Cli-fi scene

For some people, reading and writing fiction can be a way of escaping from the world they live in. But creative writing Professor Malik Toms says that fiction can also be a way of grappling with hard realities – like climate change.

This December at Arizona State University, Toms is teaching a new two-week course about climate fiction, or cli-fi. Students will read stories about worlds transformed by climate change, and write their own.

Toms says cli-fi can provide a way for students to think about how climate change is affecting their lives.

Toms: “For some, it is a sort of response to seeing how society, their neighborhoods and the world has really changed around them as they’re growing up. Think about here in Arizona, you know, we deal with heat, extreme heat and dust storms, and strangely enough flooding is just a way of life here.”

He says writing stories can help students imagine solutions to this global problem.

Toms: “Stories are incubators. They’re a place that we can test and grow ideas. I believe that. I believe that we are what we imagine, and when it comes to cli-fi, we are imagining what could be.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...