Thursday, March 25, 2010

mini review: 2045: A Story of Our Future

by Peter Seidel Prometheus Books 2009 333 pages

Carl goes into a coma in 2010 and wakes up 35 years later. He's still 40 years old, but the world has drastically changed. The environment has gone to hell, with predictable extreme heat, and eight corporations run the world with undercover police.

It's a good dramatic premise, and Carl's dilemma is believable. But too much explanation distances us from the action. Carl is too often "astounded" and "bewildered." Other flaws include a sometimes pedantic tone and a rather preachy "Afterthought."

Carl's adventures are convincing, but one wishes Seidel had immersed himself more subjectively in this all too probable new world.

My own futuristic eco-thriller, Human Scale, has just been published, by Plain View Press. You'll find it both more engrossing and more chilling than Seidel's.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Age of Stupid: the movie

This film grabs you by the gut. Why?

It's a hodgepodge. A series of video clips from our time showing the behavior and attitudes of the culture causing climate change. Powerful images, from Kenyans who can't find clean water, to a British neighborhood fighting wind turbines, to an affluent Indian building an airline.

It's hard to tell whether director Franny Armstrong had any plan in mind other than cumulative effect. But it works. It's all held together by a grim faced narrator telling the story in 2050. He leans into the camera, right into your face, his unremitting expression of grief and disbelief hauntingly unforgettable.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yes, Virginia, Global Warming Causes Earthquakes

Two geologists explain.

Ice is extremely heavy, and glaciers are massive sheets of ice. Professor Patrick Wu (Univ of Alberta) says that the weight of the ice suppresses the earthquakes, but when glaciers begin to melt, that pressure is released, and "earthquakes get triggered," as well as tsunamis (which are underwater earthquakes). He adds that melting ice in Antarctica is already triggering earthquakes and "underwater landslides."

Prof. Bill McGuire (Univ. College of London) says, "All over the world, evidence is stacking up that changes in global climate can and do affect the frequencies of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and catastrophic seafloor landslides."

This is only the tip of the iceberg, folks, if you'll excuse the expression. What's happening in Haiti and Chile will be routine news items ten years from now.