Eco Fiction and Cli-Fi

Several of the pieces we’ll read today come from Cheap Pop’s 2022 focus on the environment. These are pieces of eco-fiction and often cli fi (climate fiction), so I’d like to offer these two definitions:

Eco fiction: “Eco-fiction is made up of fictional tales that reflect important connections, dependencies, and interactions between people and their natural environments. Sometimes people are even left out altogether, resulting in purely ecological story webs. The genre is evolving with the changes in our world, including newer and more accepted scientific findings, such as climate change” (Mary Woodbury)

Cli fi (climate fiction): writing about climate change
“To write climate fiction is to write fiction that understands that the only constant is collapse…We are living in a time of collapse, and the writing of human beings caught in fire and food and in between political upheaval and daily life is the task I’ve set forth for myself. But what is written is not simply the recounting of miseries—even as things crumble, we’re caught inside the matrix of our own feeling. Perhaps, then, my climate fiction finds the stories that settle and grow from the dust of it all, the lives that somehow continue on, even when it seems like nothing can go another day.” (Nishant Batsha)

And if you’re really into cli fi, consider “The Definitive Climate Fiction Reading List” in Grist

You’re certainly not required to add that element of climate collapse to the work you produce (and you’ll see that today’s main prompt doesn’t mention it); nevertheless, check out these strong examples of cli fi:

“Brine Flies and Beach Goers” by Shanna Yetman in Cheap Pop
“Saltwater Dog” by Vivian Zhu in Cheap Pop

I’m also including a craft essay that talks about using temperature extremes to push your characters to the limits, “Some Like it Hot” by Marylee MacDonald (doc). Can you feel the heat coming off of “Summer of ‘77” by Karen Crawford in Cheap Pop?

For two more published examples, I love the way the authors use the seasons in these two pieces: “Ice Cream and English Summers” by Sunyi Dean in Flash Fiction Online, “Clover Honey” by Christine Barkley in Cheap Pop.

Whew! By now you’ve been reading lots of good work—both stories I’ve linked and your peers’ posted in our workshop! I hope you’re ready for the main prompt!