Wednesday, March 21, 2012

''Polar City Red'' cli fi novel debuts for a warming world

''Polar City Red'' cli fi novel debuts for a warming world

Here’s a Dot Earth “Postcard” from Mounds, Oklahoma where sci fi
author Jim Laughter, 59 and a grandfather of four, has recently
published "Polar City Red" a climate
thriller about life in a desolate
polar city set in Alaska in 2075. [VIDEO HERE]

The book idea came from longtime Dot Earth commenter Danny Bloom,
whose global campaign about
and interest in "polar cities" goes back
to late 2006 and my Dot Earth post in March 2008, but the novel itself
belongs completely to Laughter (his real name, by the way, not a pen
name). It's his story, his theme, his cast of characters. In remarks prepared
for his Dot Earth postcard and accompanying video, Jim explains how the book
came to be and how his own thinking evolved as he wrote:

"Up until 2011 when I was first approached about writing a family
drama about climate chaos and set in a future time period in Alaska,
global warming was a term I’d only heard about in passing or on nature
documentaries. Politicians and Greenpeace environmentalists rattled on
about stuff that I didn’t understand. But now that I’ve had a chance
to dig into the cause and effect of global warming, I’ve grown to
realize that this old world is in trouble and we’re to blame.

"I spent hour after hour on the internet reading everything I could
find about global warming and the effects it is having on the polar
caps and Greenland ice sheets. I didn’t realize that only a three or
four degree increase in air temperatures can serve to melt ice that’s
been frozen for millions of years. Of course, I didn’t know carbon
dioxide from carbonated water when I started, but it didn’t take long
for me to realize that fossil fuel emissions are the culprit behind
the whole mess.

"But even though I learn quite a bit about global warming, I’m not a
scientist. I’m a storyteller. So I had to figure out a way to create a
good story around a serious problem. I knew I needed characters that I
could wrap the seriousness of global warming around without boring
readers with a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that neither of us would
understand. I think I got pretty close with "Polar City Red".

"My technical writing in the US Air Force had very little to do with
weapons, operations, or hardware. I was a supply and training NCO for
20 years. I dealt with people on a one-on-one basis, working in
customer service, training, etc. I didn’t carry a weapon even though I
was a weapons sergeant for a while. Then again, I was also a security
sergeant for a while in charge of top secret material. But if you know
what you’re looking for, that kind of information isn’t hard to find.
As for the science, I figured if I did good research and stuck to the
facts, I’m a good enough storyteller that I figured I could weave a
good story around it. But as we say in writing, if you don’t know what
you’re talking about, talk about it anyway. There’s always a critic
out there somewhere that will eventually contact you and tell you what
you did wrong.

''My grandchildren are very important to me. Every parent wants their
children to have it better than they had it. As a child, I knew I
would have opportunities that my parents never had. We were small town
people living in a big world. But that was in the 50s and 60s. The air
was clean and the streets were safe. Neither of those things apply
now. I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world where they can be
happy and prosper, a world where conservation isn’t a cliché, and a
world where business and politicians watch out for the future of the
planet instead of the next balance sheet or election result.

''I wish I had a crystal ball that I could look in to and see the
future. I’d like to know if fifty years from now we’d have a habitable
planet or not. I’m a student of history, so I know that people who
fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it. I turned
59-years old this month, so by the time global warming overtakes this
planets, I will have already shuffled off into eternity and my ashes
will be helping young things grow. But for the people alive at the end
of this century, I believe they will face a hostile world that has
turned its back on humanity and is looking for a fresh start. It may
take 100,000 years for the Earth to regain its balance, but it’s been
around for 4 billion years and has learned patience. I only wish we
could learn to respect her wishes and treat her with the dignity she

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