6.23.2014

Why is Climate Fiction So Controversial?

Last week two of my articles about Climate Fiction were posted on two very different e-magazines, one on Publishing Perspectives, a major stop for writers and everyone in the publishing industry, and one on Impakter, a new, fast rising culture-and-life magazine aimed at Millennials.

The article on Publishing Perspective, "Why Climate Fiction Has Gone Viral", can be seen here and the one on Impakter, "Climate Fiction, Why it Matters" is here.  

Take a look at the comments. 

Notice something surprising? Yes, both articles gave rise to a large number of comments, but this is especially remarkable on Publishing Perspectives, a magazine where comments tend to be rare, maximum one or two per article and often none.

I am amazed at what happened. You talk about a new literary genre, and people get hot under the collar and hurl insults, including strong words like "you're a moron!"

What happened? 

What's wrong with Climate Fiction, why is it so controversial? After all, it's fiction and it simply takes global warming as a feature in the novel's setting. A lot of fiction, particularly in the science fiction and fantasy genre, are set on much more astounding premises than simply global warming or the Sixth Extinction. 

Why this should disturb anyone, including the climate change deniers, is a bit of a mystery. 

Indeed, some climate fiction was famously written by a major climate change denier, Michael Crichton, who called climate activists "eco-terrorists" in his techno-thriller State of Fear. Here he is at Harvard, looking benign:

English: American author and speaker Michael C...
Michael Crichton speaking at Harvard (Photo credit: wikipedia)




So why the hullaballoo? 


The first thing to note is that the most rabid comments come from American climate deniers - practically none coming from Europeans where climate change is a generally accepted fact of life, something we must all face. 

It is really difficult to understand why America that has spawned off so many remarkable scientific breakthroughs and technical innovations should also harbor so many people determined to deny scientific evidence. Of course, America is not only home to Silicon Valley innovators and entrepreneurs, it is also home to people who cling to the past and reject current reality, like the Amish or the deniers of Darwinian evolution who want schools to teach that God created Earth four thousand years ago. 

Also, looking more closely at the comments on Publishing Perspectives (I have to say this was not the case on Impakter), one notices that a great majority, over 20 comments, came from people determined to pan climate change as a Democrat partisan hoax. The United Nations also took it in the teeth - these people seem to forget that the UN Climate Change Panel is constituted by over 2,000 scientists from all over the world, including Americans who are highly respected in their own scientific community. The Panel is too large and too technical to be the prey of political games - not even American politicians can budge them. 

Of course, I didn't respond to any of those comments. The article was about literature, NOT politics. Anyone commenting about climate fiction deserves an answer but a political discussion is out of bounds - over there as it is here, on my blog.

And that brings me to my last point. Why is anyone writing climate fiction the object of such violent attacks? Methinks the lady protests too much. Do climate deniers fear that they are actually on the losing end of the argument?

Only time will tell, but time is running out... 

Giorgione - The Tempest - one of my favorite painters...I feel like that bird on the roof...

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