Dragonfly.eco is a news and reference site for ecologically oriented fiction. Because this site has expanded so much in the past few years, here is a tour guide to help you navigate your way around.
First things first, you might have noticed that Dragonfly.eco is the new domain for the old eco-fiction.com site, which began in early 2014. Before that, for a few weeks, I used the domain clifibooks.com, but felt that climate fiction was a subgenre of the overall topics I wanted to explore in eco-fiction. Don’t worry about the old sites’ links. They will redirect here for a very long time. So if you had an interview or spotlight at the old site, it will point to this site. Why the change? Dragonfly.eco is a great name, the .eco domain is a worthy cause (one which was not around when I first began the site), and I just wanted to concentrate my explorations of this wonderful literature in one place.
- More about us. I, Mary Woodbury, am the creator of this site and author of all content unless otherwise indicated. My husband Morgan has also worked endlessly on the more technical aspects of this site, including the book database. See the growing list of contributors to the site. I’ve also recently added an Affiliates & Features section, which highlights monthly posts from people and organizations with whom we have collaborated. If you are interested in becoming a Dragonfly affiliate, please contact me. It’s not a formal partnership, just a way to get some of your monthly content posted here.
- The book database: Every book I post here is auto-added to our database, thanks to post fields and a searchable table created by my other half, Morgan. The database is extensive and diverse. You might say, “Wait, I don’t see a book that should be here.” The database is always a work-in-progress. Despite Morgan’s building of the database, I run this site voluntarily and when I have time (after my day job and my own writing). Sometimes all it takes is just an email to me about a book you think should be here, and I’ll most likely add if it fits the notability criteria listed at the Add a Book page. So the database is really just a big library of books falling into the broad category of eco-fiction.
- “Moby Dick, wait–how is that eco-fiction!” I don’t make these determinations on my own. But the novel did make a statement on the whaling industry, so in that sense it fits this type of fiction–while also falling into other genres, of course. I rely on media and book descriptions, and on Jim Dwyer’s field guide to eco-fiction, for help when deciding to add stories to this site. Though there are some formulaic approaches to this literature (see “What is Eco-fiction?”), the field of literature is broad. But at its essence, eco-fiction is strongly motivated by concerns about our natural world and can take place across genres, time, and space. How the story unfolds varies–it might fall within the sphere of advocacy, be a political statement, play out as a literary romp, or live wildly as any one of multiple types of genre fiction.
- Themes: Environmental storytelling is so elastic that it occurs across platforms and infuses itself into all types of fiction. The database, for instance, recognizes some of the categories/genres of fiction in which ecological oriented fiction tends to fall, including adventure, suspense, crime, romance, humor, thriller, weird fiction, fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, literary fiction, and various punk fictions (and much more). Within these genres are a host of audiences, including young adult/teen, children’s, and all (LGTBQ+ and woman’s are categories). And within this field are a large number of topics: climate change (which has a huge focus here), wildlife, biodiversity, industry injustice, conservationism, dwindling landscapes, fossil fuels, sea stories, plastic islands, biotech, and on and on. It’s really endless, and of course most of these themes overlap with each other at some point. Also, the type of literature covered is diverse: dystopian, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, utopian, contemporary, historical, past, present, future–you name it. Anyway, I prefer exploring stories rather than labels, so let’s move on.
- Authors: I’ve been doing author interviews since the site began back in 2013. It’s part of the site I like best because I get to know people and learn what’s beyond a story. In the fall of 2014 I added a new interview section: “Women Working in Nature and the Arts” series. This added a layer of the arts to the literary site–and since then I’ve run a Google+ (which became defunct in April 2019) and a Facebook group dedicated to the overall concept of literary and other arts intersecting with ecology and climate change. Around that time I also met Chantal Bilodeu, founder and editor of Artists and Climate Change (AACC). I would highly recommend her site if you are wanting to find more about artists overall, instead of just fiction writers. Note that the author interviews are now integrated within various spotlight series.
- Turning the Tide: The Youngest Generation. This section, new as of July 2019, compiles a lot of children’s, teen, and YA fiction already at the site, gathering it in one place for easy access and promising ongoing highlights on fiction aimed toward younger audiences. Inspired by the youth of the world today, such as Greta Thunberg, I figured young literary heroes would be inspiring!
- The Dragonfly Library: This is a hidden gem full of treasure, so much so that it used to sit on its own subsite, staring in 2016. The library has over 100 excerpts of eco-writers’ works–fiction, non-fiction, prose, and even graphic novels.
- Authors tackling climate change. I began this spotlight in October 2016. I wanted to focus on the modern crisis we all face–global warming–and take a look at the movers and shakers writing fiction about it. The spotlights are really diverse; the authors write across genres, with varying levels of subtlety or frankness about our changing world. Climate change isn’t just a backdrop to their novels; it shapes their stories strongly. This is an ongoing series and sometimes includes mini-interviews. This series is now being syndicated as “Wild Authors” at AACC. In April of 2019, I blended this spotlight series with the world eco-fiction series (see below).
- World Eco-fiction Series: Climate Change and Beyond. In early 2018, I realized just how many novels from around the world were in our database and decided to focus on them in a new series. Unfortunately, it seems that most modern media often ignores novels set outside North America and Europe, where environmental impacts are most often felt more and where some media (such as The Guardian) has shown that climate change is a racist crisis. I also added a new translate button at the site in hopes to draw readers from all over. I was inspired by Adam Kirsch’s The Global Novel: Writing the World in the 21st Century. The Columbia Global Reports states: “The global novel, he [Adam] finds, is not so much a genre as a way of imagining the world, one that allows the novel to address both urgent contemporary concerns—climate change, genetic engineering, and immigration—along with timeless themes, such as morality, society, and human relationships. Whether its stories take place on the scale of the species or the small town, the global novel situates its characters against the widest background of the imagination. The way we live now demands nothing less than the global perspective our best novelists have to offer….Life lived here is experienced in its profound and often unsettling connections with life lived elsewhere, and everywhere. The local gains dignity, and significance, insofar as it can be seen as a part of a worldwide phenomenon.” This series is pretty new, so just watch for monthly additions. This is also now united with the old climate change spotlight series.
- Links and Resources: A large list of publishers, journals, projects, and bloggers with similar themes as this site.
- Film and Video: Since early 2015, I’ve added an inspirational song each week or two that tells a story about our natural environment. I’ve also kept a list of films related to climate change since 2014. Both these features, along with some new sections (author talks, educational talks, and spoken word), are now at a the film and video link. While the newer sections are so new there’s not much there, these videos will grow as time goes on.
- Other resources–click the “Dig Deeper” menu item at the top of the page. You’ll find the occasional review, academic study, or other guest post submission.