Putting the life back in science fiction


Dystopia or Utopia: Either way it hurts
April 10, 2020, 2:05 am
Filed under: disasters, futurism, Hot Earth Dreams, Uncategorized

I’m doing fine, asymptomatic at the moment and hoping to stay that way until a working vaccine shows up.  Hope you’re the same, or better yet, that you had a mild case and are now immune.

Anyway, good wishes aside, I wanted to say something I haven’t dared say for weeks: as bad as this crisis is, I suspect it’s a training wheels exercise for what we’ll have to do to deal with climate change.  What I think right now is that if we seriously try to flatten the curve on greenhouse gas emissions, that effort is going to be like what we’re going through now, but longer and more thoroughly disruptive.  It pretty much has to be if we’re going to avoid a mass extinction.

However, if you’re an artist looking for inspiration out of the darkness, that isn’t a bad thing. Continue reading



The inevitable Covid-19 post
March 20, 2020, 6:14 pm
Filed under: disasters, Hot Earth Dreams, livable future, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

There’s not too much I can say about Covid-19, but there are some things that need to be said.

First, stay safe.  This is going to go on for months, and it’s unlikely we’re going to go back to things they were the way before even after there are effective vaccines, treatment, and herd immunity. Continue reading



Predictions for 2020 and beyond
December 30, 2019, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s almost the end of the year, so here are some predictions for 2020 and the 2020s.

Continue reading



A Panglossian Cli-Fi Alt-History, for the holidays
December 14, 2019, 10:54 pm
Filed under: alt-future, science fiction, Uncategorized

Just some positive thinking–what’s happening to me?–for the holidays.  This is another in my series of alt-histories I wish someone else would write, and it’s kind of in the spirit of DC’s famous Watchmen comic.

Continue reading



2019 Predictions. How badly did I do?
December 14, 2019, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Back on December 27, 2018, I posted a set of predictions.  I haven’t posted much since then, because I’ve been annoyingly busy with conservation work, fighting a bunch of leapfrog sprawl developments in San Diego County.  Most of that I can’t really talk about due to litigation issues, but I can at least go over the predictions I made a year ago and score how well I did.

Here they are. Continue reading



Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis and Alt-History

Just a quick note for those who, like me, need to fiddle for a few hours while the world burns.  Oh wait, that’s not quite what I meant, but anyway, if you want a distraction, here’s one: the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis.

Continue reading



The anarchist lich cult of intergenerational wealth
June 6, 2019, 11:55 pm
Filed under: American politics, book, economics, Legacy Systems, Speculation, Uncategorized

Time to use the blog to take a break from real life.  With our overheating hot local economy, there are numerous and problematic developments going through.  Since I work on conservation issues for an NGO, I’ve my energy the last three months dealing with all these projects, writing letters and testifying.  It’s basically something new every week.  I won’t get a serious break until the next recession, looks like.  Or until I write a blog entry.

Anyway, I haven’t been completely busy, and I have had time to read.  This isn’t a book review, more of an impressionistic rant based on some of the stuff I’ve been reading.  In part as opposition research, in part as research for how to write a wealthy villain, in part because it sounded cool in a radio interview, a few months ago I read (and recommend) Brooke Harrington’s Capital without Borders.  It’s a sociological study of wealth managers, the profession that helps the super-rich hide their money through offshore financial centers.  Prof. Harrington did a really neat study: she embedded herself in the community by taking (and passing) the wealth management training and certification course, interviewing as she went.  She was quite open about what she was doing, but because she has exquisite people skills and put in her time in the trenches studying with the rest of the students, passing the tests and getting credentialed, she got wealth managers to open up to her and to talk about their world and the clients they serve.  Her book is a very lucid exploration of an industry that prides itself on discretion and secrecy.  This book necessarily is about the nuts and bolts of how things work.  Anecdotes are used to illustrate more than titillate, and all of the identifying details are stripped off. Continue reading



The Blue Sky Tipping Point
February 25, 2019, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Altithermal, climate change, deep time, Hot Earth Dreams, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Got some new climate science to talk about, yay! Actually, it’s not good news, but it is fairly solid model evidence for tipping point, up around 1200 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere (as I write this, we’re around 410.81 ppm).

The cause of the tipping point is Continue reading



Predictions for 2019
December 27, 2018, 5:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Although I didn’t realize that my last post was July 14.  I’ve been busy with stuff I can’t talk about (not writing a book, sadly) and family issues.

It being the end of 2018, what to predict for 2019? Continue reading



Hot Earth Dreams, 2.5 years on
June 22, 2018, 4:26 pm
Filed under: futurism, Hot Earth Dreams, Uncategorized | Tags:

Sorry for not blog posting.  We’ve been in the middle of a housing blitz, wherein developers, aided and abetted by the County of San Diego, are trying to ram through a bunch of high end, environmentally damaging housing developments.  They realized we’re slow to respond, so they’re trying to inundate us.

Still, I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about Hot Earth Dreams, which was published back at the end of 2015.  Before I published it, I seriously considered sending it to a conventional publisher.  Aside from its unconventional format and my lack of a guaranteed audience as a Celebrity Scientist, the problem with conventionally publishing  was that (given the normal one year lag between submission and appearance) it would have been published in December 2016.  While I didn’t think we’d have the politics we currently have, I did think it would disappear in the media noise.

The book’s sold pretty well.  While it didn’t sell well enough to immediately make the jump to commercial success, it’s still selling a few copies every quarter, all over the world.  The reviews on Amazon have been mostly positive, too, surprisingly for a book on climate.  Thanks to all who reviewed it!

Hot Earth Dreams actually changed my life, in good and bad ways.  One good (?) way is that it got me seriously engaged in climate activism.  I’d originally intended the book more as a source-book for writing cli-fi, but once I had some idea of where we’re likely headed, I couldn’t just sit back and profiteer off it.  I had to get involved.  One bad (?) change is that I’ve had to deal with anxiety issues ever since.  You can’t live with even a speculative apocalypse for three years and not be affected by it.  My coping strategy is meditation, and it does help quite a bit.

But I’ll bet you might be wondering what comes next, and the answer is yes, I am planning a substantial rewrite. A lot has changed since I started writing in 2012.  Back then, I was struggling, a chapter at a time, to understand what was going on.  After sitting with all the information for years, I have a better idea of how all my half-formed ideas fit together.  Rather more importantly, there’s been quite a lot of scholarship since the 2012-2015 timeframe I was writing in, and some of it has been quite useful.  And then, of course, I got a bunch of comments.  Most of them were about typos, but a few were substantive, and all were welcome.

So yes, there will be a new version of Hot Earth Dreams coming out sometime.  I hope it will be in 2019, but given politics and life, who knows?  It will be a different book, one aimed a bit more at helping people, as well as a source-book for the distant future.  Perhaps this gives you something to look forward to?