With eco-fiction, we began by attempting a definition. First, and most obviously, eco-fiction is fiction, i.e., not a true story. At its basis, though, is some sort of truth – an environmental truth. Whether it’s classic literature (say, Jack London’s Call of the Wild) or eco sci-fi (maybe Frank Herbert’s Dune or Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed) it makes some sort of statement about the human relationship to the environment. It also in some way expresses concern for the non-human world, and/or human survival.
More could probably be said, but that’s what we have for our definition so far. Next, we looked at examples of eco-fiction. In class, we assembled a short bookshelf of some of the eco-fiction found in Finlandia’s library as well as in my own, including:
- The Monkey-Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
- Winter Study by Nevada Barr
- A Friend of the Earth by T.C. Boyle
- Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach
- Looking for Peyton Place by Barbara Delinsky
- The Lobo Outback Funeral Home by Dave Foreman
- Flush by Carl Hiaasen
- Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen
- Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
- The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
- The Call of the Wild by Jack London
- Skywatch by Mary Alice Monroe
- The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
- Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
This is hardly an extensive list, but with this as a start, I’d like to build one. If you’re reading this, I have two questions for you:
1) What eco-fiction titles would you add to this list? (Conversely, is there anything above you might delete?)
2) What would you add to or change about our definition of eco-fiction?
Your comments are welcome!