Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ongoing debate …

… ''Climate Fictions'': What Dr Amitav Ghosh from Brooklyn got wrong in his sweet but brief shout-out to the cli-fi community worldwide on page 43 of his new book.

See also: Book Review: Why don’t our writers take the climate crisis seriously? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It seems to me that by employing the phrase "climate change," all of these writers make plain that they don't understand climate to begin with. Climate is characterized by a non-linear dynamic, which is to say it is a state of continuous change, otherwise known as a chaotic system. So the only thing to do, if you don't want climate to change, is to do away with climate. But of course what is really being addressed is the hypothetical direction of the change climate may be taking. This has led to nonsense about curbing CO2, rather a difficult proposition, given that it is produced by all aerobic organisms. 
But another question has to do with why this is such an important task for the writers of fiction. Since, whether anybody likes it or not, we really can't say for sure what the climate will be like decades hence, wouldn't fiction that weighed in on the global-warming debate (which is what it seems we are really talking about), amount to propaganda? And is that the direction fiction writers want to go in? The great thing about fiction is that it is made up. If you want to write a novel set in the future, you can give it any climate you want. And if you write a really good story with really interesting characters to go along with it, I might well read and enjoy it. But I'll get my actual science and policy data elsewhere, thank you.
Oh, and if the global warming catastrophe turns out not to happen, the books that hyped it will be forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. I would also add that the very nature of fiction makes any propagandizing suspect. The writer can set up any set of circumstances to "prove" his beliefs, which will only be believed by the choir. If you need to advocate for a position, write a nonfiction book instead.