April 21, 3012
By אמת מטרידה
pen name of Emmet Matridah
I have seen the future and it's dank, dark and dystopian. At least in one Oklahoma author's eyes, it is.
As a global climate activist focusing on the concept of polar cities for survivors of climate chaos in the distant future, I commissioned sci-fi writer Jim Laughter in Oklahoma last summer to write a novel about mankind's shaky future on this third rock from the sun, and he immediately said yes. His book, titled “Polar City Red” is out now from AWOC Books in Texas, and the entire story, from page one to the final paragraph, belongs to Mr. Laughter. His name is on the book cover, not mine, and all profits, if any, go to him.
I've read the book, of course, and I can tell you this: climate denialists are going to say it's not science, and die-hard climate activists are going to say it's just fiction.
But Mr Laughter's book would make an interesting movie in the future dystopia department, following up on such Hollywood films as “City of Ember” and “The Road.” Not to mention "The Day After Tomorrow."
Mr Laughter's pulp “polar Western” is set in the Last Frontier of Alaska in the 2070s and it poses a very important and headline-mirroring question: Will mankind survive the “climapocalypse” coming our way as the Earth heats up over the next few centuries?
As sea levels rise and millions of “climate refugees” make their way north to Alaska, Canada, Russia and Norway, think scavenger camps, “Mad Max” villages, and U.N.-administered “polar cities” — cities of domes, as Mr Laughter (his real name) calls them.
“Polar City Red” is more than mere science fiction. Laughter is a retired USAF technical writer who has lived all over the world on military assignments. The retired grandfather of four comes across as a probing moralist and a modern Jeremiah. His worldview befits a former Christian pastor who built two churches and still finds in his inherited religion both an anchor and a place for hope.
His book is not just about climate change or northern dystopias. It's also about the moral questions that must guide humanity as it tries to keep a lid on global warming's worst-case scenarios while also looking for solutions to mankind's worst nightmare: the possible final extinction of the human species due to man's own folly and extravagant ways. Can a small 200-page book do all that? No, it's just entertainment, a good book to put on your to-read reading list.
Writing the novel took Mr Laughter seven months of nonstop research and keyboarding, he told me, but I have a feeling that what he wrote will last 100 years.
It's more than a “cli-fi” thriller. It also exposes the underbelly of humankind's most terrifying nightmare: the possible end of the human species and G-d's deep displeasure at what His people have done to His Earth. Even if you're an atheist, as I am, Laughter touches a nerve.
The book is prophetic, futuristic and moralistic. As a reader, you will get through this one alive. But will our descendants, 100 or 1,000 years from now, survive the The Grear Interruption we find ourselves in now? That's the question that Mr Laughter poses.
Fortunately, the book ends on a note of hope and redemption, so it's not a downer at all. You and your loved ones need to read it. As Laughter himself says in the introduction, quoting Christopher Morley: “When you sell a man a book, you don't sell just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue — you sell him a whole new life.”
“Polar City Red” won't give you a whole new life, and it just might give you a headache and heartburn instead. But as the world heads closer and closer to climate chaos, Laughter's book is prophetic and visionary.
Emmet Matridah is an American climate activist based in Taiwan. His climate blog can be accessed at http://pcillu101.blogspot.com/