Is this book the prototype for the climate fiction novel?

Who wrote the first climate fiction novel? The small cadre of writers and editors interested in this new branch of science fiction cite J.G. Ballard’s 1962 novel The Drowned World as one of the first, if not the first, novels to explore how humanity copes with a warming world. But Ballard’s novel was published long … More Is this book the prototype for the climate fiction novel?

Review: Lydia Millet’s Pills and Starships

One of the great problems with discussions of climate change is the bleak future they tend to paint. In the worst cases, the ice caps melt, rising seas flood coastal cities, diseases mutate and run rampant, institutions value people by their carbon footprint, and mega-storms wreak havoc on what’s left. Add to this rising economic … More Review: Lydia Millet’s Pills and Starships

Review: Giving the Cold Shoulder to Antarctica

I’ve been a fan of master science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson ever since the Mars Trilogy, which dealt with terraforming the Red Planet. Now that humanity is engaged in an accidental terraforming experiment on its own world, it was the right time for me to read Antarctica, one of Robinson’s lesser-known novels. I was … More Review: Giving the Cold Shoulder to Antarctica

Review: Memory of Water

The stereotypical dystopian film and novel, such as A Clockwork Orange or 1984, presents a dark, violent, dysfunctional world with humans under the thumb of an oppressive regime. Memory of Water, the debut novel from Finnish author Emmi Itäranta, adds an extra dimension to her dystopia, a drying Earth where fresh water is protected by … More Review: Memory of Water

Review: ‘Grumbles’ is a bit of fun at the greens’ expense

The environmental movement lacks a sense of humor. Too many greens resemble fire-and-brimstone preachers who threaten you with eternal damnation if you don’t clean up your act and come to Jesus. Activists have a point: Climate change, industrial pollution, and unfettered genetic modification technologies pose real threats to humanity. It’s hard to tell a joke … More Review: ‘Grumbles’ is a bit of fun at the greens’ expense

Review: Is ‘Noah’ an allegory for climate change?

Darren Aronofsky’s enjoyable film Noah, starring Russell Crowe as the biblical patriarch, challenges the Children’s Bible imagery of the Great Flood myth by portraying Noah as a borderline cult leader. He loves animals, admonishes his children to take from the earth only what they need, and listens to voices in his head, which he takes … More Review: Is ‘Noah’ an allegory for climate change?

Review: A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists

I remember a lecture in a college philosophy class about a medieval scholastic who wrote that if you can imagine something, it’s possible for it to become real. The artist Picasso took the idea a step further by declaring, “Everything you can imagine is real.” But what happens if you imagine something, and then destroy … More Review: A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists

Review: Futurecoast is crowd-sourced science fiction

Storytelling has changed little since the advent of the printing press, despite the technological revolutions of the 20th and 21st centuries. The product is still linear, that is, one damn thing after another, to paraphrase Elbert Hubbard. And stories are largely the product of a single individual, though that person may head a team, such … More Review: Futurecoast is crowd-sourced science fiction

Review: In Ark warns against benign eco-ideologies

Most books in the emerging genre of “climate fiction” fall under the label after the fact. Margaret Atwood, author of the Maddaddam trilogy, has embraced the “cli-fi” label, though she prefers “speculative fiction.” Climate activist and book lover Dan Bloom and editor Mary Woodbury have attached the label to dozens of books published as early … More Review: In Ark warns against benign eco-ideologies

Review: ‘Fleet’ revives sci-fi’s nautical tradition

Science fiction’s nautical tradition goes back to the genre’s origins. In 1870, French writer Jules Verne predicted the nuclear submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and he created one of the great megalomaniac characters in literature, Captain Nemo. My own love of sci-fi was sparked in part by the 1960s TV series Voyage … More Review: ‘Fleet’ revives sci-fi’s nautical tradition

Review: Hot Mess

Climate change is relatively unexplored territory in fiction, including speculative fiction, and most of the pioneers in this area have investigated the subject via the novel. Relatively few writers have tackled it with the short story and other short forms. One collection, however, corrects this mistake. Hot Mess: Speculative Fiction About Climate Change, edited by … More Review: Hot Mess

Review: Water’s Edge a Plausible YA Climate Yarn

Climate change is too abstract for most people. Scientists focus on impacts decades out, while hedging predictions with “may” or “could.” Activists often turn these prognostications into apocalyptic visions, and the hyperbole turns people off. When something truly frightening occurs, such as a super typhoon or powerful late season tornadoes, an audience ready to hear … More Review: Water’s Edge a Plausible YA Climate Yarn

Review: The World We Made

We live in a time of pessimistic artistic visions of the future. TV viewers and readers flock to the dystopian worlds of a zombie-infested Walking Dead or Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy, which foresees a wrecked climate, out-of-control superbugs, and extremes of wealth and privation. The popularity of these fantasies reflect, at least in their depiction … More Review: The World We Made