Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Cli-Fi and Conflict

One of the short story projects I'm working on is for a contest about climate fiction, or, as it's more commonly known, cli-fi. You can learn more about cli-fi and the contest here. (Of course, having even mentioned this project publically, I've now jinxed it. I'm sure I face long odds anyway, given the number of people who will probably enter.) Cli-fi is closely related to solarpunk in that they both imagine positive futures for humanity. I actually learned about this contest from the editor of the solarpunk anthology that my short story "A Shawl for Janice" appeared in last year.

Ironically, one problem with imagining optimistic futures is that fiction thrives on conflict. If everything is good, what is there to write about? In "A Shawl for Janice," I focused on the internal conflict my heroine felt when confronting her family's history. Some of the ideas I considered for the current story involved a Native American rewilding expert moving to a new location and experiencing interpersonal conflict with one of her coworkers or two groups with different values clashing over resources. I'm currently trying a montage approach about a woman's view of trees changing over her life, as she grows from a young girl charged with planting an acorn to someone managing trees for her community. Although the story will focus on character development, there will be a parallel story of how her community uses trees to cope with environmental issues.

Have you read any cli-fi or solarpunk stories? If so, what do you think of the genre? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Never heard of the genre.
Star Trek imagined a positive future and there was still plenty of conflict.

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