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Entry updated 22 August 2022. Tagged: Theme.

Item of Terminology coined by obvious analogy to Sci Fi and denoting speculative fiction about Climate Change (which see for this encyclopedia's main discussion of the topic). The term appeared and became fashionable outside sf circles in the early twenty-first century; journalist Dan Bloom claims that he coined it in 2007, and Margaret Atwood was an early adopter. As with the use of Counterfactual in place of Alternate History, there tends to be an associated distancing from the perceived downmarket nature or Pulp roots of Genre SF, bringing this area of speculation within the comfort zone of Mainstream Writers of SF. Hence the symptomatic newspaper headline "Don't call it 'science fiction'. Cli-fi is literary fiction." (26 April 2013 Christian Science Monitor). Despite puffs of this calibre, any assumption that the use of the term might usefully separate sheep from goats has seemed increasingly precarious. [DRL]


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