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Climate fictions

Fictions climatiques

ReS Futurae journal, no.21

dossier n° 21 de la revue « ReS Futurae »

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Published on Monday, September 20, 2021


Cet appel à communication s’inscrit dans la continuité du colloque international du programme PARVIS de l’I-SITE FUTURE « La ville dans les fictions climatiques » qui s’est tenu en mai 2021, consacré aux imaginaires urbains futuristes. Ce numéro de la revue ReS Futurae propose d’étudier les fictions climatiques, genre plurimédiatique émergent, récemment abordé par les études science-fictionnelles, notamment dans l’ouvrage Science Fiction and Climate Change : A Sociological Approach d’Andrew Milner et J.R. Burgmann (2020), ainsi que dans le n° 136 de ScieFiction Studies (novembre 2018).



This call for papers follows the international colloquium of the PARVIS [1] programme « The city in climate fictions » organised by the I-SITE FUTURE.

Held in May 2021, it discussed futuristic urban imaginaries.

This issue of ReS Futurae offers to study climate fiction, an emerging multi-media genre, recently examined by science fiction studies, notably in the book Science Fiction and Climate Change: A Sociological Approach by Andrew Milner and J.R. Burgmann (2020) as well as in the 136th issue of Science Fiction Studies (November 2018)[2].

Climate fiction: the name of this genre, which first appeared in English (“climate fiction”, abbreviated cli-fi, modelled on the phrase sci-fi as invented by the journalist Dan Bloom in 2007), refers to a vast set of stories involving a direct or indirect consideration of the “new climate regime” (Latour, 2015). Once simply their backdrop, climate has become a trigger in their diegesis, or their main theme. Works of climate fiction range from post-apocalyptic fiction to disaster novels, from scientific thrillers to hard science fiction; but there are also thrillers, noir fiction, romance, young adult literature, and “general literature” (Langlet, 2020). Today scholarship focuses on the origins of the phenomenon, or at least attempts to identify works that may be recategorised as climate fiction. Three pioneering novels fictionalize anthropogenic climate change: Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven (1971); Arthur Herzog’s Heat (1977) and George Turner’s The Sea and Summer (1987) (Goodbody and Adeline Johns-Putra, 2019; Andersen, 2020; Milner and Burgmann, 2020).

Some studies are committed to rereading works which predate the major scientific reports on climate change (The Limits to Growth, otherwise known as “the Meadows Report” (1970), or the first evaluation report of the IPPCC (1990)) as works making up the archive of contemporary cli-fi imaginaries. These works, such as John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) (Perrin, 2020) with respect to English-speaking cli-fi and Jules Verne’s works with respect to French cli-fi, constitute a proto-cli-fi. The nineties would see the genre firm up and then grow exponentially in the first two decades of the twenty-first century.

Topic proposals

The aim here is to explore different aspects of this protean object, hitherto little studied by French research, particularly its links with science fiction:

Climate fiction as a literary genre: the phrase climate fiction exists in competition with numerous taxonomic substitutes, such as « climate science fiction », « Anthropocene fiction », « climate change fiction », « ecofiction », the genericity of which should be clarified. We will try to clarify whether climate fiction forms a vast and powerful super-genre of « crisis fiction », an autonomous genre, a sub-genre of science fiction, a meta-genre or – another hypothesis – a trans-generic category. How does weighing up these different options shed light on the way contemporary media genericity functions and even renew the way genre is thought ?

The relationship to science fiction: this axis aims on the one hand to study the relationship between cli-fi and sci-fi, and on the other hand how sci-fi studies have contributed to the analysis of these works. Particular attention will be given to the specificities of cli-fi poetics in relation to SF poetics. For instance, we can focus on lexical alterities. More broadly, do the characteristics of SF appear in cli-fi? Is there a cognitive estrangement to be found in climate fictions? What are its triggers and internal regulations? How does giving a literary existence to climate influence the narrative, the vocabulary, the use and location of descriptions within the text?

The relationship to science: we invite you to reflect on the forms through which climate fiction partakes in scientific culture in its narratives, especially with respect to climate science. The focus should be more particularly put on examining and comparing science fiction and climate fiction in their relationship between science and fiction. Is there a hard cli-fi? This would involve putting into perspective the ways in which the scientific discourse on the Anthropocene is integrated from a stylistic point of view. Along the same lines, particular attention could be given to the « effects of science » in these stories, the list of which could be made, especially in relation to climatology. Climate should at last come into consideration: where does the very idea of climate end? How can one give a literary existence to something as complex, polymorphic, systemic and out of scale as “climate”? Similarly, a parallel could be drawn between the history of science (or that of discourses on science) and the literary history of cli-fi.

A literary history of cli-fi: a media genealogy and mediatised genealogy of the genre has been elaborated in the last ten years. It has been built by academics and their works, from Adam Trexler’s Anthropocene Fictions: The Novel in a Time of Climate Change (2015) to Claire Perrin’s thesis “Drought and Climate Change in American Novels from John Steinbeck to Cli-Fi” (2020), as well as by its consumers.

However, this genealogy is a matter of debate. It is necessary to strengthen the history written on the imagining of climate. When was the genre born? Some titles do stand out: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Jules Verne’s The Purchase of the North Pole, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, J.G. Ballard’s Apocalyptic Quadrilogy, etc. What are the corpuses and what are the methodologies used to identify them? What about the meta-narrative which the history of cli-fi, still in the making, is becoming ?

A literary field in formation: we wish to initiate a cartography of the genre and its contributors. Who are the authors of climate fiction: scientists, scholars, climate activists? In which publishing companies and in which collections are these works published? What is the

place of self-publishing? We could also think about the reception of climate fiction by taking up the work on reception outlined by Matthew Schneider-Mayerson in his article « The Influence of Climate Fiction: An Empirical Survey of Readers » (2018); by examining the practices of climate fiction readers and by looking at how they can be compared with the practices, uses and sociabilities of science fiction fans. Are science fiction fans and climate fiction fans the same?

Media horizons: although the focus of this issue is literature, any proposal linking the study of any literary corpus with an analyis of cinematographic, graphic or artistic works is welcome.

The aim is to examine this multi-media phenomenon under construction.

Submission guidelines

Proposals for contributions (approx. 250 words abstracts), accompanied by a brief bio-bibliography, must be submitted for October 15th, 2021 at the latest.

After a first selection, a first draft of the articles will be due on May 15th, 2022, feedback from the scientific committee will be received at the end of November 2021 at the latest ; the issue is scheduled for publication as the 21st issue in the second half of 2023.

Authors are invited to consult the instructions to authors (consignes aux auteurs).

The articles may be based on any critical approach and concern any cultural and/or linguistic area. Articles should be written in French or English and should be between 25,000 and 30,000 characters long.

Direction and coordination

For further information or proposals outside the scope of the call, please contact the director of the issue (nadege.perelle@univ-eiffel.fr).


Fiction (liste indicative)

  • Andrevon Jean-Pierre, Retour à la Terre (3 vol.), Paris : Denoël, 1975-1977.
  • Atwood Margaret, Le Dernier Homme (Oryx And Crake, 2003), traduit de l’anglais par Michèle Alabaret-Maatsch, Paris : Robert Laffont, 2005.
  • Atwood Margaret, Le Temps du déluge (The Year of the Flood, 2009), traduit de l’anglais par Jean-Daniel Brèque, Paris : Robert Laffont, 2009.
  • Atwood Margaret, MaddAddam (2013), traduit de l’anglais par Patrick Dusoulier, Paris : Robert Laffont, 2014.
  • Bacigalupi Paolo, Ferrailleurs des mers (Ship Breaker, 2010), traduit de l’anglais par Sara Doke, Paris : J’ai Lu, coll. « Science- Fiction », 2018.
  • Bacigalupi Paolo, La Fille automate (The Windup Girl, 2009), traduit de l’anglais par Sara Doke, Paris : J’ai Lu, coll. « Science- Fiction », 2013.
  • Bacigalupi Paolo, Water Knife (The Water Knife, 2015), traduit de l’anglais par Sara Doke, Paris : J’ai Lu, coll. « Science-Fiction », 2018.
  • Ballard James Graham, The Wind from Nowhere, London, Berkley, 1962.
  • Ballard James Graham, The Drowned World, London, Berkley, 1962.
  • Ballard James Graham, The Burning World, London, Berkley, 1964.
  • Ballard James Graham, The Crystal World, London, Berkley, 1966.
  • Baqué Joël, La Fonte des glaces, Paris : P.O.L., 2017.
  • Barnes John, La Mère des tempêtes (Mother of Storms, 1994), traduit de l’anglais américain par Jean-Daniel Brèque, Paris : Robert Laffont, 1998.
  • Butler Octavia, La Parabole du semeur (Parable of the Sower, 1993), traduit de l’anglais par Philippe Rouard, La Laune : Au Diable Vauvert, 2001.
  • Christopher John, Terre brûlée (No Blade of Grass/ The Death of Grass, 1956), traduit de l’anglais par Alain Dorémieux, Paris : Le Livre de Poche, coll. « SF », 1979.
  • Crichton Michael, État d’urgence (State of Fear, 2004), traduit de l’anglais par Patrick Berthon, Paris : Robert Laffont, 2005.
  • Herzog Arthur, Heat, New York : Simon and Schuster, 1976.
  • Kingsolver Barbara, Dans la lumière (Flight Behavior, 2012), traduit de l’anglais par Martine Aubert, Paris : Éditions Payot et Rivages, 2013.
  • Kingsolver Barbara, Unsheltered, Londres : Faber and Faber, 2018.
  • Legendre Nathalie, Mosa Wosa, Nantes : L’Atalante, 2015.
  • Le Guin Ursula, The Lathe of Heaven, Gollancz, 1971
  • Ligny Jean-Marc, AquaTM, Nantes : L’Atalante, 2006.
  • Ligny Jean-Marc, Exodes, Paris : Gallimard, 2012.
  • Ligny Jean-Marc, Semences, Nantes : L’Atalante, 2015.
  • Maja Lunde, Bleue (Bla, 2017), traduit du norvégien par Marina Heide, Paris : Presses de la Cité, 2019.
  • McEwan Ian, Solaire (Solar, 2010), traduit de l’anglais par France Camus-Pichon, Paris : Gallimard, 2011.
  • Rich Nathaniel, Paris sur l’avenir (Odds Against Tomorrow, 2013), traduit de l’anglais par Camille de Chevigny, Paris : Éditions du Sous-sol, 2015.
  • Robinson Kim Stanley, La Trilogie martienne (Mars Trilogy), traduit de l’anglais par Michel Demuth et Dominique Haas, Paris : Omnibus, 2012.
  • Robinson Kim Stanley, Green Earth (The Science in the Capital), Del Rey, 2015.
  • Robinson Kim Stanley, 2312 (2012), traduit de l’anglais par Thierry Arson, Arles : Actes Sud, coll. « Babel », 2019.
  • Robinson Kim Stanley, New York 2140 (2017), traduit de l’anglais par Thierry Arson, Arles : Actes Sud, 2019.
  • Silverberg Robert, Ciel brûlant de minuit (Hot Sky at Midnight, 1993), traduit de l’anglais américain par Patrick Berthon, Paris : Robert Laffont, 1995.
  • Spinrad Norman, Bleue comme une orange (Greenhouse Summer, 1999), traduit de l’anglais par Roland C. Wagner, Paris : J’ai lu, 2004.
  • Touzot Pierre-Yves, Terre lointaine, Nantes : Amalthée, 2008.
  • Turner George, The Sea and Summer, Londres : Faber and Faber, 1987.
  • Vaye Watkins Claire, Les Sables de l’Amargosa (Gold Fame Citrus, 2015), traduit de l’anglais par Sarah Gurcel, Paris : Albin Michel, 2017.
  • Wright Ronald, Chronique des jours à venir (A Scientific Romance, 1997), traduit de l’anglais par Henri Theureau, Arles : Actes Sud, 2007.

Ressources critiques (sélection)

  • Afeissa Hicham-Stéphane, « Imaginaire du dernier homme et éthique environnementale », Raison publique, n° 17, hiver 2012, p. 33-46.
  • Andersen Gregers, Climate Fiction and Cultural Analysis: A New Perspective on Life in the Anthropocene, Routledge, New York, 2019.
  • Buell Frederick, From Apocalypse to Way of Life, Londres et New York : Routledge, 2003.
  • Chelebourg Christian, Les Écofictions. Mythologies de la fin du monde, Bruxelles : Les Impressions Nouvelles, 2012.
  • Clode Danielle et Stasiak Monika, « Fictional Depictions of Climate Change », International Journal of Climate Change, vol. 5, n° 4, 2014, p. 19-29.
  • Dahlstrom Michael F., « Using Narratives and Storytelling to Communicate Science with Nonexpert Audiences », PNAS, vol. 111, septembre 2014, p. 13614-13620.
  • Deliu Ana-Maria, « The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis. Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch », Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory, vol. 3, n° 1, p. 226-231.
  • Evans Rebecca, « Fantastic Futures?: Cli-fi, Climate Justice, and Queer Futurity », Resilience: A
  • Journal of the Environmental Humanities, vol. 4, n° 2, 2017, p. 94-110.
  • Fassbinder Samuel Day, « The Literature of the Anthropocene: Four Reviews », Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, vol. 28, n° 1, mars 2017, p. 139-148.
  • Fiskio Janet, « Apocalypse and Ecotopia: Narratives in Global Climate Change Discourse », Race,
  • Gender & Class Journal, vol. 19, n° 1/2, 2012, p. 12-36.
  • Ghosh Amitav, The Great Derangement. Climate Change and the Unthinkable, Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2016.
  • Goodbody Axel et Johns-Putra Adeline, Cli-fi, A Companion, Oxford : Peter Lang, 2019.
  • Johns-Putra Adeline, « Climate Change in Literature and Literary Studies: From Cli-fi, Climate
  • Change Theater and Ecopoetry to Ecocriticism and Climate Change Criticism », WIREs Climate Change, vol. 7, 2016, p. 266-282.
  • Johns-Putra Adeline (éd.), Climate and Literature, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • Kaplan E. Ann, Climate trauma: foreseeing the future in dystopian film and fiction, New
  • Brunswick New Jersey : Rutgers University Press, 2015.
  • Lafontaine Tania, Science Fiction Theory and Ecocriticism: Environments and Nature in Eco-dystopian and Post-apocalyptic Novels, Sarrebruck, Allemagne : LAP Lambert, 2016.
  • Langlet Irène, « Cli-fi & Sci-fi. Littératures de genre et crise climatique », La Vie des idées, [en ligne], 7 juillet 2020, [consulté le 1er juillet 2021], URL : https://laviedesidees.fr/Cli-fi-Sci-fi.html
  • Latour Bruno, Face à Gaïa : huit conférences sur le nouveau régime climatique, Paris, La Découverte, 2015.
  • Mehnert Antonia, Climate Change Fictions: Representations of Global Warming in American Literature, Bâle, Suisse : Springer International Publishing, 2016.
  • Milner Andrew, et al. « Ice, fire and flood: Science fiction and the Anthropocene », Thesis Eleven,
  • 131, n° 1, 2015, p. 12-27.
  • Paik Peter Y., From Utopia to Apocalypse. Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe, Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 2010.
  • Perrin Claire, La sécheresse et le changement climatique dans les romans états-uniens de John Steinbeck à la cli-fi, thèse d’études anglophones, sous la direction de Pascale Amiot et Bénédicte
  • Meillon, université de Perpignan Via Domitia, soutenue en décembre 2020.
  • Rumpala Yannick, Hors des décombres du monde : écologie, science-fiction et éthique du futur,
  • Ceyzérieu : Champ Vallon, 2018.
  • Schneider-Mayerson Matthew, « The Influence of Climate Fiction: an Empirical Survey of Readers », Environmental Humanities, vol. 10, n° 2, 2018, p. 473-500.
  • Szabo Ellen Briana, Saving the World One Word at a Time: Writing Cli-Fi, CreateSpace : Independent Publishing, 2015.
  • Trexler Adam, Anthropocene Fictions: The Novel in a Time of Climate Change, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.


[1] Colloque Parvis : https://parvis.hypotheses.org/category/colloque

[2] Science Fiction Studies : https://www.depauw.edu/sfs/



  • Paris, France (75)


  • Friday, October 15, 2021


  • fiction climatique, science-fiction, théorie littéraire, culture médiatique


  • Nadège Pérelle
    courriel : nadege [dot] perelle [at] univ-eiffel [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Nadège Pérelle
    courriel : nadege [dot] perelle [at] univ-eiffel [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Climate fictions », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, September 20, 2021, https://calenda.org/898593

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