So what is Cli- Fi ?
Cli-Fi, or Climate Fiction, is a term coined by journalist Dan Bloom and refers to a growing branch of fiction literature that deals with the effects of climate change and global warming on human society. Works often feature a changed or changing climate and the human response to the impacts of climate change as a major plot device.
Looking to dive in? Over the next 12 weeks every Friday we will post some new recommendations for you to sink your teeth into. Here are few suggestions to get you started.
Title : The Wall
Author : John Lanchester
Synopsis: Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he’s lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights.
The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else.
He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. Along with the rest of his squad, he will endure cold and fear day after day, night after night. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn’t it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life?
John Lanchester’s thrilling, hypnotic new novel set in a future United Kingdom, it connects postapocalyptic climate change to conflict by showing how dwindling resources result in a rise of nationalism. “The change” has eroded beaches and made Britain into a fortress state, patrolled by young defenders under instruction to destroy any boat that approaches.
Title : American War
Author : Omar El Akkad
Synopsis: Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war – part of the Miraculous Generation – now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family’s role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others
This compelling debut novel from journalist Omar El Akkad imagines an America cast into a second Civil War by climate change (and culture wars). As the South of muscle cars and illicit diesel battles against a corrupt North, Sarat Chestnut’s journey from innocent child to hardened killer parallels the fall of a USA that’s simultaneously drowning and blazing.
Title : Leave the World Behind
Author : Rumaan Alam
Synopsis: Amanda and Clay head to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a holiday: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But with a late-night knock on the door, the spell is broken. Ruth and G. H., an older couple who claim to own the home, have arrived there in a panic. These strangers say that a sudden power outage has swept the city, and – with nowhere else to turn – they have come to the country in search of shelter.
But with the TV and internet down, and no phone service, the facts are unknowable. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple – and vice versa? What has happened back in New York? Is the holiday home, isolated from civilisation, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?
An impossibly compelling literary thriller about the world we live in now, Rumaan Alam’s novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped in moments of crisis – and how the most terrifying situations are never far from reality.
Title : The Overstory
Author : Richard Powers
Synopsis: An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. An Air Force crewmember in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. This is the story of these and five other strangers, each summoned in different ways by the natural world, who are brought together in a last stand to save it from catastrophe.
This compelling novel reduces human lives to slim growth rings in the bigger history of trees, with characters whose separate stories fleetingly intersect as they circle around a series of confrontations between individuals and institutions, conscience and greed, that will determine the future of humanity. Richard Powers’ twelfth novel won him the Pulitzer Prize. As dizzying in its scope and ambition as the ancient lives and trillion-strong cells of the trees it chronicles, it interweaves narratives of human lives—many of them, activists—with the ancient world of trees, climate change underpinning the environmental destruction that we watch.
Title : Cloud Cuckoo Land
Author : Anthony Doerr
Synopsis: The spectacular and heartbreaking new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See. Cloud Cuckoo Land follows three storylines: Anna and Omeir, on opposite sides of the formidable city wall during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour and gentle octogenarian Zeno, in an attack on a public library in present day Idaho; and Konstance, on an interstellar ship bound for a distant exoplanet, decades from now. A single copy of an ancient text – the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to the paradise of Cloud Cuckoo Land – provides solace, mystery and the most profound human connection to these five unforgettable characters. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Zeno, Seymour and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders, struggling to survive and finding resourcefulness and hope in the midst of peril.
Set between 15th-century Constantinople, Idaho in 2020 and space some time in the future. Doerr has said of the book: “The world we’re handing our kids brims with challenges: climate instability, pandemics, disinformation. I wanted this novel to reflect those anxieties, but also offer meaningful hope.”
Title : Something New Under the Sun
Author : Alexandra Kleeman
Synopsis: Patrick Hamlin, an east-coast novelist, has come to Hollywood with simple goals in mind: overseeing the production of a film adaptation of one of his books, preventing starlet Cassidy Carter’s disruptive behavior from derailing said production, and turning this last-ditch effort at career resuscitation into the sort of success that will dazzle his wife and daughter back home. But California is not as he imagined: drought, wildfire, and corporate corruption are omnipresent, and the company behind a mysterious new brand of synthetic water seems to be at the root of it all. Partnering with the troubled Carter, the two of them investigate the sun-scorched city’s darker crevices, where they discover that catastrophe resembles order until the last possible second …
Join us next week for another list of recommended Cli-Fi reads.