A Short Pre-History of Climate Fiction

Andrew John Milner, James Richard Burgmann Milner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The paper argues that contemporary climate fiction is a subgenre of sf rather than a distinct and separate genre for two main reasons: first, because its texts and practitioners relate primarily to the sf “selective tradition”; and, second, because its texts and practitioners articulate a “structure of feeling” that accords centrality to science and technology, in this case normally climate science. Not only is “cli-fi” best understood as sf, it also has a much longer history than is commonly allowed, one that arguably stretches back to antiquity. The paper distinguishes between texts in which extreme climate change is represented as anthropogenic and those where it is represented as theogenic, geogenic, or xenogenic; it also provides a brief sketch of the (pre-)history of stories of anthropogenic, xenogenic, and geogenic extreme climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018

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