Short Story Cycles

Realism in eco fiction: Climate change and the short story cycle

Fiction has the potential to bring the climate crisis into the imagination and help readers understand and respond to climate change. From speculative ‘cli-fi’ to contemporary eco fiction, literary responses to climate change vary greatly and continue to evolve. Despite the ongoing popularity of speculative climate change fiction, climate change increasingly appears in realist genres, and in stories dealing with everyday domestic situations. Realist climate change stories come with both opportunities and challenges. The short story cycle form is particularly well-positioned to address such challenges through its capacity to create a sense of community, defamiliarise climate change discourse, generate ecological enchantment, and conceal overtly didactic messages. The short story cycle is a sustainable form because it is cyclical, iterative, and incomplete, in a way reminiscent of the natural environment. Using Richard Powers’ short story cycle, The Overstory (2018), as a case study, this paper examines how realist expressions of climate change in fiction might be supported by the unique characteristics of the short story cycle form.

from: Wood, Niamh: ”Realism in Eco Fiction: Climate change and the short story cycle” Social Alternatives; Brisbane Vol. 41, Iss. 3, (2022): 43-47.


Note: This is a paid-for article, but I thought it was worth mentioning since the connection between climate change fiction and the short story cycle deserves more focus. I might index more paid articles in the future, since I should like for this site to be as complete an index as possible of short story cycle academic literature. Stay tuned!

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