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Cli-Fi

A Companion

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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.

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Saci Lloyd’s The Carbon Diaries 2015 (2008) – Coming-of-Age Cli-Fi (Sina Farzin)

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Sina Farzin

Saci Lloyd’s The Carbon Diaries 2015 (2008)

Environmental issues are issues of intergenerational justice. If mankind’s actions of the past and present affect and determine the living conditions for future generations, narratives about climate change almost always raise questions of intergenerational relations, responsibilities and conflict.1 Saci Lloyd’s novel The Carbon Diaries 2015, first published in 2008, investigates those themes by weaving them into a dystopian narrative for young adults written from the standpoint of a teenage narrator.2 The novel is set in what was, at the time of its publication, a future London of the year 2015. After catastrophic events caused by anthropogenic climate change, especially a great storm in 2010 which devastates large parts of the national infrastructure, the UK decides to introduce strict carbon rationing for all citizens without any exceptions. Closely monitored by the government, carbon budgets are implemented for everybody and controlled via the mandatory use of carbon cards.

The dystopian scenario laid out in The Carbon Diaries 2015 revolves around Laura Brown and the challenges faced by her and her family, peers and neighbours while adapting to the new governance of carbon spending and facing increasing environmental disasters due to the progression of climate change. The focus of this analysis will be the intergenerational aspects of the coping strategies which are displayed by a variety of characters that do ← 187 | 188 → not only represent different forms of social ties and kinship but also specific...

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