What If We Just Went Ahead and Saved the World? Taking Action in the Climate Crisis Or: Why Frank Schätzing should stick to writing Thrillers

Arts Main Lecture Threatre (120)
Wednesday 1 June 2022 (17:00-18:30)

Dr Klaus Richter (k.richter@bham.ac.uk)

Professor Sabine von Mering (Brandeis) will deliver this years Distinguished Lecture of the Institute for German and European Studies.

An unknown life-form dubbed yrr punishes the human race for killing the oceans by launching climatic changes, epidemics, and violent attacks; that’s how German author Frank Schätzing (born 1957 in Cologne) fictionalized contemporary ecocide in his mammoth 1000-page bestselling cli-fi thriller Der Schwarm [The Swarm]. His 2021 book Was, wenn wir einfach die Welt retten? Handeln in der Klimakrise [What If We Just Went Ahead and Saved the World? Taking Action in the Climate Crisis], at 300 pages comparatively short, comes across as a direct, somewhat personal, somewhat passionate appeal to take action to protect the climate. But although Schätzing sprinkles his book with a good portion of scientific facts (as he did in The Swarm), the well-meaning appeal ultimately gets lost between artificial dramatic tension, cheap laughs, outright climate denial, and a disturbingly blind faith in technology and artificial intelligence. In her lecture, Professor von Mering will compare Schätzing’s latest text with other publications dedicated to promoting climate advocacy and discuss the importance of climate protection as a subject for the humanities.

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