Teaching Climate-Themed Literary Fiction

a recap of the kickoff webinar for The 2022 Ultimate Cli-Fi Book Club course hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

AASHE’s Ultimate Cli-Fi Book Club 2022 (author photo)
A stock image that says “Awesome People Read Books”
Photo by Alejandro Barba on Unsplash

Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson

This book is a stunning example of solutions thinking and futures thinking. If you haven’t read it, I recommend my blog post, “Reflections for Teaching Ministry for the Future” and if you have, you might find helpful this “Missing TOC” which tracks the interdisciplinary threads in the 563-page novel. We also read this book last year, when it came out, and had geographer and IPCC author Diana Liverman as a guest — she’s read the book three times!

Anthem, by Noah Hawley

In September, which is Suicide Awareness Month, we will convene an important conversation about youth suicide. The weird and difficult novel, Anthem, by Noah Hawley, is about a truly terrifying youth suicide pandemic. If you didn’t know this was a climate fiction novel, just read this page:

A picture of the page 15 of the book, Anthem by Noah Hawley, which begins “The summer our children began to kill themselves was the hottest in history.”
p. 15, Anthem by Noah Hawley (author photo)
A screenshot photo of Dr. Jacob Lee, MD
Screenshot of Jacob Lee, MD at our kickoff webinar (author photo)

Fire & Water: Stories from the Anthopocene, Edited by Mary Fifield & Kristin Thiel

October’s discussion will be about short stories in this terrific climate fiction anthology. In a review for H-Net, I wrote that:

The World in Winter (1968) by John Christopher

As the kickoff webinar was coming to a close, I shared my obsession with library book sales and locally-owned used bookstores and in particular, old mass market paperbacks that are cli-fi from before cli fi was a thing. I’m sure I could research these novels online, but I prefer the musty thrill of discovery.



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