If you think the answer to that question is the genre is already there, it's called science fiction, then you are missing the key word literary.
The linked article talks about a new novel — "Odds Against Tomorrow" — and what "literary" means is conveyed by statements like this by the author Nathaniel Rich:
"I think we need a new type of novel to address a new type of reality.... which is that we're headed toward something terrifying and large and transformative. And it's the novelist's job to try to understand, what is that doing to us?"And:
"I don't think that the novelist necessarily has the responsibility to write about global warming or geopolitics or economic despair.... But I do feel that novelists should write about what these things do to the human heart — write about the modern condition, essentially."Rich says "the novelist," but he means the literary novelist. This superior individual is the one who understands that it is his job to understand deeply what is happening deep inside. Those sci-fi genre writers might describe what happens to the exterior world, but the literary writer describes what that world does to us... to the heart... the human heart. What's the point of saying "human heart," by the way? Was it possible to to think we were talking about other beast's heart? Perhaps extra words seem literary.
"Odds Against Tomorrow" was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which I just mentioned 3 days ago in a discussion about self-publishing that made a distinction between sci-fi and "high-end literary fiction." Sci-fi might do well self-published as an ebook...
But high-end literary fiction? Think you can attract the readers of that kind of material without a brand like Farrar Straus & Giroux attached? It's "high-end" and "literary" because high-end literary experts have done the filtering. Without that, all you have is pretension from an earnest soul who is self-publishing. How do you get that absurdly clunky vehicle going?Speaking of extra words seeming literary, "high-end literary fiction" was not my phrase. It came from a literary agent. A high-end literary agent.
IN THE COMMENTS: betamax3000 has some great "Climate Change Fitzgerald" material, riffing on the old "Gatsby" project sentences. For example: "Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crêpe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering due to Climate Change."
This is a game we can all play. Here's mine, based on my favorite of all the old "Gatsby" sentences: "He went out of the room calling 'Ewing!' and returned in a few minutes accompanied by an embarrassed, extremely sweaty young man, with shell-rimmed glasses and scant hair scorched blond by the overbearing sun of Climate Change."