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Ecological Science Fiction

What is Ecological Science Fiction?

>What is Ecological Science Fiction?

Also known as Enviromental Science Fiction.

Science fiction with an emphasis on nature and the environment, either on Earth or somewhere amongst the stars. The story is developed around a change in the environment—climate change, flooding, impact winter—that is usually seen as a threat to humans and our way of life.

These stories are often built around humanity's relationship with nature and so the setting of these stories is incredibly well developed. While writers will often take liberties there is usually some truth at the core of the story.

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Other Features of Ecological Science Fiction

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  • Level of Real Science

    Low. This is a serious topic and science and technology certainly have environmental impacts (both positive and negative), but the stories of this sub-genre tend to create science and technology that is more flashy than real.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    High. Ecological/Environmental Sci Fi almost always deals with a change in the environment. Sci Fi explores issues surrounding how humanity deals with change. Environmental change affects humanity in a very real and potentially radical way, which has powerful social implications.


    While the sub-genre is idea driven, which makes for a stimulating story, it's not uncommon for stories to be overly didactic with their message or lesson.

  • Level of Characterization

    Moderate. In the face of environmental collapse, or some other significant ecological disaster, humans are forced to confront their relationship with the world—this kind of reflection can be quite enlightening for readers. However, character development can get lost in the thrill of the moment and in the message.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Moderate-High. Ecological/Environmental Sci Fi often have a thriller type of plot—full of movement, discovery, and action. This trait makes the plot engaging, though not necessarily complex.

  • Level of Violence

    Variable. Ecological/Environmental Sci Fi is sometimes a thriller and thus has potential for violence. Indeed, nature itself can turn violent. Or violence may appear as environmental extremists blowing up a dam. When the state of the world is at stake, what lengths wouldn't you go to? Alternatively, the sub-genre can be more contemplative and favor the exploration of ideas.

Related Science Fiction subgenres

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Ecological Science Fiction isn't for you if...

If you believe humanity's relationship with nature is insignificant. Or, if you don't like treehuggers (note: not all stories champion the treehugger).

Ecological Science Fiction Books