Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The "cli-fi" term

The "cli-fi" term

The cli-fi term is a shortening of the "climate-change fiction" term and has taken on a meaning of its own now, beyond genre. Outside its use sometimes as a nickname for climate-change fiction, it has become a buzzword that signifies a way of seeing the world we live in now, where climate change and global warming are major issues of the day worldwide. In a recent broadcast on climate issues on Minnesota Public Radio, for example, started off this way: Cli-Fi, meet reality. Call it the The Day After Tomorrow scenario. Scientists have been concerned that a freshening of seawater in the North Atlantic from increased meltwater in Greenland could cause changes to critical ocean circulation patterns that can change weather and climates. Now a new study in Nature Climate Change finds that changes in Atlantic Ocean currents are very likely already underway. The use of the cli-fi term this way -- "Cli-fi, meet reality" -- signifies how the buzzword has caught on outside the parameters of genre or academic studies. An upcoming four-part series from Reuters News Bureau in the UK, to be published the first week of April, will expain this more in depth, quoting a variety of sources working the cli-fi beat. There is no stopping the popular use of the cli-fi buzzword in popular media, no matter how much some serious scholars fight against this.


The "sci-fi" term

Forrest J Ackerman used the term sci-fi (analogous to the then-trendy "hi-fi") at UCLA in 1954. As science fiction entered popular culture, writers and fans active in the field came to associate the term with low-budget, low-tech "B-movies" and with low-quality pulp science fiction.[45][46][47] By the 1970s, critics within the field such as Terry Carr and Damon Knight were using sci-fi to distinguish hack-work from serious science fiction,[48] and around 1978, Susan Wood and others introduced the pronunciation "skiffy." Peter Nicholls writes that "SF" (or "sf") is "the preferred abbreviation within the community of sf writers and readers."[49] David Langford's monthly fanzine Ansible includes a regular section "As Others See Us" which offers numerous examples of "sci-fi" being used in a pejorative sense by people outside the genre.[50]

So even at the science fiction genre article at Wikipedia -- -- which is a long article about the origins and history of science fiction, there is one segment titled The "Sci-Fi" Term which explains the nickname of science fiction this way, see above, thus showing that it is certainly appropriate for a Wikipedia article about the climate-change fiction genre to also offer readers and scholars an brief explanation about the cli-fi term, and the Wikipedia moderators have told me to post this this way in order to tell a certain someone that she cannot own this article or control everything on the page, as much as she would like to, since nobody owns this page, nobody.

So in muich the same way, this article could very well have a segment titled The Cli-fi Term and run it this way: Severaal people began using the term cli-fi (analogous to the popular nickname "sci-fi") in the first part of the 21st Century. As climate-change fiction entered popular culture, writers and fans active in the field came to associate the term with movies and low-quality pulp climate-change fiction. By the mid-2010s, critics within the field were using cli-fi to distinguish the genre from sci-fi. As often happens when a new buzzword arises in popular culture, sometimes it will be used in a pejorative sense by people outside the genre, which is the case with cli-fi, too.

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