a Facebook YA Cli-fi community. For novices, keen to engage with the phenomenon, The Guardian provides a reading list of 10 YA cli-fi books to get started on, while Goodreads hits you over the head with 132 titles.