It’s what Niall mentions in his post that had me really wondering about climate change in SF, however:
As mentioned in the previous post, this week we have some discussion of writing climate change fiction; and if, as Vandana Singh says in her final comment, it is “increasingly important to write about climate change as passionately and creatively as we know how”, we might also ask: how are we doing for criticism that calls attention to and examines such writing?
A quick survey of the critical resources available to me suggests not all that well.
I wondered if there was little criticism because there simply isn’t much Science Fiction being written about the real effects of climate change in the first place? That there isn’t much to really interest Science Fiction writers?
I mean, aside from the sea levels rising, there isn’t much for Science Fiction wow-porn. Climate change is the slow, steady evil that will effect everything else in our lives. There is no instant Hollywood apocalypse. It is causing heavier rainfall in certain areas, droughts in others. It will see food prices rocket. It will see people die and suffer from disease on a wider scale than we’ve seen previously. And some of these health effects can be very subtle. There are no wars over climate change, but there are wars over the effects.
See what I mean? Not exactly the stuff that a Science Fiction writer, certainly not one interested in big concepts or ideas, can really use all that easily. Climate change is the mother of all evils, and the effects are profound; but they are subtle and complex and not easily dealt with in a novel concerned with the big idea. I’m not even sure Science Fiction is really the field that should be dealing with climate change.
Climate change is reality – it is happening right now, it was while I studied it at university, and has been for decades. Perhaps there is material for the effects of climate change being a backdrop for a novel, but shouldn’t mainstream authors be dealing with this, rather than Science Fiction authors?
I’d also say that most of these effects will be felt most shockingly in the developing world. Authors who write predominantly about the West, and Western concerns, will not likely be all that bothered.
Anyway, food for thought.