As a science fiction writer it is hard to avoid this subject. And so, in my book ‘Project Noah’ I deal with a ‘doomsday’ scenario for the world, with a little hope thrown in. However, those who have read my previous blogs that touch on this will know in general I’m an optimist, I believe that man has the ability to solve most problems that are thrown at him. However, I just wonder sometimes if he has the collective will. Perhaps this negativity is brought on by all the conflict that seems to exist in the world today. As a species we, at times, seem more intent on destroying each other, or at least those that don’t think like we do, than building a long term future on this planet. I know all generations hold some fear as to what we are doing with the world. Some thought Christopher Columbus and his ships would fall off the edge of the world. When the first steam engines came along people thought the speed would crush your chest. We’re always a bit afraid by the unknown.
However, I think that the difference for us, our generation, is that whilst the future is unknown, we can have a pretty good go at predicting likely scenarios. We know the Earth’s limitations and we can measure what we are doing to it. We have a good idea of its resources and how fast we’re depleting them. We know the world’s population and how fast that is growing in some places. We can also model the impact of what we’re doing on our and the planets future if we keep going our present course. We are not blind to how difficult it is going to be to keep the world fed. We know how many irreplaceable species will be driven to extinction and when. We know how soon we will have destroyed the majority of the earth’s rainforest if we keep going at the present rate. We can also predict what impact all that will have on the planet. Even those most hardened opponents of climate change must see that all that cannot be good for the well-being of the ecosystem that is planet earth. Let alone the depriving of our children and our children’s children of some of the natural wonders of this world.
So as writers and in particular science fiction writers can we do anything about it? Perhaps what we can do (as in Project Noah) is write about it. Perhaps science fiction is a way of getting the message across in a way that people will read and accept. Yes, it is fiction, but there will always be connections and parallels to what is happening today. Hopefully, people will see in post apocalypse science fiction glimpses of what might happen if we don’t change our ways as a species. Maybe it’s my imagination but there seems to have been a recent crop of post apocalypse fiction, I’ve just finished the excellent Hugh Howey ‘Wool’ trilogy. I guess more of this is being written because as writers we draw our inspiration from what is going on a round us.
So, as writers we should keep writing on the subject and the more people read it the more they might see the reality of what we are doing to the planet. And the more people that see that reality…, well you never know, as I said I try to be an optomist.
Views welcome, as always.