Sunday, December 10, 2017

Some PhD students' thoughts on the rise of cli-fi, for better or worse....



After reading this very good oped in the UK Guardian, on the rise of cli-fi as a new literary genre, a group of PhD students in the USA opined that they didn't really cotton to Professor Abraham's oped, even though it has become very popular worldwide since its publication.  Here's the oped they took issue with in their group discussion:


''Cli-Fi – A new way to talk about climate change''
by USA scientist and professor John Abraham
subhead: ''If you’re not familiar with the new genre of climate fiction, you might be soon''


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/oct/18/clifi-a-new-way-to-talk-about-climate-change


And this is what our new-found PhD candidate friends of the cli-fi world had to say about it all:


[slightly annotated and edited for clarification and amplification....]


''To be clear, I actually love this kind of fiction.''


''I would just call that cli-fi stuff that Abraham talks about in his oped as 'environmental science fiction', 'ecocritical dystopia' (Conrad Scott’s term for it—he has a good reading of 'back of the turtle'), 'eco-sf,' or any of the other terms that get used—'cli-fi' is more of a journalistic term than an actual category.''


​''Any description of cli-fi could equally apply to texts like Thomas Disch’s 1971 collection 'The Ruins of Earth' — cli-fi really wants to be a new trend and who knows, in the future, it might take hold. I am waiting to see."


​​“The Cli-fi” term also makes me think of Plo Kloon and other goofy Star Wars names.''


​''I don’t think toxic is the right term, its more that “cli-fi” is a clickbait-y term for a set of texts that should be categorized differently, and as part of a much longer history of sf and eco-fiction. Ditto on what that other guy is saying here.''


''​I gather cli-fi is mostly a conversation happening around social media and in "think pieces" like the Guardian piece on cli-fi that some are  referring to here, but perhaps there is something more substantial written about cli-fi that I'm not familiar with. I need to do some homework on this before I misspeak or put my foot in my mouth without knowing the backstory."


​''So books that take on the subject matter of cli-fi, like a future ravaged by climate change, are ok. Like 'On The Back of Turtle' Just the naming/classification? I’m reading 'The Swan Book' by Alexis Wright, an Aboriginal author in OZ and it's been called Cli-fi, yes.''


Cli-fi  fans emphasize the accuracy of the science (esp in that UK Guardian article, which wants it to “get the science right”). While I can understanding this as the influence of Kim Stanley  Robinson, prioritizing hard SF over “softer” SF is giving me “cold equations” flashbacks.''


''I have no idea what's going on here. Fans being fans, I take it, and that professor being a professor, but what's going on around cli-fi? I've only heard the term once or twice and I had no idea there was so much news now surrounding it.  Any reading tips?''















PLO KLOON




A friend of the global cli-fi world tells me today a funny story. A PhD student in California, she writes: “Cli-fi” makes me think of Plo Kloon and other goofy 'Star Wars' names ." I never heard of this character.


Who is PLO KLOON and how does one pronounce the name?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Yes #Clifi is a thing.Doug Parsons interviews Amy Brady to explain in this online podcast from 2017

America Adapts @usaadapts 12 小時前
Yes is a thing.


Subscribe/listen to podcast on Apple Podcasts.Now on Spotify! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/america-adapts-climate-change/id1133023095?mt=2 Listen here. On Google Play here. Please share on Facebook! On Twitter: @usaadapts Donate to America Adapts (We are now a tax deductible charitable organization!) In episode 32 of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks “Cli-Fi” with Dr. Amy Brady, Senior Editor with the Chicago Review of Books.  Amy just debuted a monthly column dedicated specifically to cli-fi called "Burning Worlds." Doug and Amy cover such diverse topics as: CLI-FI – What is Cli-Fi? Learn the history of this emerging genre of fiction. BURNING WORLDS - Amy describes her new monthly column focusing on this emerging field and what she hopes to accomplish with the column. AUTHOR AS CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVIST – Amy explains the backgrounds of various Cli-Fi authors and how some see their role as inspiring readers to take action on climate change. SCIENCE FICTION OR HIGH ART – Since Cli Fi is such a new area of fiction, it’s unclear if it’s considered just another form of science fiction, or something else. Doug and Amy discuss the controversies associated with the genre. SCIENCE OR SCIENCE FICTION – Doug and Amy discuss the use of sound science in writing Cli-Fi and what responsibilities authors feel in using science in writing fiction. NUCLEAR AGE VERSUS THE CLIMATE AGE – Doug and Amy discuss the parallels between the nuclear age of the 50s and 60s and how that drove science fiction writing and how climate change will influence literature. SCENARIO PLANNING WITH FICTION WRITERS – Doug and Amy discuss the possibility of fiction writers joining adaptation planners and scientists in the scenario planning process, relying on their creative talents to create a likely future scenario. GRAPES OF WRATH – Amy argues that John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was the original Cli-Fi novel. MUST READ CLI FI AUTHORS – Amy gives her suggestions on Cli Fi authors. She identifies books for new readers or for the robust consumers of fiction.  Additional Segment(starts at 55:45 into podcast):  Dr. Molly Cross (previous guest!) and Darren Long from the Wildlife Conservation Society come on for a short discussion to promote the call for proposals for the Adaptation Fund, one of the first granting programs focusing on climate adaptation. They discuss deadlines, strategies for applying and examples of previous grantees. We also briefly discuss the Atlanta Falcons historic collapse in the Super Bowl (Darren is a big Falcons fan). Additional Resources: Dr. Amy Brady https://chireviewofbooks.com/author/dramybrady/ Burning World Column https://chireviewofbooks.com/2017/02/08/the-man-who-coined-cli-fi-has-some-reading-suggestions-for-you/ Cli Fi resources: http://cli-fi.net/ and eco-fiction.com. Essays that provide quick overviews of the genre: http://www.salon.com/2014/10/26/the_rise_of_climate_fiction_when_literature_takes_on_global_warming_and_devastating_droughts/ https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/08/climate-fiction-margaret-atwood-literature/400112/ Anti Cli-Fi:  emerging as a conservative rebuttal to clifi's more progressive stance on climate change: https://thinkprogress.org/the-untapped-value-of-clifi-shakespeare-passover-supergirl-and-game-of-thrones-5344df553732#.lb0man9di Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adaptation Fund http://wcsclimateadaptationfund.org/program-information America Adapts also has its own app for your listening pleasure!  Just visit the App store on Apple or Google Play on Android and search “America Adapts.” Finally, yes, most of your favorite podcasts are supported by listeners just like you! Please consider supporting this podcast by donating through America Adapt's fiscal sponsor, the Social Good Fund. All donations are now tax deductible! For more information on this podcast, visit the website at http://www.americaadapts.org and don't forget to subscribe to this podcast on Itunes.   America Adapts on Facebook!   Join the America Adapts Facebook Community Group. Check us out, we’re also on YouTube! Subscribe to America Adapts on Itunes Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com .

The dedication page of the novel reads "For Spunky Knowsalot" who is, according to sources the New York York Times did not check with for confirmation, is none other than Bill's writer wife Sue Halpern, like McKibben, a longtime transplanted Vermonter, she from New York, he from Boston.





Jennifer Senior, one of the daily book reviewers on staff at the New York Times finally reviews Bill McKibben's debut cli-fi lite novel RADIO FREE VERMONT 30 days after publication on November 7 after dozens of small papers reviewed the book will 5 stars and thumbs up -- this way with a headline reading ''A Polite Drive for Secession in ‘Radio Free Vermont’''

The dedication page of the novel reads "For Spunky Knowsalot" who is, according to sources the New York York Times did not check with for confirmation, is none other than Bill's writer wife Sue Halpern, like McKibben, a longtime transplanted Vermonter, she from New York, he from Boston.


EXCERPT from the paywalled review, with slight editorial annotations and edits here by this blogger for amplification and clarification:

".....Like Mailer and Breslin, the central character of Vern Barclay, the old-school radio host and "forever young" hero of Bill McKibben’s ''cli-fi lite'' debut novel “Radio Free Vermont,” doesn’t truly believe he’ll have any success with the secessionist movement he leads. He’s an accidental renegade, a guy who fell backward into the revolution business while reporting his final story.


That was that. A movement for Vermont’s independence was born.
In his public appearances, McKibben, a Vermonter and one of the best-known environmentalists of our age, can be an extremely droll and appealing Cassandra.

But there was little in his many previous books to suggest he can pull off a novel-length satire. He’s a serious man.

(To Bill Maher, who complained that McKibben wasn’t giving him enough hopeful news, the author said: “This is your fault. You asked someone on whose most famous book was called ‘The End of Nature,’ O.K.?”)
Yet “Radio Free Vermont” is a charming bit of artisanal resistance lit. It’s a bit rough, with the occasional nailhead poking up too high. (Perry’s upspeak? It gets to be, um, a bit much?) But what’s surprising is how well-crafted the book is overall; how unhokey its folksiness feels, and how true its observations ring.
The finest running joke in “Radio Free Vermont” — not least for being so plausible — is that Barclay and his supporters are a supremely pleasant group of separatists. When he disrupts the canned music at Starbucks to point out that Vermont has plenty of locally owned coffee shops, he signs off with, “Remember: small is kind of nice.” When his pal Sylvia, the woman who provides him shelter in her farmhouse, hijacks a Coors truck — who needs Big Beer in a state with Hill Farmstead and Heady Topper? — she hands the driver a picnic lunch and apologizes for including only one Long Trail Coffee Stout. “We’re serious about DUI in this state,” she says, “but I think you’ll find it filling.”

        
Walmart’s management assumed Barclay was responsible for the stunt. He wasn’t. It was the handiwork of a 19-year-old hacker and social activist named Perry, a kid Barclay had never met before. It didn’t matter; he and Perry were now in the soup together. The two fled, took refuge in an old farmhouse and began a series of untraceable podcasts. “Underground, underfoot and underpowered” became its tagline, with every broadcast sponsored by a different Vermont-made craft beer. Vermont has almost as many microbreweries making craft beer as it does pet cats.

That was that. A movement for Vermont’s independence was born.




.....“Radio Free Vermont” is a charming bit of artisanal resistance lit. It’s a bit rough, with the occasional nailhead poking up too high. (Perry’s upspeak? It gets to be, um, a bit much?) But what’s surprising is how well-crafted the book is overall; how unhokey its folksiness feels, and how true its observations ring.

The finest running joke in “Radio Free Vermont” — not least for being so plausible — is that Barclay and his supporters are a supremely pleasant group of separatists.

When he disrupts the canned music at Starbucks to point out that Vermont has plenty of locally owned coffee shops, he signs off with, “Remember: small is kind of nice.” When his pal Sylvia, the woman who provides him shelter in her farmhouse, hijacks a Coors truck — who needs Big Beer in a state with Hill Farmstead and Heady Topper? — she hands the driver a picnic lunch and apologizes for including only one Long Trail Coffee Stout.

“We’re serious about DUI in this state,” she says, “but I think you’ll find it filling.”

Lest you think this is just the latest blue-state-flavored ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, remember: Vermonters love their guns.

The ability to shoot them — while skiing — figures prominently in the plot. Barclay is a former coach of high school biathletes. One of his former students, a woman named Trance, won a gold medal in the Olympics, was a sharpshooter in Iraq and ultimately becomes a heroine of the Vermont independence movement.

“Radio Free Vermont” is more than “A Fable of Resistance,” as its subtitle says.


It’s a love letter to the modest, treed-in landscape of Vermont, which Barclay wouldn’t trade for all the grandeur of Montana.


It’s a dirge for the intense cold, which Barclay sorely misses — why is the world now brown in January, rather than white? (“It made him feel old,” McKibben writes, “as if he’d outlived the very climate of his life.”)

It is an elegy for a slower, saner Vermont — “the world’s rush was doing it in” — and dependable Yankee virtues, like neighborliness and self-reliance and financial prudence.


The book also helps contextualize Bernie Sanders’s anti-establishment crankiness. Barclay likes to remind his listeners that Vermont was once its own republic.


Throughout the story, the secessionist movement gains in popularity. Bumper stickers start appearing on cars: “Barclay for Governor.” “Barclay for Prime Minister.”


Post offices start flying a new Free Vermont flag designed by Barclay’s mother. (The New York Times in the novel even runs a Timesy feature story under the headline, “In Quaint Green Mountain Hamlets, a Push For Independence.” Gotta admit that’s pretty good. Yes, Jen, very good!) Barclay increasingly devotes his podcasts to questions of feasibility were a divorce to take place: Can Vermonters defend themselves with guns? How would its citizens collect on their Social Security?


McKibben never suggests he truly believes secession is the solution in times of political turmoil.


If anything, it’s the opposite; Barclay eventually worries he’s asking people “to do something a little dangerous and more than a little weird.”

What he’s proposing is merely a thought experiment, daring the reader to ponder the virtues of smallness in an age of military and corporate gigantism. In his acknowledgments, he notes that Vermont has already had one “minor-league attempt” at a secession movement, about a decade ago, that failed, spectacularly.

The dedication page of the novel itself reads "For Spunky Knowsalot" who is, according to sources the New York York Times did not check with for confirmation, is none other than Bill's writer wife Sue Halpern, like McKibben, a longtime transplanted Vermonter, she from New York, he from Boston.


But if non-Vermonters need refuge in the months or years ahead of the evil undemocratic Hitlerian Trump administration, Bill adds in his afterword: “you’re all welcome to come to the Green Mountain State. We’ll teach you to drive dirt roads in mud season.”

LINK
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/10/20-of-the-best-vermont-beers-from-paste-blind-tast.html

Friday, December 1, 2017

Chris Beckett with his new book America City


American novelist Amitav Ghosh stirred literary circles up recently with his rebuke to “realist” modes of writing. Where, he asked, is all the fiction about climate change?


Well, it turns out that the answer is ''cli-fi,'' aka climate fiction, which Ghosh was aware of at the time of his writing and even mentioned in his book about climate change, The Great Denouement.


Genre writing has been exploring the possible futures of climate change for many years, and 2017’s three best novels engage in powerful and varied ways with precisely that subject. Kim Stanley Robinson is the unofficial laureate of future climatology, and his cli-fi novel titled New York 2140 (Orbit), a multilayered cli-fi novel set in a flooded Big Apple, is by any standard an enormous achievement. It is as much a reflection on how we might fit climate change into fiction as it is a detailed, scientifically literate representation of its possible consequences.
Just as rich, though much tighter in narrative focus, is Paul McAuley’s superb cli-fi novel titled  Austral (Gollancz), set in a powerfully realised near‑future Antarctica transformed by global warming.

Chris Beckett in the UK with his new cli-fi novel ''AMERICA CITY'' (photo)


Chris Beckett with his new book America City. Picture: Keith Heppell
Chris Beckett in the UK with his new cli-fi novel ''AMERICA CITY''

Chris Beckett  tweeted to this blogger at 1:09 AM on Sat, Dec 02, 2017:

 ''I'm very happy for you to call it Cli-Fi!''