I thought I was a newcomer to the cli-fi genre. But in reality, I’ve been unwittingly reading books that fall within that category for a while. I’m an environmental lawyer and believe that writers of fiction are missing a trick in fully engaging with people on environmental concerns and influencing the debate on those issues on a global scale . It’s heartening that there are a number of excellent books out there that could be making a difference to the thinking of a wide audience of different age groups. Despite this, I still think there are a number of hurdles that would need to be overcome if we are to invigorate the genre and make the most of its potential.
Writers of the genre should share thoughts and ideas of what falls within the scope of the new genre. Should we go beyond the consequences of weather events? Is there too much talk of science which could alienate readers? Where are the political characters in plots? Is there too much pessimism, should we focus our optimistic eye?
I think there’s a huge potential audience for cli-fi out there. And I’m not alone. Google ‘cli-fi’ and you’ll come across some fantastic articles and interviews on the subject by Dan Bloom and a great resource from clifibooks.com. So, what do the literary agents and publishers think? Are they prepared to take a risk with new writers from a varied pool of talent that may exist beyond the usual boundaries, for example scientists? Self-publishing isn’t an option for every wannabe author and without the backing of an agent and publisher, what could be a wonderful idea for a book that could really connect with an audience on a global scale, is simply lost. That would be a real shame. Yes, the ideal would be for an author to prepare the usual pitch and draft chapters for an agent but what about those who have the ideas for a game-changing book but need a nod of hope from an agent or publisher before being able to commit a huge amount of time to such a project? Yes, there is always the risk that what emerges at the end of the writing is not marketable or indeed any good, but a more willing approach could make all the difference to invigorating the cli-fi genre and making a real difference to how we engage on the environment.
It would be great to hear your thoughts on this. Come and join the Facebook cli-fi group https://www.facebook.com/groups/320538704765997/#!/groups/320538704765997/