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What is CliFi? An Earth Day Primer

So I’m flipping through my February 2014 issue of VOYA Magazine and I see a head-shot of author Mindy McGinnis – what is she doing there I wonder? Her book, Not a Drop to Drink (I’m a fan), is mentioned as being an example of CliFi. Wait – what is this CliFi thing?

You know how we’re always making those displays of climate change induced dystopian fiction for Earth Day? Yeah that, it turns out, is CliFi. Climate Fiction.

According to the VOYA article written by Rebecca Hill, the term CliFi was popularized by Dan Bloom. CliFi is fiction that deals with climate change.

I had never heard this term, but it is perfect.

Last year, Christie put together THIS list of climate change dystopias. Turns out, they are CliFi.

And I put together THIS collection of Earth Day activities, inspired in part by 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment published by Zest Books. Earth Day is coming, a great time to introduce your patrons to CliFi.

And here are 5 2014 CliFi books out now or later this year:

Endangerd and Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Publisher’s Description: “As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.” See entire description at Goodreads. Published February 25, 2014 by Scholastic Press. ISBN: 9780545551434.

I have read Endangered and it was really very good. 

Sunrise, the final book in the Ashfall series by Mike Mullin

Publisher’s Description: “This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.” See entire description at Goodreads. Coming April 15, 2014 from Tanglewood Press. ISBN: 9781939100016.

 This is a really good series and I am looking forward to reading the conclusion.

Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

Publisher’s Description: “In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of “pharma.” See entire description at Goodreads Coming June 2014 from Black Sheep. ISBN: 9781617752766.

Survival ColonyNine by Joshua David Bellin

Publisher’s Description: “In a future world of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn struggles to recover the lost memory that might save the human race.

Querry is a member of Survival Colony Nine, one of the small, roving groups of people who outlived the wars and environmental catastrophes that destroyed the old world. The commander of Survival Colony Nine is his father, Laman Genn, who runs the camp with an iron will. He has to–because heat, dust, and starvation aren’t the only threats in this ruined world.” See the entire description at Goodreads. Coming in September 2014 from Margaret K. McElderry Books. ISBN: 9781481403542.

Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
In a world where water is scarce, what would you do to protect what little water you have?

Publisher’s Description: “In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.” See entire description at Goodreads. Coming in September from Katherine Tegen Books. ISBN: 9780062198532.

Be sure to check out the VOYA Magazine article for further discussion of this emerging genre, some additional titles, and some nonfiction titles that may also be of interest. Hill, Rebecca. “Weathering the Change: CliFi Settles in for the Duration”. VOYA Magazine, February 2014, pages 44 and 45.

Dan Bloom, who coined the term CliFi, can be found on Twitter @polarcityman. There is also a CliFi hashtag (#CliFi). You can also follow @CliFiBooks, though these are not specifically YA books or visit their webpage at www.clifibooks.com. Cli-Fi Books explores climate change themes found in novels, prose, short stories, and other fiction. Earth Day is April 22, 2014.
Please share your favorite CliFi books with us in the comments.

Cover Reveal: Sunrise by Mike Mullin

The stunning conclusion to the Ashfall trilogy by Mike Mullin


The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors’ constant companions.

When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish.

This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.

Giveaway Time: Win a survival band.  Open to U.S. residents.  Rafflecopter below.  Ends October 10th!


Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. Ashen Winter is his second novel. His debut, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association.

Sunrise Buy Links:
Author Links:

Ashfall with Mike Mullin, Q&A and Ashen Winter ARC contest

April showers bring May flowers – unless you live in a post apocalyptic world covered by volcanic ash.  Then, not so much.  Ashfall by Mike Mullin is just such a novel; it tells the story of a US after a major volcano eruption in Yellowstone.  Ashfall was also the subject of one of the photographs of The Real Fauxtographer, Margot Wood.  We may have mentioned her before (here and here to be exact).  Today, author Mike Mullin discusses Ashfall, his response to Margot Wood’s photograph inspired by his book, and the upcoming sequel Ashen Winter.  Be sure to read through the whole post because at the end we have an awesome surprise for you all.  You want to win a signed ARC of Ashen Winter, right?

Tell us a little bit about your novel Ashfall and how you came to write it.

Ashfall is about a teen struggling to survive and find his family after the cataclysmic eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. My book was born in a library—Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. I saw a display that included Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, and borrowed it. Dozens of novel ideas lurk within its pages, but the one that stuck with me was the idea of a supervolcano eruption. A few weeks after I read it, I woke at 3:30 am with a scene occupying my head so completely I was afraid it would start spilling out my ears. I typed 5,500 words, finishing just before dawn. Then I put the project away and let it gestate for eight months. When I returned to it after researching volcanoes and volcanic ash, I realized the inspired scene I wrote in the middle of the night wouldn’t work, and ultimately that whole section had to be scrapped. The only word that remains from that draft? The title, Ashfall.

How did you come across Margot Wood’s picture inspired by Ashfall?

Someone tweeted it to me. I read and attempt to respond to all @Mike_Mullin messages I get on Twitter (except the obvious spam, of course).

What does it mean to you as an author to inspire other artists in this way?  What kind of response do you have to something like this?

I love it. It feels recursive, in a way. Ashfall was partly inspired by photography—I taped about a dozen photos of the aftermath of volcanic eruptions to the wall above my desk while I was writing it, to help keep my head in the post-apocalyptic landscape. Perhaps someone will write a novel inspired by Margot’s photography, continuing the cycle.

Do you feel like her picture captures the essence of Ashfall?  How do you think it speaks about your novel?

It certainly captures the essence of Darla. She’s covered in ash and looks a bit haunted, almost ghost-like to me. But there’s determination in the thrust of her chin and the corners of her mouth. I get the sense of a young woman who has seen horrible things and been forced to grow up far faster than she should. Yet her gaze is upward—hopeful. That’s exactly how I picture Darla.
Photo by Margot Wood at The Real Fauxtographer

5.  What other types of feedback have you received about Ashfall?

Other artists have used Ashfallas inspiration for their work—here’s a drawing that St. Louis student Abigail Lee did in response to my book:

Image found at http://pinterest.com/pin/32510428529998822/

I think she did a lovely job capturing the feel of the post-apocalyptic landscape. And there have been hundreds of reviews and written reactions—some of them are linked at www.ashfallbook.com.

6.  Ashfallis going to have a sequel, Ashen Winter.  Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect to happen and when to look for it in stores and libraries?

Ashen Winter will hit stores by October 8th. There’s a big launch party at Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore in Indianapolis on October 7th, and you’re all invited! There’s more info at www.ashenwinter.com.

Here’s the jacket copy for Ashen Winter (Warning: contains Ashfallspoiler):

It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

Win it! As we wait in anticipation for Ashen Winter, you can enter to win an awesome prize package: 1 signed ARC of Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin and 1 8×10 of the Ashfall inspired photo by The Real Fauxtographer, Margot Wood.  To enter, simply leave a comment between now and May 21st.  The winner will be posted here on May 22nd and will have 1 week to contact me at kjensenmls@yahoo.com so that we can get their awesome prize to them.  Conest is open to US residents only please (although all comments are welcome regarding the content of the post). TLT would like to extend a sincere thank you to Mike Mullin and Margot Wood for this post and generous prize donation – and for their amazing art.

Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really hoping this writing thing works out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife and her three cats. ASHFALL is his first novel.  Connect with Mike on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. You can also follow his blog or follow him on Pinterest. For more information, including contact information, check out his official webpage at mikemullinauthor.com.


Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter.  When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.

The first two chapters of Ashfall and Ashen Winter are available on Mike’s website: www.mikemullinauthor.com.