Literary Hub has published a new article by Matthew Schneider-Mayerson that considers the potential of climate fiction to both reflect and shape our realities on a rapidly changing planet
Entitled “Does Climate Fiction Make A Difference?,” the article argues that climate fiction does in fact have an influence on readers’ understanding of climate change, offering results from several empirical reception studies as evidence. Such evidence also shows that the effects tend to be short-lived, which is why Schneider-Mayerson makes the case for a constant flow of climate narratives in different genres, media, and cultural contexts and calls for more empirical research in the field.
During a period of global conflict and rising fascism, Bertolt Brecht (allegedly) asserted that “art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” In the case of contemporary climate fiction it is surely both. But a hammer is not a magic wand. While authors, critics, and scholars have frequently acclaimed the boundless potential of climate fiction—crediting it with everything from “saving the world” to “delivering climate justice”—it’s worth asking if these assertions are backed up by the available evidence. If climate fiction can accomplish so much, can it also backfire? How can authors, filmmakers, and other cultural workers craft narratives that are more likely to lead to climate justice, instead of delay, despair, or ecofascism?
Continue reading at Lit Hub.