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NPR Arts & Life

These Cli-Fi Classics Are Cautionary Tales For Today

As yet another record-breaking summer heats up, the effects of climate change — and the debates surrounding it — aren't going away. It only makes sense then that literature has continued to respond in kind. Authors as varied as Paolo Bacigalupi, Jenni Fagan and Ben Lerner, in their novels The Water Knife, The Sunlight Pilgrims and 10:04, have tackled just how devastating climate change in the 21st century might be. Their variations on climate fiction, or cli-fi, have become even more resonant as megastorms get stronger, ice caps melt and politicians drag their feet. Climate change, however, is not a new thing, and science fiction authors have been exploring the impact of weather-gone-wild for decades. Here are a few proto-cli-fi novels from years past that ring eerily cautionary today.

Jason Heller is a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the new bookStrange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded. He's on Twitter: @jason_m_heller.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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