Reading the Hot New Genre of Cli-Fi

Rebecca Hayes

October 04, 2019

By Rebecca Hayes

Categories: Collections, Staff Picks

Short for Climate Change Fiction, cli-fi might be a relatively new term (and a play on sci-fi), but it describes a kind of story humanity has been grappling with for decades.

It’s a genre of literature that focuses on the past, present, and future effects of climate change on society. Far from being just a subset of science fiction, cli-fi encompasses any and all literature that examines the impact of man-made global warming.

Cli-Fi selections

The term was first coined by journalist and environmentalist Dan Bloom of in the early 2000s but has recently gained in popularity after being endorsed by Margaret Atwood. As a body of literature, cli-fi has been covered by The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and many other outlets. The Chicago Review of Books even dedicates a monthly column called Burning Worlds to cli-fi book reviews and author interviews.

Popular cli-fi titles include Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, and Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer—all of which you can get in print, ebook, or eaudiobook at the Library.

Check out our new Recommendation for Adults page for a selection of cli-fi titles to try, along with other reading lists and resources.

Rebecca Hayes is the Readers Services Librarian at the Morton Grove Public Library.