Cli-Fi: Canadian writers tackle climate change with science fiction short stories (Review)

Cover courtesy of Exile Editions

Anyone who prefers reading short stories or wants some light reading should try out Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change edited by Lorenzo Reading Series alumnus Bruce Meyer. A great thing about this book is that it is Canadian, so all the stories are based in familiar places like Toronto and Vancouver; some of the stories even mention New Brunswick!

Each short story focuses on a climatic change with a liberal application of science fiction. Once you start turning the pages, you feel as if you have been transported to a different place and do not want to put the book down. Meyer’s collected authors explore dystopian futures in a way that frequently can only be called nightmarish – because, while we as readers want to believe that their works of science fiction will remain fictional, some could very easily become our reality. The stories range from orangutan rehabilitation to people having to ration their water as their sources dry up due to droughts. What is truly frightening is that many of these climate changes are happening in real life right now, no science fiction needed.

My favourite short story in the collection was “The Farmer’s Almanac”. Written by Halli Villegas, the narrative focuses on two siblings staying at their summer home who realize that their parents have left them without notice, and strange events that occur afterward. I thoroughly enjoyed Villegas’s story and only wished that it was a bit longer, as it felt like there was no true ending; the reader never learns where their parents went. This story was so good that I would totally read a part two of it, wherein perhaps their parents were not the only ones who left and all kids were suddenly on their own. The story also somewhat resembles a haunted house plot, which was exciting and perfect for reading in October.

I strongly suggest people read Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change, even if you may not like the science fiction genre. Pick at least one story to read; you may find it to your liking. While some of the stories would never happen in real life, others could as they focus on crises that are a big threat to humanity and to wildlife. Reading Cli-Fi makes you realize just how lucky we are to have everything that we do.

Cli-Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change is the fourteenth book in the Exile Book of Anthology Series, and I look forward to reading the others very soon!

Lily Rae Coffin is a first-year Communications Studies student at UNB Saint John. As part of a COMx project, she is writing book reviews for The Lorenzo Review. To learn more about contributing for extra credit in your Communications Studies courses, speak to your instructor or email lorenzoreview@gmail.com.