Sunday, February 10, 2019

A French cli-fi short story anthology edited by Yann Quero faces climate change futures

PHOTO BY YANN QUERO, titled "THE MADONNA OF GLOBAL WARMING" -- taken in France outside a Catholic Church where a severely weather-beaten statue of the Virgin Mary remains in view to passersby.

Photo de Le réchauffement climatique et après...

Edited by French writer Mr. Yann Quero, "Le réchauffement climatique et après" was published by Editions Arkuiris in 2014. Arkuiris is now actively looking for an English-language publisher in either the USA, the UK or Australia to put out an English edition of the collection of the 14 short stories and arrange for and pay for the translation of the stories.

[For publication inquries overseas, please use email to contact and we will forward your message to Arkuiris.]

The tentative English title, based on the French title, is ''GLOBAL WARMING AND AFTER: AnAnthology of 14 short stories by French climate fiction writers ''

In this anthology our future is in the spotlight though 14 short stories by French writers. including one story by Yann Quero titled "Tropical Snow."

Welcome to the near and distant future, where global warming has already taken place. The 14 authors in the  anthology offer readers their vision of the survival of humanity (or its eventual demise) after runaway climate change, which we humans have caused, has run its course.
It is hard to really understand the global warming threat that is so far has had a limited direct impact on our lives in France and worldwide. So these 14 Cli-Fi short stories are here to help us understand that no one really knows what future will be. But we can use our imaginations to peer into future times.

The stories in this book are not intended to make us feel guilty but rather to give us inspired writing that makes for pleasant reading, often surprising reading, and even, in the end, gives way to

"There are therefore many points of view presented here, different narrative styles and
various imagined futures," Yann Quero says. "The stories are all different,  although they deal with
the same subject, and they show some of the same causes and sometimes share the same

The 14 stories, with temporary titles in Enlglish here for future translators to contemplate, and their authors are:

Cyril Amourette, “The War of the Trees”
Anthony Boulanger, “The Advent of the Dryads”
Pierre-Antoine Brossaud, “2073, the Year of the Rain”
Fabien Clavel, “Look at the Wind turbines”
Stéphane Dovert, “The Declining flame of Shratonprincess”
Sophie Fedy, “The Last Queen”
Djane Grivault, “It'S time, My Angel”
Bernard Henninger, “My Heart is Crying, Leda”
Sylvain Lamur, “Ernest”
Sébastien Parisot, “From Earth and Blood”
Laurent Pendarias, “Klimat Yuga”
Arnauld Pontier, “The Man of Sand”
Yann Quero, “Tropical Snow”
Jean-Marc Sire, “Bathed by the Dazzling Light of Tomorrow that Sparkles”

Photo de Le réchauffement climatique et après...


Photo de Le réchauffement climatique et après...

''A climate activist of the literary kind''

''A climate activist of the literary kind'' - ''Since 2011, I’ve been working to promote cli-fi novels and movies, as a PR activist. It’s my hobby, after retiring from a zigzagging career with newspapers in Washington, Alaska, Japan and Taiwan.'' MORE AT LINK!

#CliFi #SciFi

Friday, February 8, 2019

CNN REPORTS: One key message of 'WALL-E' is that there is hope.

UPDATE: ''A climate activist of the literary kind'' - Since 2011, I’ve been working to promote cli-fi novels and movies, as a PR activist. It’s my hobby, after retiring from a zigzagging career with newspapers in Washington, Alaska, Japan and Taiwan. #CliFi #SciFi

'Cli-fi' on the big screen can change minds about real climate change, according to a major news article from CNN reporter Jen Christensen

by staff writer and agencies

CNN producer and reporter Jen Christensen, writing in a recent website article about Hollywood and climate change movies, didn't waste any time getting to the heart of the matter.

According to the academic scholars she interviewed at Yale University and Colby College, climate-themed feature films with good story-telling and audience-pleasing stars can make a difference in how people respond to the slow drip, drip. drip time-frame of runaway global warming. Such cli-fi movies, the experts  said, can change minds and lead to action by politicians and world leaders.

Ever since the 1973 movie "Soylent Green" introduced American audiences to the food shortages that climate change might bring, Hollywood directors and TV show producers have been mostly scaring people about it. Some movies are dystopian, some are utopian, and some are what Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood calls "ustopian" (a mix of utopia and dystopia). One studio is now turning the movie "Snowpiercer" into a TV series.

"There's even a catchy name for this climate change fiction genre -- cli-fi," CNN reported.

''What experts tell us, though, is that cli-fi isn't just wholesome dystopian entertainment; it seems to help people believe in actual climate change, even when Hollywood's version of the science is a bit off," Christensen wrote.

Quoting Anthony Leiserowitz, a senior research scientist at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, CNN said: "Story is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of communications we ever had. When someone says 'now, let me tell you a story ...' something goes 'zzzzzt' in your brain. It's like when you were a child and your parents say they are going to tell you a bedtime story. It automatically opens you up,"

"Film, so far, is the most powerful form of storytelling that we've devised," Leiserowitz added.

''The Day After Tomorrow'' was a cli-fi movie released in the summer of 2004 that broke box office records around the world at the time.

Depicting devastating overnight climate change, the movie starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid, with a story about a polar explorer who warns the world that the Gulf Stream will shut down. In the make-believe Hollywood movie, It does break down and  triggers some cinematic (and dramatic) weather events, including a new ''Ice Age.''

Oops. Whatever happened to global warming? film critics asked.

According to climate change expert James Fleming at Colby College in Maine, the very unscientific entertainment blockbuster was "based on a short-term variation in ocean circulation that was in the news at the time."

Professor Fleming told CNN: "Some of my apocalyptically-oriented colleagues loved it, and one, a polar explorer, was even a model for the main character. I myself could not suspend disbelief, however."

Another climate change scholar, Jonathan Overpeck at the University of Michigan, was interviewed for the CNN article, and he told the global TV network that while the science in the movie made it hard for some experts to enjoy it, at the same time like a lot of sci-fi, "the film goes beyond the science." Overpeck said that although the ocean circulation can slow, change wouldn't happen overnight, and it's unlikely to spark a new Ice Age as Hollywood pretended it would.

In a personal note, Professor Overpeck, who is a paleoclimatologist and a father, told CNN that the 2004 movie was a personal favorite of his ''since its main character is a paleoclimatologist dad who speaks truth to power.''

"The kind of global freeze-up depicted in the film is not something to worry about," Overpeck added, noting: "But paleoclimatologists do rock!"

Professor Leiserowitz said he liked the movie. He even did a study about how it motivated people to take action to curb climate change, and artists from all disciplines have reached out to him to talk about how to create equally ''impactful'' narratives.

Even before "The Day After Tomorrow" opened in the July of 2004, there was a media and Twitter buzz about it, both pro and con.

So Leiserowitz and his team studied its impact in real time, creating a national survey and ''sampling'' public opinion a week before the movie's opening day and again some four weeks later.

What they found out, CNN reported, was that "across the board, the movie appears to have had a strong influence on watchers' risk perceptions of global warming." 

Most moviegoers didn't really worry that the most extreme scenario, like the coming of a new Ice Age in what happened in the movie, would happen in real life, Leiserowitz said. But after watching the movie in a dark, crowded theater viewers felt ''more inclined to make personal changes to reduce their carbon footprint. They were more inclined to talk to friends about climate change, and seeing the film affected voter preferences.''

Leiserowitz has a theory about why the silly, unscientific movie ''mattered.''

"You can't directly experience global warming. It's a theory. It's abstract. Scientists have collected temperatures and data from many decades all over the world, and that gets communicated to you through the analytic brain. That's important, yes, but the movie, it's a story," he told CNN.

Our human ancestors relied on ''stories'' to survive, he said. Storytelling is part of human history, from ancient religious texts to modern best-selling novels.

And the Yale expert was not the only public intellectual who loved the movie.

The globe-trotting Indian-American novelist Amitav Ghosh  is also a big fan of the film, surprising many of his climate activist friends around the world.

Although his climatologist friends mock him for his guilty pleasure, Ghosh told a Canadian reporter last summer tha he is a huge fan of some of Hollywood’s overblown cli-fi disaster epics, such as ''The Day After Tomorrow'' and ''Geostorm.'' 

 “I love them! I watch them obsessively,” he told the reporter over the phone, chuckling.

 “My climate scientist friends laugh at me for this,” Ghosh said, “because the practical science in a movie like 'The Day After Tomorrow' is bad. But I find these 'cli-fi' movies very compelling. And I do think both film and television very forward-leaning in dealing with climate change.” 

 Now meet Sydney Laws, a graduate student at a university in Texas, who wrote her thesis on cli-fi.

"I personally don't think we should hold our collective breath for a film that gets all of the facts correct," Laws told CNN. "Filmmakers have to tell a story in order to get the audience engaged, so I prefer to focus on their effectiveness at compelling moviegoers to change their behavior. So while scientific accuracy is incredibly important for the public's understanding of the ins and outs of climate change, merit can still be found in even the most outrageous of movies."

"Snowpiercer" was directed by a South Korean film director and based on a comic book by two French sci-fi writers. In the movie, a train circles the globe in a continuous loop over and over again, with the Earth's last survivors aboard after a global warming geoengineering experiment goes terribly wrong.

Dean Overpeck of University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability told CNN that "Snowpiercer" is about a rogue billionaire who has used climate engineering to cool the planet, but when the experiment goes wrong, it creates a "snowball Earth" that is largely frozen solid, and the only survivors ride a train filled with class warfare that forever circles the globe.

"A growing debate exists within the climate science community about the utility of geoengineering to cool the planet back down while at the same time continuing to burn fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases that act to warm the planet," Overpeck told CNN in an email. "One critical aspect of this debate, however, is that we may never know enough to geoengineer safely."

Did you ever see Disney's 2008 animated film "WALL-E"? It which featured a ''last robot on Earth,'' left to tidy up the pollution humans left behind when they left the uninhabitable plant.

"Unmitigated climate change and pollution interacts and endangers life, and that is well-supported by science," Overpeck said. "But, the other key message of 'WALL-E' is that there is hope.''

Friday, December 28, 2018


It's too late to Save Earth:  Face Climate Change Fatalism and Face Facts: we are doomed doomed in 30 more generations. That's not climate fatalism. That's climate realism.

Forest fires burning near Ljusdal, Sweden on July 18, 2018.

You reap what you sow. The chickens have come home to roost. The ship has sailed. The s**t has hit the fan. The English language has no shortage of idioms describing lost opportunities and the consequences of failing to act. And we’ve failed to act on human-caused climate change. It is here, with a vengeance.
We see it in massive wildfires sweeping across the western United States, Scandinavia, Canada and Siberia; the brutal heat waves and rising seas; dying coral reefs and acidifying oceans; the destruction of the Arctic and melting of Antarctica; crop failures and supercharged hurricanes.
We told you so, over and over, but you wouldn’t listen. (There, I got that off my chest.)
Kudos to The New York Times and Nathaniel Rich for publishing “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change” ―  a comprehensive look back at the history of the climate science and political debates that went on from 1979 to 1989. It tells part of the story of the massive scientific work that went into trying to understand the risks greenhouse gas emissions pose to the planet and then the ― ultimately stymied ― efforts of some climate scientists, advocates and politicians to move that science onto the agenda of American and then international policymakers.
The piece begins on a misleading note, stating in the prologue that: “The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to emerge. Almost nothing stood in our way — nothing except ourselves.” Yet the rest of the article makes it quite clear that the nascent efforts to slow damaging greenhouse gases emissions were stopped not by public opposition or ineffective communication by scientists, but by the clear ideological opposition of conservative Republicans and the Bush White House.
Rich also downplays the direct role that the fossil fuel industry played at the time in both hindering scientific research, hiding what was known (even to them), funding what was to become a massive effort on the part of the climate denial community and buying influence among politicians. That campaign, well catalogued by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their book “Merchants of Doubt,” was fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars of “dark money” that was directed to pseudo-scientific organizations, fake “think tanks” and conservative ideologues.
The world didn’t stop in 1989. Nearly 30 years have gone by and while the basic facts of climate change were well known back then, scientific certainty about climate change has continued to be improved, refined and advanced. The “signal” that humans are changing the climate, which appeared in the late 1980s rising above the “noise” of natural fluctuations in climate, has become a klaxon, blaring its warning.
Doomsday scenarios are not inevitable. Progress is being made almost everywhere, except at the national level of the United States.
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International negotiations have also continued every year to try to find a path forward. At every turn, ideological powers in the U.S., together with a small group of aligned nations (often dominated by fossil fuel producers and interests), continue to block any meaningful agreement.
It’s too late to stop severe climate change – indeed we see it around us. But it is absolutely not too late to slow the rate of climate change, to accelerate the transition away from coal, and then oil, and then natural gas to the diverse and increasingly inexpensive and effective suite of renewable energy options available to us. We can, and must, still act.
As the Times piece notes, we’ve lost the opportunity to prevent one degree Celsius of warming and without prompt and dramatic efforts almost certainly cannot prevent two degrees of warming. That’s bad enough: It’s probably sufficient to destroy the Arctic ice cap, most shallow tropical reefs, much of the snowpack in the world’s mountain ranges and lead to more extreme floods and droughts. But continued inaction will lead to much worse. Three or four degrees warming – which by the way was enough to mark the difference between planetary ice ages and warm interglacial periods – would wipe out all major coastal cities that can’t spend the literally hundreds of billions of dollars or more needed to build massive seawalls, destroy dozens of low-lying island nations, and make vast areas near the equator brutally – and perhaps unbearably – hot. Five degrees is simply unthinkable.
The good news is that these doomsday scenarios are not inevitable. Progress is being made almost everywhere, except at the national level of the U.S. Other nations, many U.S. states, local governments, responsible companies and individuals are moving forward. Emissions have flattened over the last several years and are starting to come down in many places. The delays of the past 40 years have committed the planet to unprecedented changes and will impose severe costs on all of us, especially on the poorest populations without the resources to adapt. But even more extreme costs can still be prevented if our politicians and the public can put aside blind ideology, anti-science rhetoric and short-term thinking for the sake of our children and the planet.

Peter H. Gleick is a hydroclimatologist and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His work on climate and water in the mid-1980s highlighted the threat of climate change for water resources and mountain snowpack. His research institute, the Pacific Institute, did the first comprehensive assessments of the threat of sea-level rise for the California coast. And his early writings in the 1980s highlighted the threat of climate change for national security, peace and conflict.

Monday, December 24, 2018

''Great American Desert'' -- a collection of short stories by Terese Svoboda PUB DATE MARCH 2019

Hi Dan,

Having just received a starred review in Kirkus for my 18th book, sixth novel, ''Great American Desert,'' I was hoping you might be interested in its cli-fi underpinnings. Great American Desert will be published in March 2019 by Mad Creek Books. About water and thirst, psychic and real, the book encompasses life above the Ogallala aquifer from the pre-historic Clovis to “projections” camped beside a pink pyramid in a sci-fi prairie.

 My book is a little doom-y but the characters are alive!

PS:  I will be doing a reading from the book in Chicago in April with a cli-fi expert, Sarah Dimick.

Tom McGuane: "Terese Svoboda has brought a poet's lyrical intensity and factual density to prose fiction, and writes like no one else." 

Karen Russell: "Great American Desert is a devious and extraordinary new collection of stories from one of our best writers, Terese Svoboda." 

Michael Martone: "Terese Svoboda in her truly miraculous collection of alchemic fictions, Great American Desert, conjures up and turns inside out that landscape of vast wastes, turning it into a teeming ecosystem of understatement...I'm blown away." 

All best,

Terese Svoboda

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Climate science and environmental reporters finding new outlets by pitching cli-fi news articles

For many freelance science and environmental reporters, most story pitches to newspaper and magazine editors focus on hard science. They usually include charts and statistics, interviews and quotes from professors and scientists in their offices or labs. While some target more educated readers, most are aimed at the general reader.

But there is another kind of freelance science communication story that targets the general audience and has the power to engage them in new ways. That's an article that combines science and novel writing for a new literary genre that's been dubbed ''cli-fi'' for ''climate fiction.'' And it's increasingly being pitched to editors in the United States, Canada, Israel, Britain, France and Australia.

Think ''science fiction,'' but change the story to novels and movies about climate change issues, such as Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior" and Kim Stanley Robinson's "New York 2140" and Nathaniel Rich's cli-fi satire "Odds Against Tomorrow."

I've been pitching freelance climate-related news articles to newspaper and magazine editors for over ten years now. The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic magazine, and dozens of other English-language outlets worldwide are now open to freelance reporters with a science background and a literary bent.

Novels and movies about climate issues can be PR tools for climate communication writers. But they also work as a science communications tool for readers who might otherwise shy away from ''boring'' climate change news stories full of government stastistics and scientific charts.

And it's a way to connect freelance science reporters to a host of publications now willing to consider climate-themed news articles with a literary theme. In addition to the New York Times and the Guardian newspapers, they include the the BBC, Slate, Salon, Huffington Post, CNN, Sierra magazine, The New Republic, The Nation, High Country News, college alumni magazines and dozens of in-flight magazines which are always looking for unique kinds of articles.

Other magazines and websites that have accepted such news articles include Pacific Standard, Earth Island Journal and the Chicago Review of Books, where critic Amy Brady now writes a monthly column devoted to literary trends.

Not every newspaper or internet reader is attuned to hard science or breaking climate change news. Many readers, however, will be sucked into an article that highlights a literary story that explores those issues in an accurate and scientific way.

My goal as a PR consultant is to inspire and motivate more science and environment writers to do stories that explore the intersection of climate change issues with literature and cinema, arts and culture. What I want to do is help science journalists writers pitch their stories around this new literary term.

For example, I assisted J.K. Ullrich pitch a story (“Climate Fiction: Can Books Save the Planet?”) that was published on the Atlantic to global applause. I helped Rodge Glass in London get a climate-themed news story published in The Guardian.

Also, James Sullivan placed an article in Literary Hub, an online literary magazine. Lily Rothman did a big story in Time magazine about summer climate movies. The New York Times did a widely-read “Room for Debate” forum with five literary and science experts about the rise and usefulness of climate-themed novels and movies.

Hannah Fairfield at the Climate Desk at The New York Times is always looking for innovative stories about climate novels and movies and how they intersect with climate science and current politics. Pamela Paul at The New York Times Book Review is also warming up to pitches from freelancers about the rise of this new literary genre.

One story that has yet to be written, or even pitched as far as I know (hint hint), is about how the book industry is taking to the new genre. Interviews and quotes from publishers, literary agents, literary critics, public relations and marketing people at major and even small publishers would make a compelling article for someone to pitch and write and publish.

Finally, you might use your Twitter feed to pitch ideas globally to potential editors.  Many publications around the world would love to see some freelance pitches for climate-themed literary news articles in their regions of the world. Think India, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel.