CliFi - it's the new genre in the literary world

IMAGINING CLIMATE FUTURES: Dr Timothy Cadman will be at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Friday, June 8, as part of the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival.

IMAGINING CLIMATE FUTURES: Dr Timothy Cadman will be at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, Friday, June 8, as part of the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival.

What are the seeds that become the stories we read or hear or see on screens? It is a question I love to ask writers.

The dreadful things we do when we feel we have no choice

Tim Cadman

In Tim Cadman’s case, it was a dream … one where he was trying to get to the airport, and when he eventually got there and was on board, he realised he was on a rocket heading to the moon.

This disquieting experience led to a short story, which was published in the online sci-fi magazine, AntipodeanSF, in 2003. It then grew into a 23,000 word novella, which gathered dust in a drawer for the next decade.

The story spark was reignited when Tim read about a frog that hibernates by releasing a sugar liquid and freezing itself.

“In reality its hibernation is cryogenic,” Tim said.

Tim is an academic and environmental activist who lives in Bellingen. His book, The Changes, takes us into a world beyond our time when saving the planet has proven hopeless and the human race exists in cryogenic storage.

Consciousness is maintained through virtual reality scenarios, with characters ‘existing’ in a range of colonies that play out different climate change solutions.

“It is a fact that when we are free of physical restraints, our brains are 30 per cent more efficient. I wondered how we could tackle the wicked problems we have now operating at that (unhindered) faster speed.

“All the scenarios I use are already tried and tested and things are only getting worse. There ain’t no cure for climate change, we passed that point in the 1970s.”

While this is certainly bleak, the book itself is not. The characters are only too human, flawed people operating in flawed circumstances and the time-shifting journey we share with them is fascinating.

Tim will be a guest at the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival, June 8-10. The first Australian outing of his book will be at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre on Friday, June 8. He will also join Dan Findlay, Catherine McKinnon and Kate Cole-Adams on the panel for ‘Science Writing: The Environment, The Mind and Science Fiction’, Saturday morning, 9am at the Memorial Hall.

Kate Cole-Adams is the author of Anaesthesia – a thought-provoking and at times chilling exploration into anaesthetics, how they work and what happens when they don’t work.

Catherine McKinnon’s book  Storyland is a remarkable story that delicately explores our history, our present, our future and our connection to land.

Dan Findlay’s alarming Year of the Orphan, takes place in Outback Australia, hundreds of years from now.

His orphan is living in the remnants of our ruined world and must decide if what’s left of humanity is worth saving.