Saturday, March 31, 2012

''Earth'' by David Brin -- published in 1990


Publication date -- 1990
Media type -- Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 601

Earth is a 1990 science fiction novel written by David Brin. The book was nominated for the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1991.

Set in the year 2038 A.D. post Jesus Christ, the book is a cautionary tale of the harm humans can cause their planet via disregard for the environment and reckless scientific experiments. The book has a large cast of characters and Brin uses them to address a number of environmental issues, including endangered species, global warming, refugees from ecological disasters, ecoterrorism, and the social effects of overpopulation. The plot of the book involves an artificially-created black hole which has been lost in the Earth's interior and the attempts to recover it before it destroys the planet. The events and revelations which follow reshape humanity and its future in the universe. It also includes a war pitting most of the Earth against Switzerland, fueled by outrage over the Swiss allowing generations of kleptocrats to hide their stolen wealth in the country's banks.

The scope of the story expands vastly as the plot gradually reveals itself, bringing into question the future course — and even the survival — of humanity.

Brin set this novel 50 years in 2038 in the future from the time he was writing in 1990, using the book as an opportunity to predict what technologies might — at that future date — be taken for granted day to day. Three technologies he predicted came to pass within only 8 years of the writing, include a media-centric, hypertext Internet, e-mail spam, and the proliferation of personal video recording devices.

Brin claimed at least 15 predictive hits in Earth including:

1 Global warming associated sea level rise and severe storm seasons.

2 Crisis habitat arks for endangered species, with a view to later restoration to the wild.

In Earth's 50 years from tomorrow...2038........A microscopic black hole has accidentally fallen into the Earth's core and the entire planet is in danger of being destroyed within two years. A team of scientists frantically searches for a way to prevent the ultimate disaster. But while they look for an answer, others argue that the only way to save the Earth is to let its human inhabitants become extinct: to let the million-year evolutionary clock rewind and start over.

BRIN WRITES: ''It's been more than a decade since Earth was first published in 1990........Since then, some things have eerily come true. [He started writing the book in 1987].

As for Global Warming, a looming refugee crisis, the need for young people to demand a place amid an aging population, the desperate struggle to preserve species and all the rest... even the notion of a micro-black hole as an ultimate "environmental threat"... none of these originated with me....

As writers go, I suppose I'm known as an optimist. So it seems only natural that this novel projects a future, (now less than forty years from now), where there's been just a little more wisdom than folly... perhaps a bit more hope than despair.

In fact, this is just about the most encouraging tomorrow I can imagine right now. What a sobering thought.

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