On April 29, in honor of the People’s Climate March, I’ve decided to give away free Kindle edition copies of both of my climate fiction (cli-fi) novels!
Change is the story of an environmental activist in Southern Illinois who stumbles into a struggle between occult factions in search of solutions to the climate crisis. Goodbye Miami is the story of an American climate refugee who flees Miami in the wake of a hurricane that leaves the city permanently underwater.
These two novels explore the climate crisis in very different ways. Change takes place in a present-day or near-future setting that includes elements of contemporary fantasy or science fiction: supernatural experiences and abilities, secret societies, a world where many strange and powerful things happen that go unseen by the majority of people. Goodbye Miami, on the other hand, takes place in a setting that tries to stay as closely grounded in “real life” as possible, aside from the fact that it’s set in the future and catastrophic sea level rise has started happening even sooner than current models project.
There are also several key points that tie these two novels together. They both feature plots that place the climate crisis front and center rather than relegating it to the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world. They both feature a few major scenes set in Southern Illinois, offering a rare glimpse of the region to outsiders and an homage to the region that my fellow Southern Illinoisans hopefully appreciate. They also both feature female protagonists — strong, independent women who are defined by their commitment to action on climate change rather than their romantic relationships or any of the other character traits that define far too many one-dimensional female characters in popular fiction.
I wrote both of these novels because I feel inspired to include climate change as a central theme in the majority of my fiction. I’ve been reading sci-fi, fantasy, superhero fiction, and other speculative fiction since I was in grade school. My earliest writing projects didn’t emphasize any particular social, political, or environmental themes or messages. But once I realized that I could combine my love of speculative fiction with my love of environmental justice and climate justice, it was a life-changing experience. I knew immediately that this would now become the primary focus of my writing. I also soon realized that my writing (both fiction and nonfiction) could become my primary approach to exploring and pursuing solutions to the climate crisis.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to read more climate fiction.
When I say that I want you to read more climate fiction, I’m not saying it as a cli-fi author who wants to sell books. I’m saying it as an avid reader of fiction and a human being living in the early days of the twenty-first century. Climate change is an unprecedented global crisis that is increasingly affecting every aspect of our lives and our societies. Some will be affected much more severely than others, but none of us will remain untouched by the escalating consequences of human-caused global warming. We need to take this crisis very seriously — and we need to read more fiction that explores this crisis in ways that inform us and inspire us to take action.
Nonfiction websites like Skeptical Science, Climate Central, and Inside Climate News can help non-scientists (and scientists in other fields) to understand the scientific evidence and its social implications on an intellectual level. But fiction helps us to understand it more personally, more emotionally, more imaginatively, more viscerally than even the most dramatic nonfiction reports. The power of narrative captures our imaginations. It helps us to share in the life experiences of the characters and understand their stories in a way that abstract facts and figures can never express.
If you’ve already read my books, or if they don’t sound particularly interesting to you, then check out the works of other authors who explore similar climate-related themes. My Book Reviews section and Cli-Fi category contain detailed reviews of a variety of books with an emphasis on climate fiction, though there are some other titles in there too.
If you’re fairly new to cli-fi, I would really recommend reading an anthology — Loosed Upon the World or Everything Change. That way, you can read a wide variety of styles and approaches. As with most anthologies, you’re bound to like some and dislike others. But I really enjoyed these two particular anthologies and most of their stories.
And of course, if you haven’t read my cli-fi novels yet, I encourage you to check them out while they’re free! Change and Goodbye Miami will both be free on April 29. If you like them, please remember to rate, review, and recommend them to your friends. This feedback from readers like you is essential because it’s the primary way that most new readers learn about titles in a small and specialized genre like climate fiction.
Reading all of this climate fiction may leave you feeling a lot of intense emotions about the realities of the climate crisis. Some of the stories are quite dystopian, and it’s all too easy to fall into the mindset that the problem is too far gone and there’s nothing we can do. Rather than letting it all get you down, find ways to take concrete action in your life and your community. If you’re reading this in time, go to the People’s Climate March on April 29, whether it’s in Washington D.C. or a local sister march like the People’s Climate March of Southern Illinois. Learn about organizations in your area that are already doing something, whether it’s planting a community garden, protesting fossil fuel infrastructure, or any number of other important initiatives.
Whatever action you take will depend on the many particular details of your skills, abilities, interests, and opportunities in your area. If you’re a bookworm like I am, your best approach may be to read some of this cli-fi, read some nonfiction about the climate crisis, and then see where your inspiration leads you. Even if you think of yourself as a reader rather than a doer, you may be surprised by what you can accomplish.