New cli-fi novel pits an at-risk blue whale against Antarctic collapse

As a new generation of writers confronts global warming, a new book genre has emerged: “climate fiction”, or “cli-fi”.

Russell: “In my secret heart, I hope that all these books that are now talking about climate change will help to move public opinion.”

That’s Canadian novelist Craig Russell. In his recent book, Fragment, a shockwave sends a massive Antarctic ice sheet into the sea. It’s pushed north by ocean currents, killing all marine life in its path.

In the novel, an atomic submarine captain braves the turbulent sea to rescue survivors of a smashed polar research station. And a blue whale, desperate to save his pod from being caught and drowned by the ice fragment, creates a new whale song to warn his family of the impending danger.

By telling how the people and whale work together, Russell hopes he can encourage readers to think more deeply about humans’ relationship with the natural world.

Russell: “I’ve always found that books open me to empathy for the characters that I am reading about. And in this case, I would hope that we could even have a bit of empathy for a brave, blue whale. And that might lead to something good.”


Reposted from: Yale Climate Connections
Reporting credit: Rosie Simon/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.