What is Eco-Fiction? First, it is important to remember that it is fiction. It is an author's speculation about how the world could be, or how human lives could be if circumstances were different. It is not a factual work, and it isn't intended to be.
Reading a fictional account of something frees up a space in the reader's mind and allows the reader to keep what is currently happening in the world away from the forefront of their minds, if only while the reader's focus is on the work of fiction. This temporary freedom of concern for reality results in a place (in our minds) where we can speculate about a variety of things, without worrying about preparing an arsenal of facts for a real-life debate on the topic. We can simply set that debate aside, however briefly, while we enjoy the fiction as it unfolds.
But back to the original question - what is Eco-Fiction? The "eco-" prefix points to the word "ecology." Similar to "Climate Fiction" ("Cli-Fi" for short, modeled after the term "sci-fi"), "Eco-Fiction" is often considered a subgenre of "Science Fiction," but a story doesn't necessarily have to be Science Fiction to have an ecological theme.
People have written fiction about climate for a very long time - almost since people began writing fiction. But the term "Climate Fiction" was only recently invented, in the early 21st century, by a journalist named Dan Bloom, opens a new window. According to Bloom, "Cli-Fi" is any fictional work written about the effects of climate change and global warming. Is "Cli-Fi" all that different from "Eco-Fiction?"
The subgenre "Eco-Fiction, opens a new window" emerged in the 1960's and '70's. According to Mike Vasey, opens a new window, it consists of, "stories set in fictional landscapes that capture the essence of natural ecosystems . . . [They] can build around human relationships to these ecosystems or leave out humans altogether. The story itself, however, takes the reader into the natural world and brings it alive . . . Ideally, the landscape and ecosystems - whether fantasy or real - should be as ‘realistic’ as possible and plot constraints should accord with ecological principles.”
From these definitions, we can see that Cli-Fi and Eco-Fiction are often overlapping subgenres.
To find a work of Eco-Fiction or Cli-Fi from St. Tammany Parish Library, please take a look at this list we have compiled: