Putting the life back in science fiction

Tekelili! The Wilkes Land Gravitational Anomaly

Another little post, this one on a news item a few months old.  Whenever someone spots a gravity anomaly in Antarctica, people get silly, write things about how the tinfoil hat brigade think it’s a UFO, or an alien base, or NAZIs.   They’re so silly.  Of course it’s shoggoth (not sure what the singular or plural is.  Since shoggoth is sort of like concrete or nanotech, is it singular, plural, collective singular, collective plural, or what?).  Anything that close to the Transantarctic Mountains has to be.  it’s canon.

More seriously, there’s some potentially interesting science buried under the ice.   Continue reading

Two bits of news
March 10, 2016, 1:19 am
Filed under: book, Hot Earth Dreams, news, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Just another quick entry with two bits of news, one about Hot Earth Dreams, one about carbon production peaking (???) in 2015.

Continue reading

California in the High Altithermal, Part 3: natural Landscapes

Part 1 of this series can be found here.  Part 2 can be found here.

For Part 3, I want to start with two numbers: 2,644,443 and 200,000-300,000.  The first is what I predict, based on the formula in Hot Earth Dreams, would be California state population in 2100 CE, and I’ll get to how I calculated that in a second.  The second is the estimate of how many Indians lived in California before European contact.  The first I calculated by finding out California’s current population (rounded up to 39,000,000), it’s current annual growth rate (0.9%), and plugged the numbers into a compound interest equation and ran it out to 2050 (52,888,867.  Please check my math).  Then I applied the 95% dieoff from civilization collapsing between 2050 and 2100, and came up with a population of 2,644,443.  The thing to notice is that this number is still ten times higher than what the state supported before Europeans came along.  It’s also almost twice as high as the state population in 1900 (1,485,053), which suggests to me, sadly, that the scenario of a 95% population crash is probably too optimistic for California.

Continue reading

California in the High Altithermal, Part 1: The physical stuff

One of the things that bugs me is that, about half the time when I dawdle on writing something, new facts emerge that change everything. That’s happened here a bit.

This is part one of a series of blog posts about California in the High Altithermal, and here I’m focusing on the environment. What I’m doing is taking the ideas from Hot Earth Dreams and working to show what might happen in one specific spot, in this case, the area currently defined as the state of California, over a specific time period, in this case, the High Altithermal.

My goal is to show how climate change happens over time, because different things happen on different scales, and that makes the future a lot messier. It’s not meant to scare people, but rather to give us a way to intellectually examine this model of the future, and figure out how people and other organisms will adapt.

If you’ve already read the book, you know the basic global scenario for the High Altithermal, which will run from 2100 CE (when our greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels stop) to 3600 CE (when the East Antarctic ice sheet finishes melting, and sea level tops out at 65 meters above the current level). These dates aren’t hard: we don’t know when we’ll finish binging on fossil fuels, what Arctic methane is going to do, or whether or even if the entire East Antarctic ice sheet will melt. But that’s the scenario I’m using here. During the first 200 years of the High Altithermal, global average temperatures climb from +3oC (we’re currently at +1oC) to +8oC, and the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melt, raising sea levels by about 16 meters over those 200 years. From 2300 CE on, global average temperatures stabilize, and then start to fall 1-2oC over the next 1,300 years, while the sea continues to rise as the East Antarctic ice sheet melts away.

In this post, I’ll cover sea level rise, climate, and rivers and dams. This is necessary background, and I’m breaking it up into multiple posts so you don’t have to read a 7,000 word essay.

Continue reading

My first interview
January 27, 2016, 11:04 pm
Filed under: book, climate change, Hot Earth Dreams, Uncategorized | Tags:

Last week, I had a great Skype interview with Greg Moffitt, who runs the podcase Legalise Freedom.  I was curled up my couch with my computer in my lap to kill the echoes in my place and the tinniness from my computer’s microphone.  Greg and I talked for well over an hour, and the edited version of our conversation is  up  here (opens a new window), if you want to here my voice instead of simply reading it in your head.

I had a lot of fun doing it, and my thanks go to Greg for making my first long interview a really fun experience.

It’s Here! Sorta
November 12, 2015, 2:13 pm
Filed under: book, deep time, futurism, Hot Earth Dreams

1/25 update: Welcome Legalise-Freedom listeners and Archdruid Report readers! You can read the first five chapters and see the cover here.

Here is where Hot Earth Dreams is available:

Createspace as a paperback (https://www.createspace.com/5799140),

Amazon as a paperback (http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Earth-Dreams-climate-happens/dp/1517799392),

Kindle as a mobi  (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017S5NDK8),

Barnes and Noble as a paperback (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hot-earth-dreams-frank-landis-phd/1122947640),

Kobo as an epub (https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/hot-earth-dreams),

Smashwords as an epub, mobi, or lrf (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/593567).

All the ebook formats should not contain DRM.  Please let me know if they do.

Charlie Stross also allowed me to post a guest-blog at his site .  I’m not going to cross-post too much information, but there is one critical point:

Thank you to all the people who’ve read my posts, and, most especially, to those who have commented on them.  Over the last three years, I’ve tried out ideas from Hot Earth Dreams here, and the feedback I got, both positive and negative, really shaped what went into that book.  I couldn’t have done it without you, so thank you very much for your help, and I hope you enjoy it.

Well, one other thing: my publishing strategy is to self-publish first, to see how well it does.  I’m planning on shopping it around to mainstream non-fiction publishers, but according to what I’ve been told, a big part of a successful non-fiction proposal is the size of my existing audience.  If enough copies sell, it will level up to a publishing house, which will help get it in book stores, libraries, reviewed, and so forth.  This, of course, is where you come in.  If you like this book, review it online, tell your friends, talk about it, spread the word.  That’s the best advertising I can get right now, along with blurbs from Big Names (and if you are one, let me know)


Hot Earth Dreams Sample
November 3, 2015, 2:44 am
Filed under: book, futurism, Hot Earth Dreams, Real Science Content, Speculation | Tags: ,

Well, I was hoping to get that book out by now, but thanks to life intervening and Ol’ BigMuddy doing something interesting with the formatting, not to mention another round of copy editing, I’m planning to release it November 15, although that’s a soft deadline. The release will be a paperback version and a Kindle version, both available on Ol’ BigMuddy, in as many markets as I can get it into.

To whet your appetites, here’s a pdf sample from the paperback. Enjoy!

Hot Earth Dreams Sample

(update: you can see where to buy it here)