Edited By Axel Goodbody and Adeline Johns-Putra
What is Cli-Fi?
Climate change fiction is a new literary phenomenon that emerged at the turn of the twenty-first century in response to what may be society’s greatest challenge. Climate change is already part responsible for extreme weather events, flooding, desertification and sea level rise, leading to famine, the spread of disease, and population displacement. Cli-fi novels and films are typically set in the future, telling of disaster and its effect on humans, or they depict the present, beset by dilemmas, conflicts or conspiracies, and pointing to grave consequences. At their heart are ethical and political questions: will humankind rise to the challenge of acting collectively, in the interest of the future? What sacrifices will be necessary, and is a green dictatorship our only hope for survival as a species?
Each chapter in this volume offers a way of reading a particular literary text or film, drawing attention to themes, formal features, reception, contribution to public debate, and issues for class discussion. Popular novels and films (Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capitol trilogy, Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, Ian McEwan’s Solar, and The Day after Tomorrow) are examined alongside lesser known writing (for instance J. G. Ballard’s «proto-climate change» novel The Drowned World and Antti Tuomainen’s Finnish thriller, The Healer), and films not generally thought of as being about climate change (Frozen and Take Shelter).
The book, which includes an introduction tracing the emergence and influence of cli-fi, is directed towards general readers and film enthusiasts as well as teachers and students. Written in an accessible style, it fills the gap between academic studies and online blogs, offering a comprehensive look at this timely new genre.
Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009) – Biopunk Cli-Fi (M. Isabel Pérez-Ramos)
| 55 →
M. Isabel Pérez-Ramos
Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009)
The Windup Girl (2009), Paolo Bacigalupi’s first novel, narrates life in Krung Thep, City of Divine Beings – commonly known as Bangkok – in the late twenty-third century. By this time, the world has gone from the ‘Expansion’ to the (petroleum) ‘Contraction’ period, in what Andrew Hageman terms ‘a techno-industrial periodization’.1 In a world that once had a global economy and a free market – a petroculture propelled by fossil fuels – this translates into an acute energy shortage (caused by the depletion of oil deposits and the scarcity of fossil fuels), as well as a severe environmental crisis. ‘Calorie companies’, that is, agri-corporations, have taken advantage of the resulting famines to expand the commercialization of their genetically engineered sterile seeds. Moreover, they have spread a series of bio-engineered plagues around the world in a struggle to monopolize food, seed production and distribution. By the twenty-third century, the ever-mutating plagues have already devastated most plant and animal life (including human life) across the planet; calorie companies have managed to control most of the food production worldwide; genetically engineered animals have supplanted their extinct or less advanced ‘natural’ counterparts; and the Japanese are creating sterile posthuman beings, as assistants, sexual toys and military personnel, to compensate for an aged and diminishing population. In this future world, Thailand is a starved country whose worth is counted in meagre calories. Notwithstanding this, it has prevailed as an independent, self-sufficient nation,...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.