Climate fiction or cli-fi is a relatively new category of fiction. Through the article, Jason Mark discusses what cli’fi’s like ‘Interstellar’, ‘Snowpiercer’, ‘Waterworld’, ‘The Day after Tomorrow’, etc. got wrong. Such filmmakers and authors believe that some humans can save themselves from the impeding disaster, or find a new planet, by promising ‘escape’. Jason Mark doesn’t believe in escaping from reality and concludes by stating that there is no Planet B and hence, these films might just be delusional.
Read an excerpt of the article written by Jason Mark :
The end is near. At least, Hollywood seems to think so. When it comes to the steady unraveling of essential earth systems — ocean health collapsing, biodiversity plummeting and, ofcourse, the fraying of the atmosphere’s stability — much of the political establishment continues to whistle past the graveyard. Filmmakers, meanwhile, are sending out an S O S: We’re doomed. Is the premise fiction? Only partly. And not in the way you may think. The most fantastical thing about some of these films isn’t their doomsday scenarios. No, the real stretch is the idea that humanity — or at least some privileged slice of it — will be able to remove itself from the disaster. The latest example is the writer-director Christopher Nolan’s epic sci-fi adventure, ‘‘Interstellar.’’ With Earth on the brink of collapse as crops wither and oxygen in the atmosphere dwindles, a team of astronauts race to distant galaxies in search of a new planet for the human race. Earth’s last survivors won’t starve, we are told. They will suffocate. Such end-of-the-world scenarios appear so regularly in books and films that they are now their own mini-genre — cli-fi. The threats are not necessarily always climate related; the impending disaster in ‘‘Interstellar’’ seems to be as much biological as atmospheric. Cli-fi literature includes Margaret Atwood’s dark MaddAddam trilogy, Nathaniel Rich’s ‘‘Odds Against Tomorrow’’ and Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘‘A Visit From the Goon Squad,’’ which closes with New Yorkers flocking to the top of a giant sea wall, one of the few spots in the city where you can still glimpse a proper sunset. In this time of global warming, cli-fi made an early splash with ‘‘Waterworld,’’ Kevin Costner’s campy 1995 vision of a future where the polar ice caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged. It took almost a decade for the next major cli-fi blockbuster to arrive: Roland Emmerich’s storm-porn extravaganza, ‘‘The Day After Tomorrow.’’ While that movie had its fair share of Hollywood cheese (there was a wolf pack chase through Midtown Manhattan), the film at least made an attempt to detail the basic science of anthropogenic climate change. The protagonist, Dennis Quaid, was a climatologist. Since then, cli-fi films have gotten grimmer. ....Read more