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An Intro to Cli-Fi

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Journalist Dan Bloom first introduced the term "Cli-Fi" or Climate Fiction in his 2013 article A Look at the Growing Genre of Climate Fiction published in Scientific America. Since then, the genre that portrays the impact of climate change on human society has been a growing branch of literature. With Earth Day approaching, reading Cli-Fi novels can provide a unique perspective on our evolving world. Here are seven novels to introduce you to works of Cli-Fi that are devastating as well as hopeful.

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Set in the near future in Florida, this hopeful story of survival and resilience follows Wanda--a luminous child born out of a devastating hurricane--as she navigates a rapidly changing world: A "symphony of beauty and heartbreak" (Associated Press).

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.

American War by Omar El Akkad

A second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle--this gripping debut novel asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

With its soaring descriptions of the natural world, its tantalizing vision of life beyond, and its account of a father and son’s ferocious love, Bewilderment marks Richard Powers’s most intimate and moving novel. At its heart lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperiled planet?

Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

“Recreates the experience of living in Thailand's aqueous climate so viscerally that you can feel the water rising around your ankles” (Washington Post).

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue

A fearless young woman from a small African village starts a revolution against an American oil company in this sweeping, inspiring novel. “This epic and empathetic saga shines a truthful albeit unflattering light on globalization” (Shelf Awareness).

The Deluge by Stephen Markley

From the bestselling author of Ohio, a masterful American epic charting a near future approaching collapse and a nascent but strengthening solidarity. A clear-eyed, climate-justice-minded page-turner.

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