About the event
As part of our digital #EdSciFest we're releasing a series of online entertainment, curated articles, and downloadable resources covering all the Science Festival favourites. Festival Director, Amanda Tyndall, shares some of her personal favourite reads.
“I’m a sucker for a good book, fact or fiction, and in recent years have delved into nature writing and the climate fiction (aka Cli-Fi) genre with gusto. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it!”
Cli-Fi is a literary phenomenon that seeks to help us imagine the impacts of climate change through speculative and literary fiction. Often dystopian in tone, these imagined worlds serve as a warning to readers of the danger of business as usual. But utopian visions exist too, perhaps more usefully imagining future worlds in which we use our ingenuity to adapt to troubled times. In complex times we can look to these works as a source of hope and inspiration.
(Oryx and Crake; The Year of the Flood; MaddAddam)
"Ok, so these are three books instead of one... but I love Atwood’s dystopian trilogy! Tackling a post-apocalyptic scenario in which a toxic combination of narcissism and technology have led to our great undoing, it is wonderfully imaginative and poses all sorts of important questions along the way."
The Drowned World by JG Ballard
"Ballard is a bit of a hero of mine and he certainly knew how to conjure up dystopian futures. This 1962 novel depicts a post-apocalyptic future in which global warming has caused the majority of the Earth to become uninhabitable. Both a thrilling adventure and a haunting examination of the effects of environmental collapse on the human mind, it is seen as a founding text in the Cli-Fi genre and in 2010, Time Magazine named it one of the top 10 best post-apocalyptic books ever written!"
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
"A wonderful story of three generations of beekeepers’ (past, present, and future) relationship to their bees, children and one another, against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis."
The Overstory by Richard Powers
"This impassioned work of activism is also a stunning evocation of the natural world and to the fact that there is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. One of the main characters is a scientist whose work on the chemical signalling that trees do via their roots is based on that of two real scientists, Diana Beresford-Kroeger and Suzanne Simard."
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
"This more utopian vision is set in a partly submerged New York which has successfully adapted to climate change, with every street a canal, every skyscraper an island. encouraging readers to consider how new communities could rise against capitalism."
Imagining both utopian and dystopian climate futures is crucial – which is why cli-fi is so important by Bernadette McBride for The Conversation
How Climate-Change Fiction, or "Cli-Fi" Forces us to Confront the Incipient Death of the Planet by Katy Waldman for The New Yorker