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Climate change inspires a new literary genre: cli-fi

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(Read caption) 'Odds Against Tomorrow,' a novel by Nathaniel Rich, is an example of the emerging 'cli-fi' genre.

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Talk about hot.

Climate change has been cited as the cause behind a raft of recent phenomena, from increasing turbulence on planes to rising rates of malaria, dengue, and even domestic abuse.

And now it’s hit the publishing world.

The next hot trend in books, it turns out isn’t Fifty Shades-esque erotica – it’s climate change.

That’s according to a fascinating report by NPR, “Has Climate Change Created a New Literary Genre?”

“Over the past decade, more and more writers have begun to set their novels and short stories in worlds, not unlike our own, where the Earth's systems are noticeably off-kilter,” reports Angela Evancie for NPR. “The genre has come to be called climate fiction – 'cli-fi,' for short.”

Among the titles in this emerging literary genre is “Odds Against Tomorrow,” by Nathaniel Rich, a novel about a futurist who calculates worst-case scenarios for corporations, including the very scenario that landed on the book’s cover: the Manhattan skyline, half-submerged in water. (We should note, the book, and cover, were created before Hurricane Sandy.) 

Other books include Michael Crichton’s 2004 novel, “State of Fear,” about ecoterrorists; Ian McEwan’s “Solar,” about impending environmental disaster; and Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior,” about a world turned upside down by climate change.


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