Cli-Fi: Science Fiction Based on Science Fact

The description of this BookFest Spring 2023 author interview begins, “Eventually technology catches up and the fantastical becomes plausible and may even become factual.” Debut author and nuclear engineer E.A. Smiroldo based her cli-fi novel, The Silent Count, on real textbook climate change science. Smolder’s thriller is about a nuclear engineer with a plan to reverse climate change…until complications arise.

If you are not familiar with cli-fi, it stands for climate fiction, a term coined by journalist Dan Bloom in 2008. The genre is speculative fiction but based on science either now or the near future. Another example of climate fiction is Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood (2009).

Prior to becoming a full-time author, I worked in the environmental law, policy, and consulting sectors, so I’m intrigued by the concept of cli-fi books and their potential to educate and warn readers of climate change issues, real or near future, through story.

Were you aware of cli-fi and have you read a cli-fi novel? What do you think of the genre?

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