Speculative fiction is interesting yet frightening at the same time. And when you throw in climate disasters, an immediate reality into it, it becomes all the more powerful. So next time you’re in the mood for horror, you might as well pick up a book from this list of the best speculative fiction books about climate disasters.
Best Speculative Fiction Books About Climate Disasters:
- The Drowned World by J G Ballard
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
- We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen
- Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin
- New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
- California by Edan Lepucki
- The High House by Jessie Greengrass
The Drowned World by J G Ballard
One of the earliest attempts at climate fiction, this book follows a post apocalyptic world where polar ice caps are molten. Most of the Northern hemisphere is now underwater. Our protagonist is a London based biologist who takes upon himself the task of mapping the new world. What emerges is a chilling and haunting story of speculative fiction.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Combining the genres of romance and post apocalyptic science fiction, this book tells the story of two friends. A love triangle comes into being as Snowman and Crake love the same beautiful girl, Oryx. Climate fiction enters the story through the setting. This is a wilderness that used to be a great city. But only until powerful corporations take humans on an endless genetic engineering drive.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
This story unfolds in a world where bioterrorism runs rampant, and calorie companies are the most profitable enterprises. We follow Anderson Lake, the Calorie Man of AgriGen, who is undercover in Bangkok in search of extinct food. He meets an abandoned AI there, setting into motion a series of events. This book is innovating and explores an oft overlooked aspect of climate fiction – food.
We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen
In this book, we follow a central character, psychologist Grace Park on a space expedition with thirteen other crew members. Her job as to monitor the crew members, all experts in their field, as they assess the colonization potential of the planet. But the planet turns out to be an icy cold, and nothing seems to be what it is.
Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer
This book follows an AI security consultant on the trail of a hummingbird and a salamander based on a note by an ecoterrorist. But soon things spiral out of her control – events threaten her family and humanity at large. Racing against time, she must find out why the ecoterrorist contacted her, what the animals mean and where humanity is headed.
Dune by Frank Herbert
The story of revolves around the futuristic Duke Leto who undertakes an interstellar journey to a desert planet Dune to procure a spice that extends human life and powers beyond imagination. This book is perhaps one of the most famous and most intelligent climate speculative fiction, and has defined the genre.
The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin
In this post apocalyptic dystopian fantasy, the world is governed by seasons – the fifth of which is intense drought. Amidst the broader political collapse and the rise of a madman murderer, our protagonist Essun strives to keep her family together. This is an innovative fantasy with climate disaster at its basis.
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
In a new world where waters submerge the city of New York, the residents of one building contemplate a new life. Through these perspectives, readers map the way the world has changed, and the way humans will respond to such change.
California by Edan Lepucki
At the centre of this novel is the couple Frida and Cal, who whittle their days away in the wilderness after a climate disaster breaks the world as they know it down. But when Frida discovers she is pregnant, they leave for the nearest settlement. Soon they realize that community and culture can offer security, but pose dangers of their own.
The High House by Jessie Greengrass
The name of this cli-fi comes from the house our protagonists live in – relatively safe from the climate disasters ravaging the world. But soon the bubble of safety is going to burst, and the rising waters of the town threaten to force the world into extinction. This is partly a grisly portrait of what our future could be and partly a meditation on love and family.