Karen Douglass

Karen Douglass
Name: Karen Douglass

Author of two cli-fi novels, ‘Accidental Child’ (What if we run out of water?..) and ‘Providence’ (… or too much water, as in sea-level rise?). 

So far I have published two novels that promote an awareness of the impact of severe disregard for climate issues. The first novel came about, not from my awareness of climate per se, but as I sat in an aging enclosed shopping mall, wondering what its future use might be. For a long time that question sat in the back of my mind until I saw a potential need for shelter in an inhospitable, even dangerous, future where a small village might shelter and rediscover a way of living that depends on self-government, scavenging, strict population control and palliative care when there is no cure. This became a commentary on what life might be like when water is scarce and life must be simple. The title, Accidental Child, reflects the inevitable ways that nature scoffs at our intentions.

My second cli-fi book, Providence, was much more intentional, a conscious effort to explore what life might be like if my beloved Providence, Rhode Island was at risk from sea-level rise: not a far-fetched idea, given what I see and hear from the likes of Climatologist Jim Hansen. My hope is to reach readers who rely more often on fiction than on science, an attempt to draw attention to this vital issue. I’m about 90% done with another novel that is not as clearly cli-fi, but the plotline is very much determined by the ravages of our current storm system.

In addition to my novels, I write poetry, often with a clear connection to worrisome events: what is called the poetry of witness. And I maintain a blog that often reflects my concerns about issues, some of them dealing directly with creative writing, some with broader concerns.