Is climate fiction a genre, a theme, a motif, or what?

The activist and public relations man Dan Bloom, who originated the term “cli-fi” in 2008, recently posed the question to me in an email: Is climate fiction a genre, a theme, or a motif? I laughed, because these are the kinds of questions that resemble the old saw about debating the number of angels who … More Is climate fiction a genre, a theme, a motif, or what?

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: 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

Three things Raymond Chandler taught me about writing

One of my beta readers said that a draft of The Vault of Perfection, the sci-fi novel I’m currently revising, reminded her of Raymond Chandler‘s novels. It’s a compliment I hardly deserve, but it came as a surprise, because I’d never read any of his books. I knew he had pioneered the “hard-boiled detective” novel, … More Three things Raymond Chandler taught me about writing

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

Thoughts on climate fiction from a writer and a publisher

Mark Nykanen, author of Primitive, Carry the Flame, and other environmentally themed novels, and Mary Sands Woodbury, editor at Moon Willow Press and the website Clifibooks.com, offered their thoughts on climate fiction and its future in publishing. (Material is edited.) What is “climate fiction,” and is it a new genre of fiction? Nykanen: I like … More Thoughts on climate fiction from a writer and a publisher

Six rules for putting climate change into your fiction

Writers, especially new writers, are on the lookout for rules that will guarantee, or at least enhance the potential for success in the artistic or commercial marketplace. If you’re interested in writing in the new genre of “climate fiction,” here’s a few boundaries that will help you understand your role as climate storyteller. 1. Climate … More Six rules for putting climate change into your fiction

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

Seattle literary event may debut climate fiction

A literary event in April 2014 has me thinking that climate fiction may have arrived in Seattle. Richard Hugo House, a non-profit organization that supports writers with educational programs and events, has posted the schedule for its annual Hugo Literary Series. The org has invited three writers–Nick Flynn, Rick Bass, and Jennine Capó Crucet–to write about … More Seattle literary event may debut climate fiction

Gather the Shadowmen

Gather the Shadowmen: The Lords of the Ocean, Mark M. McMillin. Hephaestus Publishing, 298 pages softcover: $14.95, ebook: $4.99. Benjamin Franklin may have single-handedly saved the U.S. from destruction in the Revolutionary War by persuading France to join America in an alliance against the British. But in the years leading up to his triumph, he … More Gather the Shadowmen

13th Book in Kydd Series

Betrayal, by Julian Stockwin. U.S. release date: October 2012. Published in the U.S. by McBooks Press, 320 pages, hardcover, $24.00. Most authors of nautical fiction from the Napoleonic Era place their characters somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, usually the Atlantic or the Mediterranean. That’s where most of the historical action was, of course. By contrast, … More 13th Book in Kydd Series

Review: Julian Stockwin’s “Conquest”

Dramatic retellings of the struggle between Great Britain and France under Napoleon often end with Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar, as if everything naval in the Napoleonic Wars that happened after the great battle was hardly more than a long epilog. But as author Julian Stockwin and many historians see it, the battle opened the gates … More Review: Julian Stockwin’s “Conquest”

Yo-No-No!

Nothing has done as much to revive the popular interest in the Golden Age of Piracy than Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which started in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. That’s good for maritime history geeks; at least it got people asking interesting questions when they visit … More Yo-No-No!

Yarrr… It blows!

2010: Moby Dick, with Barry Bostwick and Renee O’Connor. Screenplay by Paul Bales, adapted from the Herman Melville novel. Not rated, though some scenes of severe injury. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit harsh: the new “re-imagining” of the classic Herman Melville novel Moby Dick doesn’t entirely blow. It mostly blows. The premise of the … More Yarrr… It blows!