© 2016

Climate Change Fictions

Representations of Global Warming in American Literature


Part of the Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment book series (LCE)

About this book


This book highlights the importance of the cultural sphere, and in particular literature, in response and discussion with the unprecedented phenomenon known as climate change. Antonia Mehnert turns to a set of contemporary American works of fiction, reading them as a unique response to the challenges of representing climate change. She draws on “climate change fiction”— texts dealing explicitly with anthropogenic climate change—and explores how these works convey climate change, deal with its challenging characteristics, and with what narrative techniques they ultimately participate in its communication. Indeed, a number of challenging traits make climate change a difficult issue to engage with including its slow and long temporal dimension, global scale, scientific controversy, and its disconnect between cause and effect. Considering such complexity and uncertainty at the source of climate change fictions, this book moves beyond a solely ecocritical analysis and shows how these climate change fictions constitute an insightful cultural repertoire valuable for discussion in the environmental humanities in general.


Global Warming Climate Change Literature Environment anthropogenic

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.MunichGermany

About the authors

Antonia Mehnert currently works in environmental communication and consulting for a Munich-based environmental project agency. She received her PhD from the Rachel Carson Center and the American Studies Department at the University of Munich, Germany. Her research interests include ecocriticism and climate change, Chicana/o studies, and the postcolonial Caribbean. She has published various articles on climate change fiction in academic, as well as non-academic journals, and is the co-founder of EASLCE’s postgraduate forum “Environment, Literature, Culture” (ELC). 

Bibliographic information


“A vital contribution to the discussion of the Anthropocene within the environmental humanities, this timely study takes seriously both the cultural phenomenon and material reality of climate change. It offers a lucid and compelling guide to the booming genre of ‘cli-fi’ as well as presenting more just and resilient futures for the planet. Climate Change Fictions is indispensable reading for scholars and students in ecocriticism and environmental studies.” (Janet Fiskio, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Comparative American Studies, Oberlin College, USA)

“Climate fiction is set to become a signature genre of the 21st century, and this new study explains its social significance with refreshing clarity. Writing at the cutting edge of a field in which theorists have sometimes pushed the boundaries of comprehensibility with fashionable abstractions, Mehnert wears her erudition lightly, arguing from palpable concern for the future, and with persuasive conviction in the power of creative writing to raise awareness and shape debates. This is literary criticism at its best: intellectually exciting in charting the part played by narratives and images in framing environmental discourse, and insightful in the close readings of American novels selected for their re-imagination of space, time, risk, and environmental justice. As Mehnert eloquently argues, speculative fiction is indispensable as a realm in which we can imagine ourselves as part of a planetary system of belonging.” (Axel Goodbody, Professor of German Studies and European Culture, University of Bath, UK)