Wellbeing for Whom? Neoliberalism against the Environment in Climate Fiction
Keywords:neoliberalism, climate fiction, American literature, ideology, wellbeing
The socio-economic environment in which climate fiction novels are produced and read influences their content. The three US novels discussed in this article (Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom (2011), Richard Powers’ The Overstory (2018), and T.C. Boyle’s A Friend of The Earth (2000)) reflect the neoliberal political and economic agenda, which does not focus on human or planetary wellbeing. Current socioeconomic priorities contradict the possibility of a sustainable future, which is increasingly affecting the daily lives of everyone on the planet, and environmental destruction is at the core of capitalist production. The emergence of cli-fi and neocli-fi parallels the rise of neoliberal ideology, and I explore the influence of that ideology on US and other western societies. As I demonstrate, this extends to novels, the narratives of which either attempt to satirize capitalism or subscribe to the idea that there is no alternative to the system. The ensuing aura of complacency is antithetical to action. However, analysing contemporary climate fiction novels written in the US may provide a framework for understanding the popular attitudes when it comes to the social, economic, and political reality and the potential to address the environmental disaster.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Teja Šosterič
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Ecocene does not ask authors to transfer any copyrights to the journal. The author(s) retain all copyrights of their articles. However, authors grant the publisher non-exclusive publishing rights to publish the articles. Please note that Ecocene publishes only original materials, that is, works that have not been previously published elsewhere. Ecocene uses a Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0).