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Emmi is a talented author who has been compared to Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood, and her book has received numerous accolades, since it was first published in Finland in 2012. Set in the future, it’s about a young woman training to become a tea master. Water is scarce due to climate change, and a dystopian society has resulted. This is one of my favorite books in the genre of eco-fiction. Emmi’s writing is powerful, and her book is an example of how you can preach to the choir (in my case, anyway) and still be very effective. Though “preaching” isn’t the right word: her book manages to not be didactic but still be effective in getting her message about the climate across.
Kingsolver is such a humorous, frank author, and reading her books always gives me joy. This book isn’t in-your-face about climate change: instead it’s the story of a family. A young mother living near the Appalachian valley discovers millions of Monarch butterflies have magically migrated there for the winter. Seen by some as a religious miracle, scientists who come to investigate reveal that the Monarchs are moving north for the winter because their normal habitat in Mexico suffering from climate change.
John is a contributing author at Climate Progress and Common Dreams, and he has a background in the EPA, so he knows about the red tape involved in getting real work done to protect our environment. The story is very well written: a modern suspense and adventure tale about a group of people traveling with a very interesting guide to an isolated mountainous area in British Columbia (I live in BC so loved this aspect). The book is about a journey back to one’s most essential self as one relates to nature rather than culture. I won’t lie; there were a few places in this book that I got teary-eyed. I could not put this book down.
The main character in this novel, Mitchell, deals with disaster statistics, putting numerical value on human lives. He is rich, not very likeable, and humorless. And then a hurricane destroys his habitat in New York. I always love great character redemption, and Mitchell’s evolution is compelling in this day and age when people tend to gravitate toward two ends of the lifestyle spectrum: nature and the essentials vs. greed and material possession – and Rich’s development of this is fascinating.
Published earlier this month, my interest in this novel was piqued when I read reviews which mentioned climate change and environmental fiction. It’s an epic young-adult novel the reader relates to from the very first sentence, and it’s exceptionally well-written: which is no surprise coming from David Mitchell. I haven’t yet finished it, but my recommendation comes from what I’ve read so far as well as its great reviews.
This doesn’t come out until January 2015, but it’s such an evocative book I’d like to recommend it early. Another work of young adult/teen fiction, the inspiring story follows two misfit teenagers fighting to save the environment. It’s gotten some wonderful reviews already, and I’ll have an interview with J. L. Morin coming out before the book is published.
This beautifully illustrated series for children follows twig characters dealing with climate change and environmental destruction. I have had lots of communication with Jo, the author; she is an amazing woman who spends as much time in her real life caring for animals and the environment as she does writing stories for children to inspire them to do the same. I know from experience that childhood inspiration to care for our environment can lead down the path of continuing to do so as an adult. The books in the series are Leaf and the Rushing Waters, Leaf and the Sky of Fire, Leaf and the Long Ice, and Leaf and Echo Peak, the latter due to come out soon.
A masterpiece of climate fiction, this book was originally published in the late 1980s (as The Drowning Towers in the US) and republished just last year. Turner tackled global warming decades ago, winning an Arthur C. Clarke award. This just goes to show that the climate change genre is not really new; it is just larger now than it once was. We’ve discussed this book in our Google+ cli-fi/eco-fiction community group, and those who have read it see it as a prototype of climate change novels.
Another is Heat by Arthur Herzog. I have not finished reading this book but got a chance to communicate with Herzog’s widow for an insight into his work (published in 1977) with climate scientists back then.
I’ve long been a fan of Margaret Atwood, and her newest trilogy is popular with both mainstream and climate fiction readers alike. She also identifies with the climate fiction genre, and speaks out about it occasionally.
Though there are so many good books within the climate/eco-fiction genres, I can’t leave out Kim Stanley Robinson. These three projects, especially the latter two, are climate-related and well-known. I have listened to him speak, and he’s really got some brilliant insight into literature as well as climate change and eco-fiction.
I did an interview with Tony White earlier in the year when he was a writer in residence in the London Museum of Science: his project was to write a novel about climate change. The book was interesting in that it fused fiction with non-fiction, and past with future, in an interesting tale that eclipses time (from prediction to aftermath).
As you might have noticed, I’m trying to make this list of recommendations quite diverse, so the next one I’ll mention is a graphic novel. Though not necessarily fiction, graphic novels take science and illustrate it in a creative way, similar to climate novels. There are a couple of interesting graphic novels coming up, but this one by Philippe Squarzoni is out now and has gathered some really great reviews.
As a cheeky addition, I’ll mention my own novel. I wrote Back to the Garden under the pen name Clara Hume, and it gathered some good reviews and a fair bit of attention in the media. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale similar to many others being written now, but instead of being a fast-paced thriller it is a literary story with a slower pace.
eco-fiction.com is run by British Columbia’s Moon Willow Press, an independent publisher that helps to sustain forests while celebrating the written word. Eco-Fiction maintains a growing list of fictional novels, short stories, anthologies, and prose that are climate or environmental in nature, including science fiction, literary fiction, speculative fiction, and other genres. The site also catalogs a few non-fiction works (notable essays and graphic novels), has a section on media and other arts that deal with climate change, hosts several interviews with climate authors, has a YA/teen bookshelf, maintains a large searchable and sortable database of works at the site, and runs a friendly and public community discussion group at Google+ on eco-themes in literature and the arts.
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As part of the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) Dan Simpson crowdsourced this poem; we asked you to join in to help us create a brand new climate change-themed poem authored by you, the global community.
Our climate and our world are changing rapidly around us, a fact that can sometimes feel overwhelming. Mary Woodbury, creator of eco-fiction.com, shares five books to help us harness human nature for the greater environmental good.
An evening of poetry, performance and film to begin Highlight Arctic, a year-long multi-arts festival from and about the circumpolar North.