Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Author guest post: At the heart of climate fiction by Kat Ross

Today I’m featuring quite an intriguing post on a sub-genre of science fiction that everyone is probably familiar with, but which is rarely talked about in a way that other dominating genres are discussed.

Cli-fi. Or climate fiction, if you will.

While I do believe that cli-fi features a fair amount of elements that are similar to the dystopian sub-genre of sci-fi, climate fiction seems to focus more specifically on the impacts of climate change and it’s relation to the psychological effect it has on the human psyche.

Granted, dystopic fiction has this as well, but I’ve always found it to be much more action and plot-orientated than character driven.

At least, that is my basic understanding of one of the many differences between the two sub-sections within the science fiction genre.

Admittedly, this is a genre I don’t read nearly enough of (and as such, my understanding is rather limited – something I plan on fixing asap), which is why I’m so thrilled to have Kat Ross, author of the YA cli-fi novel, Some Fine Day, on my blog today.

In today’s guest post, Kat elaborates a little on the genre and tells us how her novel was borne out of her fascination with all things climate related.

Before I hand over to Kat, check out some info on her book below.

About Some Fine Day:
A generation ago, continent-sized storms called hypercanes caused the Earth to flood. The survivors were forced to retreat deep underground and build a new society.

This is the story that sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist has heard all of her life.

Jansin grew up in a civilization far below the Earth’s surface. She’s spent the last eight years in military intelligence training.

So when her parents surprise her with a coveted yet treacherous trip above ground, she’s prepared for anything. She’s especially thrilled to feel the fresh air, see the sun, and view the wide-open skies and the ocean for herself.

But when raiders attack Jansin’s camp and take her prisoner, she is forced to question everything she’s been taught.

What do her captors want? How will she get back underground? And if she ever does, will she want to stay after learning the truth?

Some Fine Day is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can find more reader reviews on Goodreads.

SA readers - Raru has got this book for such a great price.

You can check out the trailer here.

Over to Kat….

On writing cli-fi

So I was reading The Onion (America's Finest News Source!) a few years back and they had a very funny and macabre story about a "hurriphoonado" tearing through the northern and southern hemispheres, and it got me thinking.

As a journalist, I'd covered climate change issues for almost a decade, and every year, the warnings from scientists became increasingly dire.

There seemed to be such a profound disconnect between what they—the smart people—were saying and what policy-makers were doing about it (ahem, such as the U.S. Republican Party's shameful denialism).

So I wrote a story that asks: what if we did nothing until it was too late? What if the worst-case scenarios actually come to pass?

In Some Fine Day, massive, permanent superstorms stalk the planet's surface, and the last remnants of civilization had no choice but to relocate deep underground.

This idea was partly inspired by H.G. Wells' Time Machine, in which he imagines a distant future inhabited by two species: the crude, violent troglodytes called Morlocks, and the innocent, indolent Eloi.

So many story ideas start with a musing "what if," and here was another one of mine: What if it were the other way around?

What if the technologically advanced race lived deep in the Earth, while the primitives were left to fend for themselves on the surface?

Not all cli-fi takes such a dystopian view of the future (see Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy).

But let's face it: the prospects right now aren't looking good.

Very few countries are stepping up to the plate on the kind of drastic emissions cuts that climate scientists say we need to avert disaster.

Although my book falls squarely into the cli-fi sub genre, I don't use the phrase "climate change" once.

I didn't think it was really necessary, and I didn't want to distract from the story. The last thing anyone wants to read is a preachy "issue" book—unless of course you've gone out to buy one on purpose!

As Atwood said recently, "It’s rather useless to write a gripping narrative with nothing in it but climate change because novels are always about people even if they purport to be about rabbits or robots. They’re still really about people because that’s who we are and that’s what we write stories about."

So in the spirit of books with a great storyline and characters, here's a few of my favorite cli-fi's:





 


 
Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich














The Carbon Diaries 2015, by Saci Lloyd














Survival Colony 9 by Joshua David Bellin










 


For even more suggestions, Goodreads also has a shelf devoted to climate fiction.

Thanks for stopping by Kat.

For more info on Kat, see below:


Kat Ross was born and raised in New York City and worked several jobs before turning to journalism and creative writing.

An avid traveler and adventurer, she now lives with her family—along with a beagle, a ginger cat, and six fish—far enough outside the city that skunks and deer wander through her backyard.

You can find Kat on Twitter and her website.

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