It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Dark Fantasy

OK, I admit, I'm doing a lot of cutting and pasting here of late; my writing time is elsewhere.

But I really think this one needs to be shared. By Ray Pierrehumbert, from Science Fiction Atmospheres[PDF], Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 86, 696-698:
Despite these examples, and a few others, ”Atmospheric Science Fiction”
remains largely unexploited territory, at least in comparison to astrophysics,
and (recently) nano- and bio- tech. ... how about this one, verging on the world
of fantasy: A cult of philosophers discovers a subtle knife which can open
windows into the deep interior of the planet, bringing to the surface potent
black fluids or solids whose energy transforms society and makes everybody
more powerful than they could ever have dreamed of previously. But just
when everybody is most hooked by the Dark Power, a lonely savant discovers
that its use releases a substance that threatens to tear asunder the very fab-
ric of the planet’s habitable climate. At first, like Dr. Thomas Stockmann
in Ibsen’s Enemy of the People he is scorned and shunned, but eventually
(unlike the case of poor Stockmann) the greatest savants and wizards of the
world come to realize that he is right. Despite this, the faction favoring
the Dark Power has the upper hand. The emperor of the most powerful
kingdom on the planet dismisses the threat of Dark Power, and even wishes
to use the subtle knife to expose more, in hitherto sacred areas of the Far
North. In the innermost council chambers, the closest counselors to the em-
peror wave about propagandistic fictionalized accounts casting doubt on the
threat of Dark Power, unable or unwilling to distinguish fabrication from
reality. Meanwhile, inexorably, the world keeps getting warmer. No, that
plot line is too improbable – and too scary. Better not go there.

4 comments:

Vinny Burgoo said...

Then along comes the Bright Wind Elf, graceful and pretty and full of hope. 'Weebles!' she cries. 'Just wobble the weebles in the right way and the Dark Power will surely fall down!'

'What's a weeble?' ask the dissident savants and wizards.

'It's lovely!' cries the Bright Wind Elf. 'It'll make everything lovely!'

'How?'

'DENIERS!' screeches the Bright Wind Elf and flutters rapidly but prettily off out the window to bother someone else.

A moment of silence.

Savant A: 'Blimey! I would.'

Savant B: 'I know you would.''

Wizard A: 'Yes, in a very real sense, all of us are, from time to time, driven to acknowledge the truth of the saying, "Look at the tits on that!" Or something very similar, anyway.'

More silence.

Enter a close counsellor armed with a subtle knife.

'Cup of tea, lads?'

NEXT WEEK: They boil a kettle.

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Someone needs to work in something about the stolen secret manuals of the Climatati, or whatever that group is called in that universe.

-- bi

Arthur said...

Ibsen's Enemy of the People is what I've often thought of in this context. Really, the playwright about said it all right there over 100 years ago.

In my dark fantasies right now, I see scientists and other reality-based folk getting so fed up with this sort of nonsense from "the people" that they do the "go Galt" thing themselves. Or like Asimov's Hari Seldon, figure out how to use present resources to set things up so we recover civilization as quickly as possible from the inevitable collapse the current generation is bringing on.

But then I wake up and realize we really have no choice now but to fight as hard as we can for our children's future, no matter what level of stupidity we have to fight against.

David B. Benson said...

Tragedy of the Commons