Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Every Sunday, from 1:30 pm to 5 pm, in a local park, I am setting up an informal advice table for people and passersby who might want to know more about cli-fi and its usefulness as a literary genre and a movie genre for future Hollywood movies.

Every Sunday, from 1:30 pm to 5 pm, in a local park, I am setting up an informal advice table for people and passersby who might want to know more about cli-fi and its usefulness as a literary genre and a movie genre for future Hollywood movies. Like the earlier term of ''sci-fi,'' which is pronounced with two hard i's (as in high, eye, sigh, guy,, shy, lie, try) the newer term of "cli-fi" is also said out loud with two hard i's, as in ''Klai-Fai'' (klye fye), just like sci-fi but this time it is cli-fi. And just as sci-fi is a shortened form of science fiction, so to is cli-fi a shortened version of climate fiction. So every Sunday I am the local park, sitting down at my foldable wooden table with few seats scattered around it for passersby -- teenagagers, college students, writers, poets, anybody with an interest in cli-fi, and while I am not an expert in the field, I have done some research about cli-fi and am ready to answer any questions that come my way. And any questions that I cannot readily answer, I know how to use Google and other search platforms to try to find the answers that those people who ask me questions. So welcome everyone, young and old, outgoing and shy, whatever floats your boat and whatever makes you tick, I am here every Sunday to try to answer your questions. If you cannot make it to the park, then please feel free to use the comment section at the bottom of this blog post to pose your questions to me and I will do my best to answer them. I am here for you. 24/7. But on Sundays, every Sunday, I'm in the park for you. Welcome! Free Cli-Fi Advice! -- Every Sunday in the Park -- 1:30 pm to 5 pm -- MARGARET ATWOOD MEGAN HUNTER KIM STANLEY ROBINSON PAOLO BACIGALUPI AMY BRADY novels movies Cli-Fi Rising (curated by Danny Bloom) ‏ @do_you_cli_fi_

Free Cli-Fi Advice! -- Every Sunday in the Park with Danny. -- 1:30 pm to 5 pm. -- MARGARET ATWOOD MEGAN HUNTER KIM STANLEY ROBINSON PAOLO BACIGALUPI AMY BRADY novels movies #burningworlds -- CLICK TO ENLARGE SIGN / see also my website

Why there is no Planet A anymore, and why Planet B is here to stay until....

Why there is no Planet A anymore, and why Planet B is here to stay until.....

by staff writer with agency

Planet A was a nice memory. It is gone forever now. We soiled her, we boiled her, we broke her, we stroked her tenderly (and sometimes roughly) until she had no fur or skin, we did everything to her but fuck her, and you know we damn well tried. There is no Planet A anymore. 

But there is a Planet B -- ''Planet Borrowed Time.''

On Planet Borrowed Time, optimism reigns supreme even as the doomsayers say ''doom'' every chance they get. On Planet Borrowed Time, the future is forever even though there is not much of a future left.

On Planet Borrowed Time, things will not be over in 12 years (say, 2030) as the media-savvy IPCC PR people said ...or in Guy McPherson's silly 2029-dated prophecy which will never come to pass of course, and Guy will be dead himself by then so what does he care?

No, on Planet Borrowed Time, the horizon stretches for 30 more generations of man...and woman ....30 more long generations far into the future that might even stretch to 60 more generations. The end, my friend, is not near nor nigh, we have many more centuries to ponder our demise while we continue to plunder what was once our cosmic home in the universe.

Maybe we should never have evolved here. Maybe we should never have been seeded here, or seeded our descendants here, generation after generation, egg accepting sperm, sperm penetrating egg, 1 million generations or more.

Who knows where the future on Planet Borrowed Time lies? It surely doesn't lie on Planet A because that planet is long gone. What's left? Planet Borrowed Time and there's no telling how long that will last.

Prepare for the worst. Remember what was once best about Planet A. Forget everything else. 

Life is a dream that the gods are dreaming, and all those gods are dead and never existed in the first place, including Jesus Supremo and Jehovah Numero Uno and Allah All-Star Champion. All of them, dead as a doornail. In fact, to be honest, there were all dead on arrival. 

Embrace Planet Borrowed Time in these borrowed times even though such an embrace leads nowhere you'd want go go. There is no other ....choice!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Steve Asselin‏ on Twitter has offered a 1-2 note into the ongoing cli-fi discussion started a few days ago online by author William Gibson

Steve Asselin @DisasterScholar   on Twitter has offered a 1-2 note into the ongoing cli-fi discussion started a few days ago online by author William Gibson @GreatDismal.

Dr Asselin wrote first: "It's really a matter of definition. If you define 'cli-fi' as a movement, a quantifiable upswing in climate change fiction arising out of a moment of ecological crisis at the turn of the 21st century, then sure. A little tautological, but what definitions of movements aren't? " [1/2]
Followed by: ''If you define 'cli-fi' as a subject, then you have notable precedents, other numerically significant aggregations of literature/film after WWII, during the pulp age, and as we are finding out, in the late Victorian/Edwardian and possibly even one during the Romantic period.'' [2/2]

James Downson Twitter then noted to Dr Asselin: James Downs @James_AL_Downs                     
''That's a really good point, actually, and a helpful distinction to make.''
William Gibson had written in 3 tweets earlier in the month, with over 700 "likes" following the discussion:

William GibsonVerified account @GreatDismal Nov 12 / 2018 TWEETED 1-3 below: 
1. Re the cli-fi discussion, I think it should be kept in mind that very little 20th Century sf anticipated anything even remotely like what we must now recognize as the greatest single unanticipated effect of human technology.
2. This single vast predictive fail will only become more evident with time. What we've caused to happen to our planet's climate is literally the biggest thing we've done, as a species, and all unknowingly.
3.  So the urge to distinguish a science fiction of the Anthropocene, which consciously doesn't partake of that extraordinarily massive genre-wide failure of predictive imagination, actually seems quite natural to me.

The blog post, ''The Tattooist of Auschwitz' novel faces fuzzy future after reporter's expose'

The blog post, ''The Tattooist of Auschwitz' novel faces fuzzy future after reporter's expose', is now published and can be found at

In a blog post that ran in the October 20 issue of Times of Israel, headlined "Truth Behind Bestseller Holocaust Romance Novel Called into Question by Some," I had no idea that the New York Times would spot this post and then, after some gentle prodding, assign a top reporter for the New York Times Australia bureu to look into the truthiness of Heather Morris' bestselling romance novel. And yet, less than a month later, Christine Kenneally, based in Melbourne, where the novel itself was written and published, delivered a one-two punch to the book, leaving a huge hole in the novel's future popularity.
The Times of Israel blog post can be found here, and The New York Times article published worldwide on November 8 can be found here.
Kenneally's name might ring a bell for some readers here. Born in Australia, she is a relative of Thomas Kenneally, the famous author of the book titled "Schindler's List" which was later made into the Hollywood movie by Steven Spielberg.
Meanwhile, with the New York Times article making waves in literary and publishing circles around the world, the fallout from the news story is sure to put the chances of a movie being made of Morris' "novel" in limbo. There are too many questions now surrounding the authenticity of Morris' book and she is feeling the pressure.
Morris initially wrote the story as a movie screenplay, but later turned it into a romance novel. That's where her troubles began. She took liberties with an elderly Holocaust survivor's memories that she never should have taken, and now the criticism over the novel's truthiness is going to point the finger at both Morris and the publisher Angela Meyer. They have a lot of explaining to do now in the wake of the New York Times expose. It's not going to be a pretty picture, either.
I tried to warn both Morris and Meyer of the trouble they were heading in, but neither of them responded to my emails, Facebook messages or tweets. Stonewalling gets you nowhere, as the two have now learned.
"In the 'Additional Information' section of the book, Morris writes that 34902 was in fact Furman’s number," Kenneally reported. "But as it turns out, it’s not. In a 1996 interview with the USC Shoah Foundation, Furman said her number was 4562. Other evidence from her own account and from the archives at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum supports her claim."
There's more daming evidence.
"Likewise Furman’s arrival date is said to be April 13, 1942. But it’s not possible for a woman assigned the number 34902 to have arrived at Auschwitz on that date or even in that year. A woman entering Auschwitz at that time would have had a four-digit number," Kenneally reported.
Most damning perhaps is the New York Times assertion that while much of the interest in, and marketing of, the bestselling and heavily promoted book -- over 650,000 copies in print worldwide -- focused on the so-called ''true story'' the cover and PR material says it was  based on, there is confusion about which stories in the ''novel'' are true and which are not.
"Morris said that the tattoo scene where Sokolov so momentously saw Furman for the first time really occurred. But interviews with Sokolov and Furman from the 1990s, and with their son Gary recently, provide no support for that claim," the New York Times reported.
Morris' book is in trouble now. It might be recalled, with no future editions printed or sold. The movie option for the book might very well be cancelled now. Telling a big fat white lie, even if it is to turn an elderly Holocaust survivor's manipulated memories into a bestseller with the best of intentions, is to spit on the graves and memories of the 6 million Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust. The New York Times has spoken.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

‘Outside Looking In’ is T.C. Boyle’s new novel about the emergence of LSD [set for an April 2019 drop)]

There's a provocative new novel from bestselling American novelist T.C. Boyle coming your way in April but it's having its world premiere, so to speak, in Germany this January where Boyle is at this very moment doing a major book tour -- in German -- as we speak.

The book explores the first scientific and recreational forays into LSD and its mind-altering possibilities. Titled "Outside Looking In," the novel will take readers back to the 1960s and to the early days of a drug whose effects have reverberated widely throughout Western culture: LSD.  In Germany the novel is titled "Das Licht."

What's interesting about the publication of this novel is that it has already been translated into German and was published first for Boyle's legions of fans in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, four months before the book will debut in America.

You might wonder why Germany gets first dibs on a new T.C. Boyle novel, long before readers in New York and Los Angeles get a look at the book.

Here's the answer: Boyle is so well-regarded in Germany by his fans there (and literary critics there, too) that while he's an American novelist writing in English, he's so loved in Germany and on Twitter by his German fans who tweet to him in California daily in both German and English that in many ways, in some ways, Boyle is also a German novelist. Think about that and then take a tab of acid to let it sink in.

Meanwhile, remember these dates: In 1943, LSD was synthesized in Basel. Two decades later, a coterie of graduate students at Harvard were gradually drawn into the inner circle of renowned psychologist and psychedelic drug enthusiast Timothy Leary.

Fitzhugh Loney, a psychology Ph.D. student and his wife, Joanie, become entranced by the drug’s possibilities such that their “research” becomes less a matter of clinical trials and academic papers and instead turns into a free-wheeling exploration of mind expansion, group dynamics, and communal living.

So in this ''LSD'' novel in 2019, and with ith his trademark humor and pathos, Boyle moves us through the Loneys’ initiation at one of Leary’s parties to his notorious summer seminars in Zihuatanejo until the Loneys’ eventual expulsion from Harvard and their introduction to a communal arrangement of 39 devotees -- students, wives, and children -- living together in a 64-room mansion and devoting themselves to all kinds of experimentation and questioning.

Some questions to ponder as you wait for this novel to arrive in the mail in April.

Is LSD a belief system?

Does it allow you to see God?

Can the Loneys’ marriage -- or any marriage, for that matter -- survive the chaotic and sometimes orgiastic use of psychedelic drugs?

Boyle-wry, witty of course, and always wise, ''Outside Looking In'' highlights Boyle’s masterly prose, detailed plots, and big ideas. It’s an engaging and trippy look at the nature of reality, identity, and consciousness.

''Turn on, tune in, drop out," Timothy Leary intoned in psychdelic tones in the 1960s. With Boyle's new novel, we might put it this way in 2019 -- especially if you take a look the trippy cover of the Germany editon -- "Turn around, look inside, read the book!"

"T.C. Boyle -- ein amerikanischer Rockstar der Literatur und seine deutschen Fans auf Twitter" is a headline that appeared last year on a German blog. Roughly translated, it might go something like this: "T.C. Boyle: an American literary rock star with an army of Twitter fans across the seas."

In a solid demonstration of the two-way trans-Atlantic lovefest called ''Boylemania,'' Ulrich Tepelman in Germany took the time to translate an English-language blog post into German for Boyle fans and readers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Another literary man in Germany, Holger Reichard, also kindly posted the German link on his literary site, a German-language website about Mr Boyle's works at

Boyle, with over 20+ novels and story collections out in English and over 12 foreign languages as well, presides over a unique German fan club of sorts. It’s an informal fan club and there is no formal official fanzine website for it, but for the past 30 years, Boyle has not only developed a large following in Germany, but he has responded to the following and his fans there by reaching out to them via his own website and Twitter feed. [See for information in German, thanks for Holger Reichard.]

In fact, about half of his incoming Tweets come from readers and fans in Germany, and most of them are written in German, too. Boyle, who speaks Spanish and German, often responds to the tweets from Germany in German as well. While his novels and short story collections are also translated into French and Italian and Spanish and a dozen other languages, for some reason Boyle’s novels and personality resonates most in Germany.

He flies over there after each new novel is published and gives lectures, readings, TV interviews and meet and greet book signings all over the country but focused mostly in Berlin and Cologne.

No other American novelist has this kind of following in Germany, and no other American novelist has this kind of following and rapport with readers in a foreign country. In Germany, Boyle is now regarded as a kind of literary rock star and his visits there are always sold-out performances on stage.

So what is to account for this amazing cultural phenomenon that connects America and Germany with the written words and public lectures of an American novelist from California?

True, Boyle does go to visit other nations in Europe and he is well-received there by readers and literary critics there as well. In fact, he once noted in a tweet: ” I’ve toured there [in Germany] more than in other foreign countries. My second best is France, followed by the UK and everybody else. I can’t go everywhere and these trips do exhaust me, so I must pick and choose.”

He also noted on his blog in early January 2018: “[As for] Europe, I am looking forward to the publication of a new collection of [a set of earlier short stories that have been published here and there in English and this new collection is in German only and is] unique to Germany (titled ”Good Home”) to be released [on January 29th there] and at some point, my new Italian publisher, La Nave di Teseo Editore, will [soon] bring out the Italian translation of The Terranauts, while in France, my longtime publisher, Editions Grasset, will release the French version of that novel as well.”

When asked about all this, Boyle says: ''I am thankful to my readers. And I do like to give a show.”

Part of the show, in addition to his novels and short stories, and his public performances of some of his short stories at venues in the USA and in Europe, Germany especially, is Mr Boyle’s unique and idiosyncratic Twitter feed.

While most people use Twitter to retweet news links and interact with reporters about politics and other newsy things, TCB set up a Twitter account at the urging of his publishers in New York to use as spotlight for his ongoing performance personality, although on Twitter there is no sound or video, just Tom being witty and friendly and using the platform as another way to showcase his performance chops, although on Twitter, it is very low-key and text only, with many photo snaps of his daily morning and evening routines in Santa Barbara, which his fans in the USA and in Germany comment upon, with Tom adding comments about their comments and not only does the lovefest between read and author continue this way, but it’s also a way for Tom to include his fans from all over the world.

At the moment, most of his Twitter comments come from readers in Gemany and the USA, and there are few, if any at all, tweets from readers in France or Italy or the UK.

Boyle told reporter Allen Pierleoni at the Sacramento Bee in 2016: “My publisher [Ecco Books] said I had to have a Twitter account,”…. “I didn’t know anything about it and still don’t. So what I do is a shtick on (the notion of) ‘Here is your entré to the intimate life of a world-famous literary star.’ ”

The reporter added: Boyle’s Twitter posts are indicative of his world view of the absurd. One recurring tweet [even now in 2018] is a photo of the egg (still in the shell)  he will have for breakfast that particular morning, with the text “Egg.” In another shot, he places an egg atop a vase, with the caption, “The egg, in formal pose.” Other favorites are photos of his dog, a sprouting potato, the early-morning view of a street near his house and a decaying rat.

He goes on: “The first selfie I ever took was accidental. I was showing the Tweetsters online the black muck I was cleaning out of my fish pond in Montecito to put on the yard plants. I leaned over and photographed the muck for them and noticed my face was reflected in the muck, so what I had done was take a muck selfie for them. So that’s the coolest thing about being me – the muck selfie.”

So one can see that Boyle uses his Twitter platform as a ''performance'' platform, not to do PR for his novels and provide news link to news articles about his or book reviews or anything like that. He is not into self-promotion and doesn’t need to be. His novels speak for themselves. He uses the Twitter platform as a way to stay in touch with his readers and fans worldwide, borderless, across time zones and oceans and mountain ranges, and and he uses the platform to entertain his fans and friends. It’s a pure act of love, and another way to him to be the ”world historial hero artist” that he has become, in an engaging and warm-hearted and sometimes light-hearted way, but always with a serious intent.

His German fans and readers respond favorably to his daily tweets — and I do mean daily— as do his American fans and friends as well. This is part of his charm and part of his personality and what makes his relationship with Germany fans and readers so remarkable. And anyone anywhere in the world can go to Boyle's Twitter feed and read the posts, lurk in the background and chuckle at the jokes and the asides, and also see the serious side of an artist/performer at the height of his adult powers.

German fans “get” Tom Boyle, they understand him, and in return, he “gets” them as well. It’s really an amazing and insightful relationship, across borders — with more to come. Watch what happens during the upcoming Germany book tour in early 2019.


Terese Svoboda probes the prehistoric past and our possible futures in new short story collection

                         - Jonathan Keats

"Farmers invented 'climate fiction,' stories that console or haunt or condemn them to the whims of the weather. 'Climate fiction' for rest of us readers delivers the news that a little pitter patter isn't just backdrop to our lives, but a character that changes events and will change us."

The American writer Terese Svoboda is talking to me over the crackling pops and steampunk whistles of a rusty transatlantic email connection, and she's talking about her new book, "Great American Desert," a collection of 21 short stories she chose just for this paperback edition.

Kirkus book reviews website saw an early edition of the collection, set for a March 2019 release, and put it this way: "Terese Svoboda returns to her art's quintessential landscape to relate the overlapping epochs of the great American desert."

MAD CREEK BOOKS, an imprint of the Ohio State University Press, will publish the book.

Kirkus goes on: "Camp Clovis," the first of the 21 stories that make up this collection, opens in the Pleistocene era among the Clovis people, a Paleo-Indian community who live in what will become the American Great Plains. 

The community's teenage boys have been sent away to camp, where they will engage in "boy's footraces, showing off underwater, crafts with leather, spear point chiseling, campfires -- the usual," to keep them out from under their mothers' feet for the long summer months. 

When the engaging innocence of their boyhood is threatened by elements outside their control or understanding -- global climate change, overhunting of keystone species, encroachment by other cultures on Clovis' territory -- their bewildered bravado and ageless little-boyness provide a bridge from their time to our own.

The final story in the collection, "Pink Pyramid," takes place on the same land in a far distant future when almost all animals are extinct and "electronics control…even the wind, and the turning of the Earth." 

The story's unnamed male and female characters operate as a cross between scavengers and disaster tourists, drawing ever closer to the eponymous pyramid which houses the unextinguished fires of environmental endgame. In spite of their alien surroundings -- all life systems mechanized, all Earth soaked with poison -- these characters radiate a desire for connection, authenticity, and experience that is as familiar to a modern-day reader as it would have been to one of the Clovis boys at camp alongside their ancient river. 

In between, characters pack their windows against the dust of the 1930s, bury WWII's leaking munitions under the dry soil of the South Dakota plains, get engaged in snowstorms, set dogs on fire, attend their dying relatives, disregard their living children, and generally live the sort of brief, bloody, tender, or brutal lives they have always lived in a part of the world that both sustains and destroys with its implacable emptiness.

A poet, a translator, and more, Terese Svoboda has always engaged language as a tool of exploration. This new book shows how she does it.

Growing up in a family with nine children in Nebraska in the 1950s and 1960s, Svoboda, now lives in New York City.

Her enigmatic sentences, elliptical narratives, and percussive plots delve into the possibilities of form, genre, and plausible futures, but always with an eye on the vast subterranean psychologies of her all-too-real creations. 

The stories in this volume represent the author's take on the most challenging of subjects -- the survival of our species from its distant beginnings into the possible future.

And you might be wondering, as I was: where does "cli-fi" fit into some of the tales?

Terese tells me:

"Story titles that refer most specifically to climate change include: Camp Clovis,... Dutch Joe,... Dirty Thirties, ...Bomb Jockey,... Ogallala Aquifer, ...Pink Pyramid. "

''And what are some of the cli-fi underpinnings in these stories?'' I asked Terese.

Terese didn't miss a beat:

"Farmers invented climate fiction, stories that console or haunt or condemn them to the whims of the weather. Climate fiction for rest of us readers delivers the news that a little pitter patter isn't just backdrop to our lives, but a character that changes events and will change us."

2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for novels and short stories about climate change. ''Great American Desert'' joins the rising sea of climate fiction and will be published in March. It's Svoboda's 18th book.

''My book is a little doom-y but the characters are alive!" Terese told me in a parting shot.

Here's an earlier interview with Svoboda from 2015:

Btw, Terese will be doing a reading from the book in Chicago in April with cli-fi expert and professor Sarah Dimick.

Some word of mouth:

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.''

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." 


A Guggenheim fellow, Terese Svoboda is the author of seven books of fiction, seven books of poetry, a prize-winning memoir, a book of translation from the Nuer, and a biography of the radical poet Lola Ridge.  The Bloomsbury Review writes that "Terese Svoboda is one of those writers you would be tempted to read regardless of the setting or the period or the plot or even the genre.”

The new book has already received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.  Here’s what Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone, had to say about Great American Desert, “Terese Svoboda in her truly miraculous collection of alchemic fictions...conjures up and turns inside out that landscape of vast wastes, turning it into a teeming ecosystem of understatement.  This polished prose is bursting with serrated, smitten, sand sanded sentences that scour and wear us down and down.  This is work of sublime sublimation, crazed and cracked to let, yes, the light in.  A tome of tornadic abrasion. Read this as a new American Gothic where the endless flatness is not so much broken as broken open into utterly new dimensions. These stories grind gleefully, relentlessly, glacial texts on speed. I’m blown away.


Terese was born and raised in Nebraska. She attended local schools, then matriculated at Manhattanville College, the University of NebraskaMontreal Museum of Fine ArtsOxford UniversityStanford University, the University of Colorado, and the University of British Columbia, where she graduated with a B.F.A. in studio art and creative writing. Columbia University awarded her an M.F.A.

Terese is married to high-tech inventor Stephen Medaris Bull, and she is the mother of three children. They live in New York City.

Goodbye dystopias, hello utopias: climate solutions in the spotlight


by staff writer with agency


With 15-year-old Swedish ''school strike for climate solutions'' proponent Greta Thunberg making waves across the world the past four months, and more to come from her in 2019 (a book, a documentary, more keynote speeches, perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize nomination), there's a new way to look at fighting climate change and runaway global warming. Instead of dystopian visions full of doom and gloom, there are now utopian visions full of hope and promise.



"Stories that focus only on the impacts of climate change tell us the worst that could happen, but not what to do about it," write two researchers in the science communication field. "It’s not helpful to imagine ourselves overwhelmed by disaster while we wait for a miracle technology to transform our future. Instead, our stories need to show us how we can come together to solve climate change. In other words, we can change the way our own real-life story unfolds by changing the stories we tell."


Imagine, for example, a popular TV show set in Miami in which a city planning official dealing with future sea level rise issues grapples with that very real threat for south Florida, and various supporting characters show how the city can collaborate with scientists and city planners to come up with solutions. No more TV dystopias; think utopia and how to get there.


In a short story by acclaimed writer Jess Walter that recently appeared in an Amazon Original Story Collection titled "Warmer," for example, the storyteller weaved the intracacies of climate change science through a humorous academic story arc, with hope, not  dystopia, emerging arising from the characters' determination to not give up until they have done everything they can.


That's exactly what Greta Thunberg in Sweden has been talking about: hope conquers all.

I''ve just learned that in February, Firaxis Games will introduce a climate change game titled ''Civilization VI: Gathering Storm,'' with the mantra “Our survival necessitates new solutions to old problems.” Bingo!


It's the second expansion to the award-winning grand strategy game ''Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.''


''Civilization VI: Gathering Storm'' adds new advanced technologies, engineering projects, the fan-favorite World Congress, and introduces a living world ecosystem that showcases natural events that could enrich or challenge a player's growing empire. It also also adds eight new civilizations and nine new leaders, seven new World Wonders, and a variety of new units, districts, buildings, improvements and more.


Ed Beach, the lead designer for new game, is high on the new iteration.


"History is full of rich stories of great empires, exploration, survival, and the human spirit," he says. "While we have always managed to capture a lot of this in the Civilization series, our story of human history was missing something without the impact that a changing planet has had on our settlements, and the imprints that we have left behind on Earth. This was the primary theme that we wanted to explore with 'Civilization VI: Gathering Storm'."

As the two researchers I alluded to above say: "The goal [among novelists and screenwriters and climate visionaries] should be to switch our stories from 'Climate change is huge, scary and inevitable' to 'We can solve this problem and here’s how'.”

I so agree. Too much doomsday moaning and groaning does no one no good. Ask Greta Thunberg.


Friday, November 9, 2018

An interview with film-maker Tobias Deml in New York on why he created a Wikipedia page for the "Entertainment Education" field

Miguel Sabido and Tobias Deml

Tobias, Robert, Sergio and Miguel at Miguel's home in Mexico City

Robert, Albert Bandura and Tobias

[Tobias Deml is a filmmaker and producer who co-founded the magazine "Cinema of Change" in 2013, which is dedicated to bringing social impact insights to mainstream filmmakers. Deml co-founded and runs the Los Angeles-based social impact production company Prodigium Pictures.]

Climate activist and blogger Dan Bloom notes: Recently, an online correspondent I was chatting with about the rise of the ''cli-fi'' literary and cinema genre told me about an academic field of study dubbed "Entertainment Education." EE for short.

I had never heard of the EE term before last week, so of course, I Googled EE and then found an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the term. I also found Tobias Deml, a film-maker from Austria now living in the United States and I asked him a few questions about how the term came to be, originally, who coined it and when, and how he came to create the Wikipedia page for it.

Here's our informal interview conducted by email:
1. Education Entertainment has a dedicated Wikipedia page now. Can you explain what motivated, inspired you to create that page? Did you create it?

TOBIAS DEML (in a series of email replies from New York): In late 2017, I reached out to Albert Bandura for an interview about the social impact of mainstream entertainment; we had a wonderful discussion at his home at Stanford University in California. He then connected me to Miguel Sabido, his long-time collaborator and a famed TV producer in Mexico who is widely seen as the "Grandfather of Entertainment-Education"; he's basically the guy that invented this whole field in the 1970s. I went down to Mexico City with my co-founder at Cinema of Change, Robert Rippberger, and we interviewed Miguel for 10 hours straight at his home.

You can imagine that I was immensely passionate about the topic and Miguel's groundbreaking contributions to it over so many decades. He then told me I needed to go to an upcoming conference in Bali, Indonesia. I had never been to Asia, but with the top-of-the-world level knowledge that Albert and Miguel confronted me with it was pretty clear I had to go and invest a bunch of my money in this trip. The conference was the SBCC  (Social Behavioral Change Communications) Summit in mid-2018, where I reunited with Miguel and met many of the leading thinkers in Entertainment-Education.

Surrounded by so many communication experts and leaders, I wanted to find something useful I could contribute -- and then I realized that, ironically, a large group of 1,200 communication professionals were meeting on a topic that didn't have its own dedicated page on Wikipedia.
There was also an ongoing problem in the naming and categorizing of the work they did - EE, SBCC, C4D, SIE etc. etc. - so I made it my personal mission to untie that knot by creating a Venn Diagram that would interrelate the different terms and abbreviations.
I checked with the various thought leaders at the conference about creating that Wikipedia page as well as showed them drafts of the Venn diagram until they all signed off on it. I then connected that Wikipedia page to Social Impact Entertainment and also created Miguel's page; you can see my digital footprint on a bunch of them.
To make a long story short --- I was introduced to EE by the guy that created it 50 years ago and saw the creation of a Wikipedia page as a long overdue duty I gladly took on.

2. For the general public who has never heard of this field before, can you explain briefly what it is, who coined term and when and why? And it is a ''genre'' or an ''academic field'' or both?

TOBIAS: Entertainment-Education is basically the use of Serial Dramas - narrative TV shows - for the primary purpose of entertainment that inspires and educates people through role modeling. We all learn various life lessons from the movies and shows that we watch, and Entertainment-Education (or EE, for short) is very aware of this effect, and has a set of methods to utilize the media for maximum effectiveness. The primary method of EE is the Sabido Method, named after Miguel Sabido who created the field. He initially called it "Entertainment for a Proven Social Benefit", which Patrick Coleman (a long-time friend and fellow producer) later renamed as Entertainment-Education.

It's primarily an academic and professional field, a way to look at entertainment. It can be applied to many genres. Think of it as "the school of being aware of the impact you're creating with your shows and movies".

3. Is the term now used also in non-English-language websites or academic papers, and if so what is EE called in German, French, Italian, or Spanish?
TOBY: Yes, the term is still widely used; the SBCC Summit had it as a sub-title. Most of the international community exchanges knowledge about it in English, so I'm not aware of any widely used localized terms for it. However, there are multiple terms and abbreviations that surround EE; the best visualization of this cluster is, to my knowledge, the Venn diagram I created earlier:

4. Have Hollywood movie and tv producers woken up to the ee term and its usefulness in Hollywood?

TOBY: Marginally so. There was a big wave of EE in the 1970s and 1980s that went as far as Sonny Fox, back then president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, teaming up with David Poindexter, Miguel Sabido, and Albert Bandura to basically turn the industry's attention to teaching people about health issues and family planning through mainstream TV. They got involved with Everett Rogers and the three biggest TV networks in the US to do this together with the Center for Disease Control; their effort is still survived today by the organization Hollywood Health & Society which has a powerful advisory position to the Writer's Guild of America.

But to be honest - today in 2018, Entertainment-Education is basically a forgotten treasure in Hollywood; only very few people know of it, and nobody properly capitalizes on its immense power - both commercially and impact-wise.

5. Does the term have a nickname or abbreviation or initialize, like "ent-edu" or "enter-ed" or EE in capital letters?

TOBY; Yeah, they had all sorts of abbreviations; I'd call it "EE" or "Entertainment-Education". Definitively not to be confused with Edutainment, which is basically educational programs with a slightly entertaining spin. EE is "Entertainment first", and that's a wholly different approach.

6. Has the term appeared yet in newspapers or magazines like The New York Times or the L.A. Times or BBC or The Guardian UK or Atlantic magazine or The Chronicle of Higher Education? Any links ?

TOBY: Yeah, all works of Albert Bandura use that term, so that's all peer-reviewed scientific journals in the psychology sector. There are a few dozen books on the sector, too. See the links below:

But  if you ask me, Entertainment-Education is the biggest forgotten treasure chest of modern media. It's a shame that not more people know about it; I've traveled to the other end of the globe to understand it better. Miguel is still alive and well in Mexico City, and a lot more journalists should fly down there to take a deep dive into his under-utilized genius.


For more information or to interview Toby, contact him here:
Tobias Deml
-- Filmmaker

Co-Founder, Prodigium Pictures LLC
Co-Founder, Cinema of Change


Miguel, center, Patrick Coleman, left at SBCC summit

Sonny Fox, Bill Ryerson, left, Albert Bandura, second right