Tag: cli-fi

Forty Signs of Rain: Too Real for Its Own Good?

I wouldn’t say that Forty Signs of Rain is a genre-blending book, but that’s only because I’m not sure I could define the exact elements of each genre involved and where blending occurs. It is a story that rests in its own category and presents a realistic portrait of it’s characters and arcs without following any strict stylistic rules.

Sometimes, this lack of constraints ends up hurting the novels literary pursuits. The plot stalls at some points and jumps abruptly to others. Frank seems to be confused about whether he is an emotionally attached observer or a passionate activist and while this makes sense in the context of human complexity it makes it hard to identify with him. Anna and the rest of the characters all seem to behave similarly, they’re passionate about the research they do, the change they want to see, and the dangers that may occur, but they are always composed to some degree.

The behavior makes sense and the homogenous personalities also seem fitting for a group of people with shared goals and interests. It is realistic and even intuitive and that’s the problem. Characters sometimes take drastic measures (repelling from rooftops and tracking down women that they barely know) but these measures are methodical. If the characters were given dramatized personalities that differed from each other, the book may have seemed a little more cohesive and the pacing may have been more natural and intuitive.

Character consistency does help the plot in a lot of ways that make the themes more prominent and the actual events more tangible. The hard science of the novel and the detached nature of it’s scientists show the problems that the real world has with climate-related policy. The people who are most aware of the dangerous consequences are unable to bend and sacrifice their analytical methods. While, the opposition is untethered to rigor and validity and able to use rhetoric and manipulation in ways that the scientific community either can’t or won’t.

The problem is that we have no idea what the exact outcome of our excess will be and all of our warnings are given theoretically and without the full conviction and vigor that is consistent with today’s political arguments. There is little poetry in the explanations of atmospheric damage and rising sea levels. We aren’t moved to action because we haven’t felt fright or dread on an emotional level. We know what will happen and why we should change, but that kick of pure instinct just hasn’t happened.

Frank would most likely agree with all of the above sentiments which is one of the reasons that I really like the book and don’t consider it’s narrative roadblocks as true mistakes. It is the book that it needs to be and while this approach may not yield the best literature or the most effective tool of propaganda, it makes for a cohesion on an intellectual level that the genre of science fiction needs.

Cli-fi in the Classroom

Via Dan Bloom, an article about cli-fi classes across the country, including our own. My favorite part? It’s also available in Spanish:

En la Universidad de Temple, Ted Howell da un curso llamado “Clima ficción: Ciencia ficción, cambio climático y apocalipsis” a unos 30 estudiantes. También tienen blogs semanales sobre el curso mediante el cual mantienen intercambios fuera de clase con su profesor y sus compañeros.

A Future Not So Bright

Authors and scientists Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway give us a view of what exactly the year 2393 looks like on our planet and the thorough history behind why it does in the science-fiction cli-fi piece, The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From The Future. It portrays a history, our time, full of denial and unwillingness to do something about the seriousness of climate change. While reading this book, you can’t help but see this type of behavior when looking at our present day society and finding the amount of repudiation about climate change to be immense. It is not till everything begins to fall apart for humanity that we start believing the predictions of the future impacts of climate change to be extremely true and enacting climate projects made years ago. Authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway show us what happens when we ignore all the warnings that were presented to us so obviously years and years ago. Our time is the beginning of what is recorded as a “tragic period of human history.” If that phrase about our time on this earth doesn’t send shivers down your spine, then I don’t know what will. This short yet greatly detailed book embodies science-based fiction and history all into a thought-provoking and truly frightening piece. In my own opinion, yes, the science part of this short read does become overwhelming at times. However, overall this book is a good read and definitely does it’s job in shocking the reader with an extremely alarming, yet highly plausible future.

“Clif-Fi Guy”

Over on his Clif-Fi Report website, Dan Bloom has shared a brief history of how, in his words

an unaffiliated, independent climate activist and PR operative in a non-alligned country used his PR moxie to bring a five-letter genre term to worldwide attention, for better or worse, come what may….and all with a sense of humor and a certain playfulness with language, while never taking himself or this world too seriously..although Cli Fi Guy is very serious…and very much of this world…and determined……

Go on over a give it a read — and leave a comment!