Impacts of Environmental Fiction – Survey Results — 5 Comments

  1. Excellent survey. As a middle grade ecofiction writer, I would think it impossible to get feedback on this topic with any great depth from kids, but I imagine the same psychological effects and reading preferences probably apply without them knowing. It would be nice to think that in twenty years, some of them might look back and realise that they changed their lives in some way to benefit the environment as a result of reading on of my stories. Even if it happens very slowly. I remember reading The Chrysalids thirty years after reading it at school, and I was gobsmacked by how much of its message had been impregnated in my brain without me knowing. I felt as though John Wyndham knew he was doing that, and it inspired me to use the same power if I could.

    • Thanks for your comments, Ian. I can look back on my life and see how I was really affected by reading stories that strongly reflected the natural world. Even though that might seem anecdotal, authors who I interview document the same thing.

  2. Hi Mary, this is really interesting reading, thank you. As a student of ecocriticsm, I wonder if a possible ‘turn off’ for those readers not that familiar with environmental writing is the use of ‘ecolanguage’ in some texts, by which I mean, references to species, plants, geographical structures. I’m currently looking at the benefits a hypertext might bring to environmental writing by providing links to explanations and/or multimedia to help readers visualise and otherwise experience the natural world more easily through narrative. Have you encountered any feedback on this point in your surveys?

    • This is interesting, and I think that when it comes to fiction, a lot of readers need an info diet and want to focus on stories instead. Personally, I like knowing details, but they can bog a story down. I think e-readers have built-in links that bring up definitions these days, but hypertext glossaries might be a good idea. The only downside I can think of would be that underlined or color-highlighted links could distract readers from the story, in which case a glossary at the end (which either isn’t linked to or has more of a passive link, i.e. no link decor) would be great.

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