Cli-Fi? Literature, Ecocriticism, History

  • Martin RyleEmail author


The recent period has seen publication of a good deal of ‘cli-fi’—speculative fiction about climate change. Teaching and discussion of this work raises the topic of global warming, and offers an opening for eco-criticism to address wider environmental questions. As a genre, however, cli-fi is limited. Its reliance on apocalyptic scenarios and its didactic tendency weaken it aesthetically. Its short historical perspective cannot address the long history of fossil-fuelled industrialism. Critical analysis of more complex novels by Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan reveals some contradictory implications of recent literary engagement with climate change, while brief discussion of earlier fiction (by Austen, Hardy and Lawrence) shows how the novel as a genre is well placed to present and analyse the ambiguities of progress.


Margaret Atwood Climate change Global warming Eco-criticism Industrialism Ian McEwan Progress Speculative fiction 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SussexLewesUK

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