Climate Fiction As A New Genre: Margaret Atwood’s ‘’Time Capsule Found On the Dead Planet’’

Atwood- climate change

Climate change has been fought in fiction for several years. Therefore, there is a genre called ‘’climate-fiction’’ (cli-fi) to tell about climate change, which concerns all of us as species on the planet. The genre not only tries to demonstrate the present time climate crisis but also points out the past actions of human beings on the planet, also predicting the possible future scenarios that might happen. Thanks to the cli-fi genre, we, as readers have become much more aware of the destruction that we cause on our one and only planet.

Therefore, in Margaret Atwood’s ‘’Time Capsule Found On the Dead Planet’’ (2009), the narrator starts telling from the first age of humankind until the present time in a fictional perspective. In the first age, Gods were made with wood and metals by humans. They both gave us pain and pleasure and knew everything, the narrator says. Furthermore, the world was abundant that we enjoyed the fruits of our planet. However, in the second age, money was created, which was also made of metal just like the gods. Money was offered to us as a source of life but, in fact, it gave us no good. We couldn’t eat or drink it but it was like magic, an illusionary thing. Therefore, money has become the god in the third age that we have started to worship it. It has caused wars, famine, plagues etc. Nature has been destroyed that the land is deserted on the planet. (Atwood 2009).

So, in the end, we would have ‘the dead planet’ in our hands which is not far. From a critical point of view, the writer criticizes human actions which massively harm the planet. She refers to the past, present and future in the story. Shelley Streeby’s following statement supports what Atwood wants to demonstrate through fiction; ‘’For years now scientists have issued warnings about what will happen if we fail to act soon. More dramatic and destructive storms, the loss of biodiversity, species extinction, and sea level rise are just a few of the changes that are no longer on the horizon but are happening now (4). To sum up, the genre cli-fi is not merely ‘fiction’. It is like a tool to make us aware of what is being made by humankind. Therefore, the cli-fi stories give us a message that we have to come together, think collectively and do something to save our planet.


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