Climate change is on everyone’s mind these days, and the trends in speculative fiction have quickly reflected that. Climate fiction, also called Cli-Fi, is a subgenre of Eco-Fiction in that it involves the direct or indirect effects of climate change in an ecologically focused story.
These days, it’s difficult to write eco-fiction set on Earth that is not about climate change. The two are regrettably interrelated. My own cli-fi leans toward taking the optimistic approach: Since attitude is what caused the climate crisis, attitude is what can fix it.
My first cli-fi story was published way back in 2013 in Perihelion. In “Hurry Up and Wait”, an apocalypse survivor is initially happy that he finally is being left alone by society and, well, you can guess how long that lasts. You can find it reprinted in Into the Ruins.
Cli-fi can take place anywhere. “The Knells of Agassiz” (published in the Water anthology, also available at Little Blue Marble) heads up north to help preserve Canada’s glaciers. “One Bad Apple” (SciFutures’ City of the Future anthology) journeys to an inner city food forest. “Home on the Free Range”, (Analog, Jan/Feb 2018) examines a complex ecosystem on an exoplanet from the point of view of a farm worker. In the fourth volume of the middle grade Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, a young girl sneaks out of her habitat home to take an adventurous walk because “Fluffy Pets are Best”.
Some of my cli-fi is very pointed. “The Weight of the World” (Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change) and the forthcoming “Handful of Empty” (preorder The Way of the Laser anthology from Vernacular Books) are both about food security under very different circumstances. “Wicked Problem”, (Utopia SF Magazine) has a scientist and her daughter dealing with an actively dangerous climate-changed environment. In “Bear #178” (Winner of Communitech’s True North contest, find it at Little Blue Marble), a tech-enhanced grizzly bear solves the problem of her shrinking habitat in a disastrous way.
Both “The Call of the Wold” (Solarpunk Summers) and “Halps’ Promise” (just released in Solarpunk Winters) take a lighter turn and put some humor on the workings of two very different intentional communities.
“A Distant Honk” (The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix anthology and Little Blue Marble) is both pointed and funny. It takes a hard look at how feral clowns might adapt to climate change and how we might adapt along with them. “Stewardship” (originally in Unsung Stories, now available at Little Blue Marble) is in a similar vein, a cautionary tale about environmental protection gone wrong.
Other stories are quite serious. “Five Ways to Talk about Twisted Oak Moss” in the Rising Tides literary anthology, examines our past and future environment, using moss colonies as a metaphor for larger habitats.
However you like your cli-fi, I hope you click on a few of these links and find something to give you enjoyment and food for thought!