He thinks the new genre could wake people up.
Climate change is important, but it's just not that fun to talk about. So some fiction writers are trying to capture people's imaginations in ways dry new reports can't quite manage. Climate fiction, or "cli-fi" is a subgenre of apocalypse-style narratives focusing on climate change. And Dan Bloom is devoting his life to spreading the genre.
"I wanted a new genre as a wake-up call, a warning flare, a PR tool," Bloom told me.
Bloom says he invented the term in 2008, and it was picked up by the New York Times and NPR in 2013. Since then, he's been blogging and contacting journalists about cli-fi books from his home in Taiwan. He also runs the Cli-Fi Report, a research tool to help academics and media folks find cli-fi books.Plus, he reaches out to authors directly. He commissioned Jim Laughter, a retired Navy guy living in Oklahoma, to write cli-fi novel "Polar City Red".
"I’d never paid much attention to climate change," Laughter told me. "But after doing quite a bit of research, I decided to give it a shot."
According to the novel's Amazon page:
In the distant future-some say the near future-North America, northern Asia and Europe will see millions of climate refugees from southern lands trekking northward, and the entire Lower 48 might be under threat from the devastating impacts of "climate chaos" -from rising sea levels to a scary scarcity of food, fuel and shelter. Polar City Red is set in an imagined Alaska in the year 2075. But it could just as well be Tokyo or Oslo or Berlin. Global warming is borderless, and so are our fears.
"His own words, his own characters, all royalties to him," Bloom said. "No money to me. The only thing I asked for was to set the story in a domed polar city in Alaska in the distant future."
Laughter was impressed by Bloom's passion.
"He’s a true environmentalist. He is also very good at promotion, and has many influential friends in publishing," Laughter said. "It was mainly his passion about climate change that convinced me to write 'Polar City Red'."
There are hundreds of cli-fi books out today. Bloom hopes they'll become a wake-up call, grabbing people's attention.
"I'm just a cheerleader egging on novelists worldwide to write cli-fi novels," Bloom said. "I'm a dreamer, 70 now, penniless, childless. Cli-fi is my child."