James Bradley’s Clade is in a genre I hadn’t heard of before – cli-fi.  Essentially, it’s a subset of science fiction that deals with climate change.  I was aware of books on the topic, but hadn’t realize they had their own genre.

The pace of the book caught me off guard at first.  Much of the reading I do is in the mystery genre, where an entire book may take place within a few weeks or months.  In Clade, decades fly by in the book.  My rough estimate is that the book covers about fifty years.

One of the first things I noticed was how well the writing flows.  Bradley has a very smooth writing style that carries the reader along.


The story is about people trying to survive as the effects of global warming become more pronounced.  Massive storms with flooding that kills millions, pandemic diseases, and the earth’s crust cracking as the ice caps melting and redistribute the weight of the water that had been trapped inside.

The basic plot of the book was simply survival.  Most of the characters weren’t pursuing a grand dramatic goal, but were instead simply trying to stave off destruction.

Nominally, the main characters in the book are Adam and Ellie, but a the book often drifts away from them for long stretches to follow lives of other people who are connected to them in some way.


One of the interesting aspects of the book was that it flipped between third person and first person narrative.  As an ensemble, the characters were sad – mostly resigned to their fate, but putting up an effort to delay it as long as possible.

I found the story of Adam and Ellie to be the saddest part of the book.  At first, it was a classic love story, with the two of them seemingly made for one another.  Then things changed, and their marriage was never the same after that.


I found myself enjoying Clade, although it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I liked.  The story is a fairly depressing look at the future, and even the happy moments in the book are fairly muted.  The characters were well-developed, with interesting back stories.  Mostly, I think I enjoyed the writing style.

If you enjoy cli-fi or sci-fi books, I’d recommend giving Clade a read.  If you haven’t read anything in this genre, I think you’ll see it as an easy introduction to the topic.


Clade was released on September 5, 2017.


[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Clade for review purposes.]

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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