Brian Adams teaches science at a small community college in western Massachusetts, but his debut novel [easyazon-link asin=”0996087206″ locale=”us”]Love in the Time of Climate Change[/easyazon-link] takes a big swing at the way global warming is discussed in the media.
He calls his book a “cli fi” rom-com and introduces it that way when he gives stand-up readings around New England now. And he’s got a big fan in his corner — deep green climate activist Bill Mckibben, who in a blurb for the novel on the publisher’s website, says: “It’s a pleasure to meet this fellow sufferer of Obsessive Climate Disorder (OCD); he’s definitely funnier than most of us environmental types.”
”OCD” is just one of the humorous terms that Adams introduces in his book, and McKibben took the bait, in good humor, of course.
“I like the label ‘cli-fi’ rom-com,” Adams told TeleRead in a recent email. “I may be the first writer to come out with one. And people seem to get a chuckle when they hear that.”
Welcome the fictional world of a science professor named Casey who teaches at a small community college in western Massachusetts. It’s the work of an American humorist, and first-time author Adams follows neatly in the footsteps of Kurt Vonnegut and Nathaniel Rich, two authors who also looked into big issues like climate change and the end of the world.
A professor of environmental science and co-chair of the science department at Greenfield Community College, Adams, 58. hails from the Maryland area just outside Washington, D.C.
With a degree in human ecology from Cornell and a masters in environmental biology from Antioch, Adams decided to go into the teaching profession, and his novel show just how well he has taken to it. He’s not only a natural-born storyteller, as can be seen from this humorous “rom-com” about college life, romance and the future of the human species, but he also comes across as a teacher who really cares about his students.
I asked him who his debut novel is for. “Activists, college-age kids, rom-com aficionados, and people interested in climate change,” he said. “The general public as well.”
Adams chose to write the novel as a humorist because he felt humor can help people see climate issues in a different way from serious novels about the apocalypse and dystopian vistas.
“I have found that many people avoid climate change nonfiction, given how depressing and absolutely paralyzing it can be,” he said. “I mean, seriously, how many people read climate change nonfiction? It an be an incredible downer. Extreme weather, food insecurity, drought, famine, melting glaciers, drowning polar bears, out of control wildfires, rising sea levels: it can be heavy reading.”
“So I attempted to do something that I think is rather unique and tackle potential world catastrophe in a fictionalized form through humor, drugs, social awkwardness and sex — while at the same time being uncompromising about the science of climate change.”
The 300-page “Love in the Time of Climate Change” may be the world’s the first activist rom-com cli-fi. What Nathaniel Rich achieved in “Odds Against Tomorrow,” Adams achieves in a similar yet over-the-top fashion.
When asked why he wrote the novel, and how he found a small green publisher in Vermont to publish it, Adams said: ”I want to save the world, promote activism, and bring humor and hope to folks living in desperate times.”
“I didn’t have an agent,” he said. “I sent the book early on to a publishing house in Vermont and they took it. Hooray for our small independent presses! Where would be without them? Green Writers Press is a marvelous activist press with a mission to spread the word about climate change in a positive way.”
Welcome to the madcap madhouse novel that is “Love in the Time of Climate Change.” It’s funny, laugh out loud funny and signals the arrival of a new American humorist writing his ass off in the leafy environment of western Massachusetts.