I have recently started a list on Goodreads titled “Climate Change Fiction”. It has already 19 books, including my own two contributions.
However, I made a mistake when starting that list. It should have been “Global Warming Fiction”.
I didn’t think too much about that choice. But it is wrong.
As this recent blog post at Skeptical Science explains, “Climate Change” is the term someone called Frank Luntz recommends to Republicans. He rightly claims that “Climate Change” is less frightening than “Global Warming”. Change, after all, can be for the better. President Obama run a whole campaign on “Change” (and, wow, did he ever change once in office).
“Global Warming” still is somewhat lacking in punch. “Global Meltdown” would be a more fitting term. But for the time we are stuck with choosing between these two candidates. It makes sense to choose the exact opposite of what Luntz recommends.
There is also a Wikipedia page on “Climate change in popular culture”, which has a section on literature (with eight entries right now). There is also an article “Climate change in literature“, which may however be merged with the other article, since there is a proposal to do so at the talk page up right now.
Anyway, the Wikipedia articles only list “noteworthy” books. That of course means that you won’t discover much material there that is not widely known in the first place.
The Goodreads list is more inclusive, but it has the opposite problem. There are books in that list that don’t deal with global warming as a central theme. For example, Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake” has global warming as a back story, but it mainly deals with an attempt to kill off all of humanity and replace humans with a better model. It is in the Goodreads list.
One can also always search at Amazon. This search for “novel global warming” lists 161 books right now, in chronological order of their publication (my books are both on the first page of this list right now). 🙂
While these collective efforts have their merit (I started one of them), I think there is a place for my own list as well. Here are the criteria to get on the list.
1. I need to have read the book. I won’t include anything before reading the whole novel.
2. Global warming needs to be the main point of the story. For example “The Hunger Games” would not qualify, since global warming is only a tiny part of the back story. “Oryx and Crake” also doesn’t qualify, for the same reason.
3. There is no “notability” requirement. People who want to hear only about authors they would know of anyway are already served by the Wikipedia articles mentioned above.
4. I will distinguish two major parts of the list. The first one (probably a much shorter list) will be novels that propose a solution to the global warming crisis (my books qualify). The second category are novels that just use the resulting misery as part of their world building and could be written just about the same way with some other source of misery replacing global warming.
This post will be a work in progress. I will update and expand the list from time to time. I will also link to reviews of the books on the list I have done on this blog.
Since this is my own effort, my books go on top of the list. All others are listed in alphabetic order of author name.
That said, here we go.
PART 1: Global warming fiction proposing solutions
Karl-Friedrich Lenz, Great News. My first global warming science fiction novel, published 2012. Free PDF file available here.
Karl-Friedrich Lenz, Tasneem. My second global warming science fiction novel, published 2013. Free PDF file available here.
PART 2: All other global warming fiction
Michael Crichton, State of Fear. Most harmful book in human history. My reviews and other comments: