Welcome to Eco-fiction.com, a free-to-use news site that covers environmental authors’ works via book posts, interviews, reader-submitted reviews, bookshelves and a database, guest posts, and author spotlights. In early 2018 we also launched a new site for authors and readers in a changing world: Dragonfly.eco. Here, authors may submit excerpts of their novels, prose, or nonfiction and read excerpts of nature writing. It is also the home of our global eco-fiction series. Both eco-fiction.com and Dragonfly.eco are volunteer projects, and authors may promote their stories here freely. These sites raise awareness of the impact and diversity in storytelling that explores climate change and related ecological themes.
Background & History
Eco-fiction.com is a continuation of work I’ve been doing for years. From the time I could read, I was engrossed in fiction, but the stories that were close to nature were my favorites. Later, I double-majored in English and cultural anthropology at Purdue University, graduating in the mid-1990s; there I extended my studies in environmental prose and literature and in world mythology. In the late 1990s, I had a project on the web covering the nature writings of beat and SF Renaissance authors. In the early 2000s, I became the chief editor at Jack Magazine (now archived at Stanford University), which provided an arc from mid-century to modern day literature. During the ten years of the project, co-founded by Michael Rothenberg, we republished poetry, prose, and art by Gregory Corso, Michael McClure, Peter Coyote, Angus MacLise, Ira Cohen, and others. We looked at the nature writings and teachings of authors like Jack Collom, Philip Whalen, and Joanne Snyder. In 2010, I began Moon Willow Press, which originally published debut novels and prose chapbooks by some of Jack‘s authors. I have also opened the imprint Dragonfly Publishing for my own novels. The niche press focuses on environmental writings and donates a portion of sales to plant trees in economically and ecologically depressed areas–with over 1,580 trees planted; the press does not allow for waste and uses only fiber that is recycled or comes from sustainably managed forests.
In 2008, when I began writing my novel Back to the Garden, it was after a period of a decade or so when I was wondering how climate change could be explored in fiction. And I began researching novels that seemed to focus on it somehow. Later I discovered Jim Dwyer’s Where the Wild Books Are: A Field Guide to Ecofiction (University of Nevada Press, 2010). The guide recognized the concept of climate change within fiction and described such stories as cautionary or disaster fiction. I began this website in August 2013–surely one of my last big literary projects in life, outside of publishing and writing. I am excited by the evolution of eco-fiction, by how authors and other artists are dealing with it in our modern era.
The first URL of the site in 2013 was clifibooks.com, but in a matter of months after creating the site, I realized the scope of my work was much larger. The original site name still redirects here because of links from back then in 2013, but the original site name does not reflect my thoughts on branding of this literature–quite the opposite. There are many genre labels and categorizations of fiction covering global warming and other environmental themes in the 21st century. This site explores all of them but does not focus on any one in particular, rather looks at stories and authors.
My feeling is that what storytelling does is to break the concept of global warming and other eco-themes out of packaged ideas and scientific facts and into readers’ hearts by relating the human condition with a crisis that is unique for our time period. The diversity of environmental fiction is something I am very interested in. While some argue that this fiction cannot be speculative and must be realistic, most scholars seem to agree that eco-fiction doesn’t have to contain traditional or contemporary realism, that post-naturalism or new nature writing is one idea, and that metaphorical approaches are valid for climate change and fiction. I think also that most scholars do not include climate denialism within the scope of the reasoning behind this literature–that working off the basis of real science is important, no matter how far into the realm of allegory the story goes.
This site remains the first and largest library on the web that explores novels about climate change and related environmental issues. Due to its scope, I welcome guest reviews and articles.
-Mary Woodbury, Curator
A more personal blog is at To the Waters and the Wild.
Affiliation: We are affiliates of Amazon and GoodReads and, for many books not introduced by their authors, we use a shortcode plugin. We use this shortcode in accordance with GoodReads’ and Amazon’s standards. Our curator is also a GoodReads librarian.
Memberships: Mary Woodbury is a member of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, ClimateCultures, and International League of Nature Writers.
Media: Because this project is a hobby, we are often surprised to get press. You can find more about eco-fiction.com or the novel Back to the Garden at Wired, various articles at the Free Word Centre, The Guardian, GOOD Magazine, Dissent Magazine, Amazing Stories, SFF World: Climate Fiction Panel, SFF World: Solarpunk Panel, Winnipeg Free Press, VOYA Magazine, EcoLit Books, Writing Forums, and more.
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Site images: The site’s banner rotates between a photo I took at Tofino, BC, along the Wild Pacific Trail, and others licensed for use by Can Stock Photo. The current banner art is (c) Can Stock Photo / artshock
Features: You might have noticed a slide show at Eco-Fiction. These books are rotated monthly and are chosen on the merits of good reviews and/or ratings, with an attempt to show a diverse sample.