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Climate change is the new normal. Frequent torrential rains, extended heat waves, and Category 5 hurricanes affect readers more and more often, and writers need to reflect these experiences in their short stories and novels. How do you incorporate long-term, usually invisible trends in your romances, adventures, mysteries, and other genre fiction, as well as literary fiction? Here’s a few resources that may help.
Eco-Fiction – Only a few websites have taken on the challenge of cataloging the growing list of titles focused on climate change and its impact. Mary Woodbury‘s Eco-Fiction, (https://eco-fiction.com/) is ambitious and comprehensive. Check out her series Spotlight on Climate Change Authors.
The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative – Arizona State University has created an academic and literary initiative that brings together leading writers and readers to discuss the portrayal of climate change in fiction and non-fiction. Speakers have included Margaret Atwood, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Paolo Bacigalupi. The Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative (https://climateimagination.asu.edu/) also sponsors an annual climate fiction contest.
The Cli-Fi Report – Independent journalist and activist Dan Bloom is credited with popularizing the term “climate fiction,” sometimes called “cli-fi,” often described as a sub-genre of science fiction. His Cli-Fi Report (http://cli-fi.net/) tracks the growth of popular and academic interest in fiction about climate change.
“Burning Worlds” – Amy Brady, senior editor at the Chicago Review of Books, writes a monthly column about books and trends in climate fiction. She’s profiled works by Sam J. Miller, Robin MacArthur, and Jeff VanderMeer.
“Climate Fiction In English” – If you’re in need of a brief academic survey of fiction with climate change as a main theme, Caren Irr of Brandeis University has written a solid survey of “climate fiction” and its roots in science fiction and criticism.
Teaching Cli-Fi – In 2015, Temple University taught a class in climate fiction, and the academic team pulled together a bibliography on global warming in fiction.
The Rough Guide to Climate Change – The subject of global warming can overwhelm any writer, but I found The Rough Guide to Climate Change an excellent primer for the layperson. The book focuses on the science, but there’s a nod to the ongoing debate, despite the scientific certainty of a warming world.
Anthropocene Fictions: The Novel In a Time of Climate Change – Scholar Adam Trexler surveys the history of climate portrayals in literature and criticism during the newly dubbed “Anthropocene Period,” when humans began to modify the earth to suit their needs.
Short Stories and Novels – Of course, one of the best ways to learn how to bring the impact of climate change to life is by reading novels by Margaret Atwood, Kim Stanley Robinson, James Bradley, and a host of other amazing writers. Check out my reviews of selected novels and anthologies.
What’s your favorite climate fiction resource?