Scarier than fiction: climate worry driving ‘cli-fi’ boom
Paris (AFP) – Imagine a world where storms inundate coastal megacities, entire species become extinct in the blink of an eye, and conflicts are fought over dwindling natural resources.
Not so difficult in 2019, perhaps.
After a year of devastating extreme weather and worldwide unrest over the emergency posed by climate change, topics that used to belong to the realm of science fiction are finding their way into mainstream storytelling.
Back in 2004, Roland Emmerich’s disaster flick “The Day After Tomorrow” depicted a global weather catastrophe, with coastal areas devoured by the sea amid general meteorological mayhem.
Just 15 years on, scenes from the movie resemble images taken from real-life weather events today.
And as climate change makes superstorms, flooding, wildfires and droughts more likely, a new genre is gaining fatalistic fans the world over: “Cli-fi”.
“It’s catching on like wildfire,” said US writer and cli-fi aficionado Dan Bloom.
He credited US President Donald Trump, who has said he will withdraw from the Paris climate deal, with helping promote the genre.
“There’s a lot of people who say that climate change is not real,” said Bloom. “These people are making the rest of us very angry and as a result cli-fi is getting more and more power.”
Andrew Milner, a professor of comparative literature at Melbourne’s Monash University, said that cli-fi was yet to break out from sci-fi’s yoke — most people get into the new genre because they like the old one.