Oil companies are getting so much pressure that they spend billions to show they are prioritizing the energy transition. It’s a central issue for most politicians as well—a lot is happening globally at the political level. It’s true that Cli-Fi is a growing genre, but most stories are set in a post-apocalyptic world, which is a bit like Zelensky rousing his troops by describing the devastation a Russian victory would cause. I don’t think we need to focus on what will happen if we don’t act; our stories need to empower people to see what will happen if we do act.
Yet even though I am trying to do something that is new—books that make the crisis as sexy an enemy as Voldemarte and fire people’s imagination with a Churchillian call to action—it is hard to find literary agents or publishers who are interested in climate fiction. They simply don’t exist—I invite you to google if you have any doubts.
And this is why I think that the publishing industry is lagging behind most businesses and most politicians—but even worse, it is lagging behind its own readers.
No more dystopian cli-fi, people have hard lives and they don’t want to read gloom and doom. Create gripping stories with climate heroes and villains that rouse people to think about their own behaviour. Excite readers by plugging them into the real-life tsunami of change happening globally so they get excited about being part of it. And keep publishing this new brand of rousing, utopian cli-fi. This is what I tried to do with my first YA novel, Reversing Time, and this is what I want to do with all my writing.
But the problem is, I have another book coming out in May that deviates from this purpose. To be honest, it came out more clit-fi than cli-fi. One letter makes such a difference!
This isn’t because I’m succumbing to my regrettable penchant for bodily functions. This is because A Hostage was written before my epiphany, then the publisher in Inanna died and Covid happened and five years passed.
DO NOT READ A HOSTAGE.
It’s not just that I feel it will be detrimental to the image I am trying to create as an enlightened climate writer, it’s also shit clit-fi, because I wrote it before the Me Too movement and the Buddhists.
The Me Too movement taught me how sexist I was, and the Buddhists taught me there are many different ways of having sex. Not that I had sex with any of them, but I learned a ton from their attempts-to-convince.
Of course there’s lots of sex in my cli-fi, but it’s sophisticated and contemporary. Not sexist and weird like A Hostage, when I used to fantasize about being penetrated in three orifices
all at the same time. Apparently.
DO NOT READ A HOSTAGE.
Bonus! This means you can come to the pubby launch this spring and enjoy the food and the company—anyone who has been to my launches know they’re more like parties—and you don’t even have to buy the damn book!
The sex in my current books is just as titillating, but much more equal and…polite. What, you may ask, is the connection between sex and politeness?
Why everything, I answer, with the confidence of the absolutely ignorant.
“No, no, you first. I insist.”
Tip: People talk about the emissions of the corporations as though they’re a separate entity, but who supports the corporations? We do, for the most part. Choose to buy what you need from eco-conscious stores.