You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Dystopian Literature

7. Dystopia Today: Cli-Fi and Solarpunk

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we explore two subgenres that might be described as subsets of dystopian fiction – climate change fiction (or cli-fi) and solarpunk. As we move through the module, we consider: (i) the nature of the climate emergency facing humanity at the beginning of the twenty-first century; (ii) the emergence of 'cli-fi' in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and some key precursors, e.g. J. G. Ballard's Drowned World (1962), Frank Herbert's Dune (1965); (iii) the importance of cli-fi as a means of engaging in and with climate science and climate politics; (iv) the emergence of solarpunk in the first decade of the twenty-first century, its key themes and preoccupations, and some key novels, including Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Sower (1993) and N. K. Jemisin's Emergency Skin (2019).


In this course, Professor Nicole Pohl (Oxford Brookes University) provides an introduction to and overview of dystopian literature. In the first module, we introduce the concepts of 'utopia' and 'dystopia' themselves, as well as the idea of dystopias as "utopias which have decayed". In the second and third modules, we think about two major types of dystopia – dystopias of totalitarian control (e.g. Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four) and dystopias of environmental collapse (e.g. H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds). In the fourth module, we explore the connection between dystopia and satire, looking in particular at Thomas More's Utopia (1516), before turning in the fifth and sixth modules to consider the history of dystopia from the first use of the word in the mid-18th century to the emergence of young adult dystopian fiction in the 21st. In the seventh and final module, we consider two emerging trends in dystopian fiction today – climate change fiction (or 'cli-fi', for short) and solarpunk.


Prof. Nicole Pohl is Professor in Early Modern Literature and Critical Theory at Oxford Brookes University. Her research focuses on utopias and utopianism.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Pohl, N. (2022, May 12). Dystopian Literature - Dystopia Today: Cli-Fi and Solarpunk [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Pohl, N. "Dystopian Literature – Dystopia Today: Cli-Fi and Solarpunk." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 May 2022,

Get instant access to over 7,100 lectures