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Climate fiction : changement climatique et littérature

En science-fiction et dans les romans en général, un nouveau genre commence à se faire connaitre : la climate (change) fiction, ou cli-fi pour les intimes.

Il s’agit de traiter des différents scénarios du changement climatique dans des fictions, anticipation, mondes post-apocalyptiques, dystopies, ou autres récits de survivants.

climate fiction lavaMontée du niveau des eaux, sécheresses extrêmes, repli derrière des murs, tous les aspects des différents scénarios du GIEC sont exploités, ainsi que certains des éléments les plus préoccupants des avancées scientifiques : mutations génétiques, géo-ingénierie, et autres crises sanitaires.

Cet article recense ci-dessous quelques références pour aborder le thème : publications dans la presse et romans. Pour ces derniers, cliquer sur le titre vous enverra vers le site marchand d’amazon (liens affilés). De nombreux textes ne sont encore disponibles qu’en anglais, n’ayant pas encore fait l’objet de traduction.

Un site internet dédié (plusieurs langues) :

Éléments de revue de presse sur le sujet :

À la radio, en réécoute :

Quelques livres entrant dans cette catégorie :

En français :

  • La Fille automate de Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Un monde frappé par une pénurie des ressources pétrolières et une montée des niveaux des océans due au réchauffement climatique.
  • 40 signes de pluie de Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Water knife de Paolo Bacigalupi
    • Dans un contexte de sécheresse apocalyptique liée aux activités humaines, la lutte qui oppose les États du Sud-Ouest américain pour l’accès à l’eau de la rivière Colorado. Sous le soleil écrasant du désert de l’Arizona, la population de Phoenix en est réduite à boire de son urine recyclée. Les personnes les plus fortunées survivent quant à elles confortablement sous des dômes recréant artificiellement des écosystèmes paradisiaques.
  • Les Sables de l’Amargosa, de Claire Vaye Watkins
    • Un couple californien tente de survivre à la sécheresse en se ralliant aux adeptes d’un gourou sourcier et manipulateur.
  • Terre Lointaine de Pierre-Yves Touzot
    • Débute sur l’éveil d’un personnage ne connaissant ni son identité, ni son passé, dans un environnement peuplé de créatures étranges et familières à la fois, dans lequel il tentera de survivre et de comprendre ce qui s’est passé durant son sommeil.

En anglais

  • New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
    • A rise in sea levels has left Manhattan underwater, transformed into an archipelago of skyscrapers connected by waterways and bridges. Much of lower Manhattan is uninhabitable, with ever taller buildings being constructed where elevation is higher. A market trader finds new way to deal; a detective is never out of work; an internet star keeps entertaining fans; and a group of coders on the roof disappear, triggering a series of events that will shake the city to its core.
  • Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
    • Named after three major factors that have compelled hordes of people to move to California. Decades of unrelenting drought have left California bone dry. With no vegetation to hold it in place, dirt is swept into the wind, forming a massive sand dune that takes over the Mojave Desert. Most « Mojavs » have been evacuated to to internment camps — but not Luz and Ray. Tucked away in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon, the couple hide out in an abandoned mansion and bide their time drinking rationed cola and scavenging what little they can find nearby. But when a chance encounter with a child makes them yearn for something more, Luz and Ray embark on a dangerous journey east in hope of discovering a better life
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
    • Snowman might be the last human being alive. Struggling to survive in the aftermath of a worldwide plague, he begins a journey through the wilderness that was once a city, mourning the loss of his best friend, and surrounded by a new breed of humans — the remnants of corporate-run genetic engineering gone awry.
  • Tentacle by Rita Indiana
    • In a post-apocalyptic Santo Domingo, a young humble maid named Acilde Figueroa discovers she’s able to travel back in time — and that a prophecy calls for her to do so and save the world by saving the ocean. With the help of a sacred anemone, she sets off on a mission that tackles issues of climate change, technology, queerness, colonialism, and Acilde’s own gender identity.
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers (prix Pulitzer 2019)
    • A group of seeming strangers who’ve each been deeply affected by a tree at some point in their life, and who are drawn eventually to the same place, a final stand for the last acres of virgin forest in the world.
  • The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
    • A drought-stricken dystopia in the American West : The Colorado River is dwindling and the people of the American Southwest are in constant fight over water shares. Angel Velasquez is known as a « water knife » — a for-hire hitman who cuts off the water supply to impoverished communities and directs it instead to wealthy clients trying to maintain their luxurious lifestyles.
  • The Completionist by Siobhan Adcock
    • All across America, people struggle with infertility issues. That is why a miraculously pregnant Fredricka has asked her brother Carter to look for their missing sister, Gardner. His search leads him to dangerous underground world he never really understood, and deep into their family’s past where he uncovers a painful truth he’s never been able to face.
  • The Floating World by  C. Morgan Babst
    • As the storm is fast approaching the Louisiana coast, Cora refuses to leave the city. Her parents, Joe, an artist descended from freed slaves who became the city’s preeminent furniture makers, and his white “Uptown” wife, are forced to evacuate without her, setting off a chain of events that leaves their marriage in shambles and Cora catatonic.
  • The Wall by John Lanchester
    • An island nation has built a gigantic concrete wall around its entire coastline in an effort to keep the Others out. Joseph, a new Defender, is tasked with protecting his section of the Wall from those trapped on the other side, where seas are rising and resources are dwindling. Failure means becoming an Other himself, but a part of Joseph can’t help but wonder: What would he do if he really did have to fight for his life?
  • American War by Omar El Akkad
    • In this compelling dystopian, the second American Civil War has broken out over the use of fossil fuels and the increasingly deadly effects of climate change. The book’s protagonist Sarat was only six when the war started, and her entire life — including her father’s death and her family’s displacement — has been shaped by the never-ending conflict. It isn’t until she is befriended by a mysterious functionary and becomes an instrument of war herself that Sarat realizes her actions, and her choices, can shape the conflict.
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
    • Global climate change and economic crises have created chaos across the nation. Outside, people will do anything it takes for a sip of water or a bit of shelter, but inside her gated community, 15-year-old Lauren Olamina is safe from the violence and her own debilitating hyperempathy. That is, until she decides to speak out and fight back against the disaster she knows is creeping right outside her door.
  • Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
    • In this survival story, California’s deadly drought forces one young teen to make life or death decisions in order to stay alive. When the tap runs dry and her neighborhood becomes a warzone for water, Alyssa realizes she will do anything to keep her family safe.
  • Age of Blight by Kristine Ong Muslim, illustrated by Alessandra Hogan
    • A haunting future world ravaged by humanity’s mistakes and missteps.
  • Clade by James Bradley
    • In an apocalyptic future, the destruction of the planet seen through the eyes of one family over the course of three generations — beginning with one couple, and a scientist overwhelmed by his frustration over the fact that no one seems to understand the changing climate as the threat that it is.
  • Memory of water by Emmi Itäranta
    • Earth’s landscape — geographic and political — has shifted irrevocably because of climate change, and much of the world is in the midst of water wars. Scandinavia is occupied by a state called New Qian; here, 17-year-old Noria Kaitio is following in the footsteps of her greatly respected father and training to be a tea master. The role comes with much responsibility, including knowledge of the locations of secret water sources — knowledge that quickly puts Noria’s life at risk.
  • Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh
    • A rare book dealer reluctantly sets off on an Indiana Jones-esque trip to a temple in the Sundarbans, seeking clues to an ancient Bengali legend. That visit thrusts him into an adventure that connects him with Bangladeshi migrants in Libya, dolphins in the Mediterranean and venomous water snakes in California, while touching on migration, xenophobia and technology.
  • Flight behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Blood Red Road by Moira Young
    The gritty story of Saba, a fierce young fighter who has set out on an epic journey to find her kidnapped brother, Lugh. Saba has to navigate through a wasted world swirling with dust storms, full of landfills, and baked by heat—but she has the help of a few friends. There’s the roguelike Jack; her sister Emmi, whom Saba dislikes; and the Free Hawks, a group of female warriors who love to hate on the governing authorities. The dystopia Saba has inherited is a world left by people called “The Wreckers” who are now extinct, their civilization long gone. The Wreckers could very well be us.
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
    • Three middle-school children are trying to save an endangered species of owl from an all-American pancake house called Mother Paula’s.  Mass extinction lurk in the background, making clear that our fates are inextricably linked to the flora and fauna around us. How will Roy, Mullet, and Beatrice take on the cops, corporate thugs, and construction crews that are threatening the owls? It’s not just Florida wildlife versus a pancake restaurant but the entire planet versus fossil fuels.

  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
    • “The weather finally broke . . . for good.” And so it has. An asteroid has hit the moon, bringing it closer to Earth and unleashing a wave of natural disasters. The point is not whether this could happen but that freak events are possible, and this book is a glimpse into what could happen when they do. Told in diary entries, the book begins as the complaints of a self-absorbed and precocious teenager and mellows to a woman realizing the harshness of a world in climate winter. Will Miranda find a way out?

  • The Fog Diver by Joel Ross
    The world is covered by a fog in which humans can’t survive, making them move to the highest elevation possible. A group of ragtag orphans operate an air-raft that lets the hero, Chess, dive down into the mists to scavenge for treasures they can trade for supplies. Born in the fog, Chess is the only one immune to the sickness it, and he has special sight that allows him to see in the fog. But his special abilities make him a wanted man in the eyes of Lord Kodoc, ruler of slums and all-around evil guy, who is hunting him. The Fog Diver is fast-paced and exciting. Through the fog shine a few important parables: that we are the problem that caused the abysmal fog; that nature can thrive if left alone; and that this is the time to let tenacious young kids lead the way.
  • The Emissary by Yoko Tawada
    • Born in a country that is isolated and off-kilter, the children living in The Emissary are condemned to short, miserable lives. Japan has suffered some kind of trauma that has left it closed off from the rest of the world; its children are born frail and don’t make it to adulthood, while the adults keep on living. In this awry world, both sinister and funny, we are introduced to the infant Mumei and his great-grandfather, Yoshiro.

      But what will happen when Mumei is chosen as an emissary to tell the outside world what is happening? Will he make the journey? How will the world react to him?

  • The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch
    • The Highest Tide traces a summer in the life of Miles, a Rachel Carson–worshipping, too-short-for-his-age boy who is deeply fascinated by the ocean and the multitudes of life in it. When Miles finds strange sea creatures (a giant squid, a ragfish) washing up at a Puget Sound beach, he is mistaken for a prophet and made into a sensation by the local media. During an interview, Miles portentously tells a reporter, “Maybe the earth is trying to tell us something. »

  • Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
    • Midnight at the Electric begins in 2065, in Miami, where 16-year-old Adri has spent her whole life watching as the waters rise higher and higher through the city. This is the lost world being left behind, and Adri has been chosen as one of the few colonists to eke out a new future for humanity on Mars. But before she goes to outer space, her life will be linked to two people who lived generations before her: Catherine and Leonore. Through the letters that Catherine and Leonore wrote to each other, Adri will find a past she never knew she had and an unexpected family among two long-dead women.

  • Orleans by Sherri Smith
    • There is only so much devastation a place can take before it succumbs. The Gulf Coast in Orleans is that place. Hurricane after hurricane has blasted away the land and its people. After the storms comes the Delta Fever, an epidemic not unlike the Spanish Influenza: deadly, with no known cure. After the fever comes the quarantine, and the United States separates from the Delta States. What the residents of the Outer States don’t realize is that people still survive, in primitive colonies, in the Delta. They just have to not mix blood types (A-positive and O-negative are segregated) to keep the fever at bay. “You know, there used to be music here all the time . . . jazz and blues, zydeco. The kind of songs that made your heart sing,” an illegal mover of good between the two places says wistfully. “Not anymore,” replies 15-year-old Fen, an O-positive blood tribe member who is living in the quarantined region. Soon, she will be on the run from blood farmers with her friend’s newborn, trying to give the baby a new life on the outside.

  • South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby
    • Cooper Gosling has earned the dubious honor of winning a National Science Foundation grant for the Antarctic Artists & Writers Program and is now living with the oddball personnel that populate a place where it is -54°F and the sun doesn’t shine for half the year.  South Pole Station is rife with workplace drama, as only this kind of atmosphere can bes. It is also filled with scientific detail that gives the reader a sense of what is happening without being, well, boring. At times, it is eerily like real life, with the federal government of South Pole Station biased against scientific findings and the arrival of a scientist who claims climate change is a hoax.

  • Blackfish City by Sam J Miller
    • Humans have fled the flooded and burned-up world of climate chaos and used their technological prowess to build a floating city called Qaanaaq in the Arctic Ocean. The energy is renewable, the heating is geothermal, and everywhere you look there is a feat of engineering. Yet society remains unchanged. If the people who left the world behind continue to make the same choices in Qaanaaq, how long before it crumbles too? Crime is on the rise, corruption is unabated, the rich stay rich and the poor remain poor. In the midst of this arrives a mysterious woman, Masaaraq, regarded as a messiah by some and an enemy by others.