For short

In the NYT on the 10th, an op-ed piece by Jason Mark, “Climate Fiction Fantasy: What ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Snowpiercer’ Got Wrong”, with the observation that

end-of-the-world scenarios appear so regularly in books and films that they are now their own mini-genre — cli-fi.

Note the playful abbreviation cli-fi ‘climate fiction’ (parallel to the much older sci-fi ‘science fiction’), which was new to me but has apparently been around since 2008 or so.

(More recently, fiction has been abbreviated as fic rather than fi, in fan-fic and slash-fic: fic is the straightforward clipping, and there’s no rhyming motivation for fi, as there is in sci-fi and cli-fi.)

More from Mark:

Cli-fi literature includes Margaret Atwood’s dark MaddAddam trilogy, Nathaniel Rich’s “Odds Against Tomorrow” and Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” which closes with New Yorkers flocking to the top of a giant sea wall, one of the few spots in the city where you can still glimpse a proper sunset.

In this time of global warming, cli-fi made an early splash with “Waterworld,” Kevin Costner’s campy 1995 vision of a future where the polar icecaps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged. It took almost a decade for the next major cli-fi blockbuster to arrive: Roland Emmerich’s storm-porn extravaganza, “The Day After Tomorrow.”

The Wikipedia page traces cli-fi back to a 2008 blog posting by Danny / Dan Bloom and notes that “The term was also used separately and independently of Bloom’s usage in two movie reviews in 2009 and 2010 by Wired reporter Scott Thill.” But of course the abbreviation is a natural, once you have the compound climate fiction for ‘climate change fiction’.

(Meanwhile, there’s also eco-fiction — as in the site “Eco-fiction: Climate change and eco-themes in literature and the arts” — but so far eco-fic doesn’t seem to have caught on.)

(And climate for climate change yields the semantically non-transparent climate fiction and the even more superficially baffling climate denial for climate change denial.)

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