From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/oct/18/climate-change-fiction
It’s the most urgent problem of our era, but novelists appear singularly reluctant to address it
Posted by Daniel Kramb
Thursday 18 October 2012
“Guys, the ice caps are melting now,” wrote Chris Ross in the Guardian Review last year. “Where are those stories?”
The review’s subject was a collection of short stories, I’m With the Bears, all on the issue of climate change. It featured good writing – from the likes of Margaret Atwood and Lydia Millet – but, as Ross put it, “much of this material seems to have been lifted from the wastebasket.” Why was no one writing fresh fiction about it?
One year on, the question still stands. “In spite of the stakes,” said Andrew Simms on the Guardian’s environment blog the other day, “the issue has receded from the political frontline like a wave shrinking down a beach.” It seems that the wave never quite reached our beach – the beach of fiction writing – in the first place.
Sure, there was Solar. Ian McEwan‘s 2010 satire of a balding, overweight scientist with marriage problems explicitly focused on “the most pressing and complex problem of our time”. That’s the one everyone could probably mention. But after that? There was mainly silence (if you leave aside poetry, where much more seems to be going on, most notably, perhaps, Tom Chivers’ ADRIFT project).
There’s apocalyptic fiction, of course, and you could, I suppose, connect a novel such as Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood to climate change. But is this type of literature really concerned with the issue, or does a vaguely related scenario merely serve as a purpose for other themes and situations? (Also, as environmentalists are increasingly keen to point out, climate change isn’t really about the end of the world at all; it’s about living conditions becoming harder and harder as we go along.)
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/oct/18/climate-change-fiction