As some of you may know I also have an alter ego under the slight pseudonym J F Kirwan. So, for the past year I've been working on a three-part thriller series, and the second book just came out a few days ago. I have one more to write and publish before I return to science fiction.
If you like my SF writing, whether the Eden Paradox series of four books or my free short stories (here), you might like to try the thrillers in the meantime. But later this year I promise to get back to the next SF novel, 'When the Children Come.'
66 Metres and 37 Hours are ebooks and can be found here and here (they are also available on iBooks etc.).
Sunday, 2 October 2016
In my very first (and only) school debate, some years (okay, decades) ago, I tackled this subject, pointing out that humanity needed a Plan B in case we were unlucky or stupid enough to wipe ourselves out.
The Economist shoots down a couple of the basic arguments with sniper precision. Most pandemics and plagues, even of the most virulent kind, will not kill everyone. About 80% is the maximum conceivable, so there are still a lot of people left. And they point out that if aliens arrived, they could make quick work of Mars (probably before breakfast) before tackling more irksome Earth.
But they are missing something.
A massive, global pandemic would ravage the population. Let's take a worst case scenario, 80%. That's one in five who are left. Let's assume (and it's one hell of an assumption) that in the aftermath, those 20% decide to work together. Would they have the right skills? How long before infrastructure would fail at every level? We live in a world with very inter-connected and finely-tuned systems. How long would the internet keep running? Our phones? Power plants? The Grid? Aviation? Communications? Oil and gas? Many companies store their data and knowledge in the Cloud. Would it still be there? Would we even know what skill sets we required to get things back up and running?
We'd have to be fast, too. Because education would slip back quickly. Most people would end up having to run farms in order to survive (the film Interstellar is great on this) rather than learn engineering. And what of medicine, and MRI scanners and chemotherapy and and and...
Global nuclear war would be worse as infrastructure would be decimated. The social situation following such a catastrophe is simply unknowable, with science fiction writers the few who dare to tread there, and they are not painting a bright picture. Humanity would not be extinct, true, but we'd be set back at least decades, maybe centuries. But not so if people on Mars could come back and help fix things, help us re-boot our societies.
There is another reason to look to Mars, and the stars. It is to do so while we can. There is a belief that we can just keep going on getting better and smarter and tekkier. But we don't know what is around the corner. In my own SF book on this subject (the Eden Paradox), over the next few decades religious wars erupt and funding for space exploration is simply not available. Once again a valuable skill-set is lost, this time one to build a life-raft before climate change gets the better of us. So. Do it while you can. Because interplanetary travel is not something you can engineer in a year. It will take decades to get it right.
In July I visited Cape Canaveral and got to watch an Atlas V rocket launch. It was over fast, but it meant a lot to me. And that was just a spy satellite. I remember the hope and awe of the first landing on the moon, the inspiration it served for more than one generation. Imagine watching the launch of a rocket taking people to Mars. Imagine being able to point to a dim dot in the sky, and say, hey, there's people there, just like us.
Subscribe in a reader
1984 66 Metres 9/11 alien invasion aliens Aliette de Bodard Alistair Reynolds Altered Carbon Amazon Amazon sales Anvil of stars Arcs Arthur C Clarke artificial intelligence Artwork Asimov authors Avatar Avengers Babylon 5 Band of Brothers battle Battlestar Galactica beginnings Big Bang Theory Blade Runner Blockbusters blurbs book launch book signing books Bourne Legacy Brian Herbert Caprica characters Charlize Theron checklist Chess children clones Coldplay Colonialism conflict Contact Cornerstones corruption Cover Design creativity cross-genre cyber-terrorism Cyberpunk cyborg Da Vinci Code Dan Simmons David Brin Decision-making Deep Diving Deep Space Nine Deepsix Defiance Deleted Scene description deus ex machina dialogue Divergent Diving Douglas Adams Dreams drones Dune ebook ebook pricing Ebooks ed Ed Harris Eden's Endgame Eden's Revenge Eden's Trial editing Elon Musk Elysium Embassytown emotional resonance emotions Ender Ender's Game Enterprise Eon epic Equilibrium Fall of Hyperion Fan fiction Fantasy Farscape Fermi's Paradox Festival of Writing festivals fight scenes films final chapter Firefly first scene Forbidden Planet Foundation Frank Herbert Free ebook Fringe FTL galactic war Game of Thrones Gary Gibson gate-keepers Gattaca genetic enhancement George Orwell getting published Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Giveaway Goldilocks Zone Gravity Greg Bear Greg Egan Gregory Benford Grid News Hard Science Fiction Harry Potter Hell heroes Hohash horror Hyperion Iain Banks immortality Inception insomnia Interstellar Interviews Into Darkness J K Rowling Jack Campbell Jack McDevitt James Bond James Cameron jargon Jean Michel Jarre JK Rowling John Harris John Scalzi John Wyndham Kepler Kevin Anderson kindle language Larry Niven Last human Lee Child lies literary agencies Locked Down Lord of the Rings Lost Fleet love machine intelligence Mad Max Mark Twain marketing Mars Matrix mediciine Michael Crichton Middle Mike Formicelli military science fiction Millennium mindships Mindstar Rising Miyamato Musashi movies Mundane Science Fiction music Nancy Kress NASA Neal Asher Neuromancer nightmares Novel-structuring opera Orson Scott Card outcasts page-turner Paris Writers Workshop Peter F Hamilton Pink Floyd pitching your book Planet of the Apes planets plot-lines plotting Point of View post-apocalypse POV process Prologue Prometheus Pseudonyms publishing Q Quantum Leap Rama Readings Resurrection Reverse writing reviews Richard Morgan Ringworld Robocop Sales Science Fiction Scifi Scuba Diving self-publishing Self/Less selling ebooks sequels ships short stories Sixty-Six Metres slipstream social media Space space battles Space opera Space travel space-ships Sphericon Spiders ST-NG Stanley Kubrick Star Trek Star Trek Voyager Star Wars Stargate stargate universe Steampunk Stephen Baxter Stephen Clarke Stephen Hawking Stieg Larsson stories strategy Sun Tzu super-powers Superheroes Taken2 Teaser techno-thriller telepathy tension terrorism The Abyss The Borg the Economist The Eden Paradox The Script Thor thrillers; science fiction Timelike Infinity Tolkein tourniquet tourniquet plotting Transpace TV series Uplift Villains Voice Voyager war weapons When the children come World-building writer's block writerholism Writers Workshop Writing writing conferences writing groups Xeelee Zack
- ► 2016 (15)
- ► 2015 (48)
- ► 2014 (35)
- ► 2013 (41)
- ► 2012 (72)