What is Cli-Fi? A list of Diverse Climate Fiction Books and Short Stories

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Todayโ€™s brew of choice: Iced matcha latte with fat free milk (I know you don’t brew iced matcha latte okay, but… I really want one, so it counts!)

Good morning everyone! I was inspired after reading The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He, I was inspired to make a list of diverse climate fiction recommendations! I love climate fiction, and I hope you find something you might love here! Before going into the list, I think we need to talk a little bit about Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi for short) in general before I introduce you to the best climate fiction list! Or if you are just curious about what climate fiction is, the list of climate fiction examples! So I hope you’re ready to grab your own brew and hang out with me a little bit! Let’s start with the basics.

What is Climate Fiction?

Climate Fiction is literature that deals with climate change and global warming as a major topic. Often described as a sub-genre of science fiction, this specific brand of literature often involved dystopian or utopian themes as well. To be put simply, climate fiction is stories on climate change or stories about global warming! It is often speculative in nature, and plays with the idea of how humanity will deal with a climate disaster in a world similar to our own, or in the near future. It often includes technology that has been built in order to combat climate change, the disintegration of our technological advancements as a consequence to climate change or both.

Where Did Climate Fiction Come From?

We, as humans, have been studying the greenhouse effect since the 1800s, when Eunice Foote described recreating the effect with glass jars in 1856. The idea that we are polluting the earth that one day it will cause massive climate disasters is not a new one. However the term climate fiction is relatively new. It started gaining prominence around 2010, in light of our more recent knowledge on the seriousness of climate change, it makes sense that more and more books would be surfacing about the topic. There are some pretty epic stories to be told here! Credit for who coined the term climate fiction has been given to journalist Dan Bloom by multiple sources, who used it for the first time in the late 2000s.

Why Should You Read Climate Fiction?

As much as I love climate fiction, why should you read it? Why is climate fiction important? Is climate fiction important at all? Is climate fiction even interesting? Well, here’s why I think you should read climate fiction. At least to try it out. Climate fiction is growing in popularity, along with our growing wealth of information about greenhouse gases that scientists are studying all the time. Not only that, but socially, the world is growing to be more knowledgeable on climate change as changes are happening right before out eyes. And when a large amount of people speak up and create unrest, things change. Policies change when we work for it, and when we work to educate ourselves on the issues and fight for growth. Remember a few years ago when there was huge outrage over plastic straws killing the turtles? Companies listened to that! I barely remember the last time I got a plastic straw with my drink.

So am I saying that you should try out climate fiction to educate yourself? Absolutely not. There are incredible resources out there for you to see. What I really want to say is that we have our greatest creative minds (authors, duh) writing compelling stories about the consequences of climate change. They are imagining solutions, that work and do not work in the worlds that they build, so that we can have an idea about how to think creatively about what to do about global warming. They are getting creative with possible consequences of our inactions. They are showing us how to think critically and creatively about climate change and we should listen. So take some time and pick out a climate fiction if you’ve never read one before. Or add your next cli-fi to your list! Without more rambling, check out this list of diverse climate fiction!

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List of Diverse Climate Fiction Books

this post contains affiliate links, if you’re kind enough to purchase through one of these links, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

The Ones We're Meant to Find by Joan He book cover

Quick Take

Sisters with a bond strong enough to survive anything set out on a quest to find each other and save humanity from the climate disaster we created.

  • ๐ŸŒŠ Climate Fiction
  • ๐ŸŒ East Asian Rep
  • ๐Ÿ’ฅ Dramatic Ending
  • ๐Ÿ˜ญ Emotional

This has to be first because it was the inspiration for this entire post! Check out this beautiful book by Joan He!

Review | Goodreads Amazon Book Depository

Original Publication Date: May 4, 2021

Why pick up this book?

Joan He is a Chinese American author who studied Psychology and East Asian studies in college. The Ones We’re Meant to Find was an instant New York Times and Indie bestseller. It was selected for a Barnes & Noble book club pick for 2021, and a Junior Library Guild Selection. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and incredible praise by authors such as Marie Lu.

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi book cover and review

Quick Take

Two sisters are separated in the midst of a mech-filled war ground, one sister stolen and fated to live with the enemy. Will they ever find each other again? Tochi beautifully retells the Nigerian Civil War as YA Science Fiction!

  • ๐ŸŒ African History
  • ๐Ÿ›ธ Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • ๐Ÿ† Strong Female Lead
  • ๐Ÿ‘๏ธ Multiple POV

Review | Goodreads | Amazon |  Book Depository

Original Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Why pick up this book?

Tochi Onyebuchi is (so far) my only Author Spotlight, check it out here! Tochi graduated from Yale, NYU’s Tisch, Columbia Law school and Lโ€™institut dโ€™รฉtudes politiques with a Masters in Global Business Law. Before he was writing fiction, he was working as a Volunteer Assistant Attorney General and Civil Rights Fellow with the office of the New York State Attorney General. His non-fiction essays have stayed with me for months, and two of them are nominated IGNYTE awards.

Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller

Quick Take

After the climate wars, humans built a safe haven in the sky, but as time goes on the contradictions of extreme wealth and extreme poverty is ravaging the population. Everything changes when a strange woman riding an orca with a polar bear at her side arrives.

  • ๐Ÿ’ญ Speculative Fiction
  • ๐Ÿค” Thought Provoking
  • ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Queer MC
  • ๐Ÿ“˜ Standalone

Goodreads Amazon | Book Depository

Original Publication Date: April 17, 2018

Why pick up this book?

Sam J. Miller is the Nebula Award winning author of The Art of Starving, one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year. Entertainment Weekly and O: The Oprah Magazine called Blackfish City a “Must Read” and was called one of the best books of 2018 by the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and more.

American War by Omar El Akkad

Quick Take

A family stuck in the middle of a Second American Civil War forces us to imagine what could happen if America turned it’s most harmful weapons and policies against itself.

  • ๐Ÿ’ญ Speculative Fiction
  • โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿฉน Trauma and Healing
  • ๐Ÿ˜ญ Emotional
  • ๐Ÿ•ฏ๏ธ Slow Burn

Goodreads Amazon | Book Depository

Original Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Why pick up this book?

Omar El Akkad was born in Egypt, and lives in the USA. He started his journalism career at the same time as the beginning of the war on terror, so he spent a decade flying to Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and more. His work earned a National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists. His fiction and non-fiction writing has appeared in The Guardian, Le Monde, Guernica, GQ and many other newspapers and magazines. American War is an international best seller and has been translated into 13 languages.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Quick Take

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinรฉtah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

  • ๐Ÿ‘พ Monsters
  • ๐Ÿ”ฎ Magic
  • ๐Ÿ“š First in Series
  • ๐Ÿ›ธ Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Goodreads Amazon | Book Depository

Original Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Why pick up this book?

Rebecca Roanhorse is a NYTimes bestselling and Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Astounding (Campbell) Award for Best New Writer. Rebecca has published multiple award-winning short stories and five novels. She has also written for Marvel Comics and for television, and had projects optioned by Amazon Studios, Netflix, and Paramount TV.

The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed

Quick Take

A woman infected by a mysterious, mind altering parasite must decide whether to pursue an opportunity to go to the last surviving pre-climate disaster city, or to stay at home and help the community she knows rebuild.

  • ๐Ÿ’€ Dark Content
  • ๐Ÿ˜ญ Emotional
  • ๐Ÿ’ญ Speculative Fiction
  • ๐Ÿค” Thought Provoking

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Original Publication Date: September 28, 2021

Why pick up this book?

Premee Mohamed was a Capital City Press Featured Writer for 2019/2020 with the Edmonton Public Library. Her guest editing positions include novellas with Interstellar Flight Press and short fiction with Apparition Lit. Her debut novel, ‘Beneath the Rising’ was a finalist for the Crawford Award, the Aurora Award, and the Locus Award. Her short fiction has appeared in print and audio venues including Analog, Escape Pod, Augur, Nightmare Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity, and PodCastle.

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine

Quick Take

When spring doesn’t come for the third year in a row, Wylodine leaves her farm with seeds in hopes of starting anew, but the journey is treacherous and strangers along the way are after her incredibly valuable skill: making things grow.

  • ๐Ÿ’€ Dark Content
  • ๐ŸŽฒ Plot Twists
  • ๐ŸŽถ Lyrical Prose
  • ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Queer MC

Goodreads Amazon | Book Depository

Original Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Why pick up this book?

Alison Stine is a disabled writer and the author of the novel Road Out of Winter, which won the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award. She has also written three short story collections. Recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Ohio Arts Council grant, a Sustainable Arts grant, and a reporting grant from National Geographic, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and received the Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism.

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Diverse Climate Fiction Honorable Mentions

*please note that the links will correspond to the cover below it, especially if you are on mobile

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

All City by Alex DiFrancesco

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Man with the Compound Eyes by Wu Ming-Yi

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Tentacle by Rita Indiana

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Aestus Series by S.Z. Attwell

There is, of course, more space available here. If you have any suggestions feel free to reach out to me on any social media or via my contact page.

Diverse Climate Fiction Short Stories

In addition to so many incredible climate fiction books that are out (or are coming out soon), there are a ton of climate fiction short stories that you can read. Not sure if you like climate fiction? Are you looking to just see what climate fiction is all about? Do you want to just test out whether you want to read a full novel length climate fiction? Check out some of these short stories (many are free to read) by incredible authors! Short fiction is where a lot of experimentation in genres can occur so there is some really exciting stuff here!


Let’s chat!

โœจHave you read any of these books?
โœจ Do you have recommendations for me to add to this list?
โœจ Have you read any climate fiction at all?
โœจ How does climate fiction inspire you? Let me know!


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Wow I really need to read more climate fiction and this list has some cool ones!