08 October 2019

cli-fi versus lab-lit

We are very busy reading submissions for the notable November 2019 issue of Electric Spec. If you sent us a story: Thank you! If not, keep in mind the submission deadline for this issue is October 15, 2019. Good luck!

There are two relatively new fiction sub-genres called "cli-fi" and "lab-lit" which sometimes get confused.

Cli-fi is an abbreviation of climage fiction; this is literature dealing with climate change and/or global warming. Cli-fi may be speculative in nature. Thus, it might be science fiction. There are a lot of great examples of cli-fi novels and movies, e.g. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Cli-fi does not have to have any speculative element. Cli-fi may also have aspects related to science and/or laboratories, but does not need to.

Lab-lit is an abbreviation of laboratory literature; this is literature dealing with science and/or scientific laboratory culture. Lab-lit is not speculative in nature. Thus, it is not science fiction. There are also some great examples of lab-lit novels and movies, e.g. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Lab-lit does need to have some aspects related to science and/or laboratories.

Thus, if a novel is about climate science and involves laboratory scientists it can be both cli-fi and lab-lit. A great example of this is Carbon Dreams by Susan M. Gaines.

Bottom line: potential Electric Spec authors can send us their speculative cli-fi, but not their lab-lit.

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