Read: Termination Shock

read-termination-shock
Termination Shock, a big, fat novel from Neal.

Climate change is just one of those things. One of those things that send rational people into fits of rage and complete breakdown. And climate change] is political, at least now when the country has lost much of its bearing. So presenting this idea in a way that forces the reader to decide what is both realistic and simply futuristic is why this book is so good. Reading Termination Shock will set you free and it will also set you back.

If you don’t know Neal Stephenson well where ya been? Start with Snow Crash, a novel I have read again and again, and did I mention I’m not a huge sci-fi fan? I’m not. Rarely read it and rarely watch it but there are exceptions and Neal is one example. Termination Shock is a look at one potential future, one potential set of ingredients that form to create a planet we may or may not want to know.

As the Doomsday Glacier decides whether it wants to remain friends, the rest of the world is on plan to burn more coal in 2022 than it did in 2021, which explains pretty much everything. Our leadership isn’t leading and the public, for the most part, can’t be bothered. So what will happen to the world if we continue this trajectory. Termination Shock presents one version of our future world, one where some things are still “normal” while others might require an “Earth suit,” or the rebuilding of super-cities to deal with the flooding from rising seas. Humans might retain the goals of today, and the humor, relationships, and fossil burning themes for that matter, but the precipice is near for all to see and feel.

Scientists were testifying to Congress about climate change in the early 1980s. They did nothing. But what happens when begin to see the events of today. We no longer live in the models of theory, we live in the models of December tornadoes and complete lack of snowpack for much of the West. Now what? Books like this entertain us but also make us ponder our decisions, our votes, and our future. Get it, read it.

7 Comments on “Read: Termination Shock”

  1. Sounds like a book for me. I could well be wrong, but I like to think I’m fairly even-keeled (sp?). But In my 50+ years, I’ve never felt this way – this feeling that half the country says it’s day, the other half says it’s night. If you believe in climate change (I do), you’re terrified. I sometimes envy the people who don’t believe in it. If you believe it’s weird that people celebrate 17yos showing up at protests, you’re terrified. There are countries who view that inclination as a sickness. I want to live there. Then there’s my agnostic philosophical side – what supports the notion that it’s imperative we carry on? Save the planet for the future. Why, what is the goal? What are we doing now that is so different from the citizens of Pompeii? They were waking at dawn to bake the bread, worrying about their kids’ futures, watching the sun dial, looking forward to 5 o’clock somewhere. That volcano destroyed a city, it didn’t destroy the world. But if it had, would the universe have blinked? Or shed a tear? (Not a nihilist. I think we’re built to press on, and humans are happier when they see a reason to press on, but like Larry in The Razor’s Edge, I want to understand why it’s important to press on.)

    1. Scott, glad you surfaced! To “press on”, that is one I struggle with, especially at my age. Been watching Station 11, the pandemic series, and this also came up when watching and reading “The Road”. I seem to lean toward letting the virus just take me out, or taking myself out as the Mother character did in The Road. How about that for a Happy New Year!

      1. Chuck! You know how it goes. Sometimes there’s nothing to say, but you’re not rid of me yet. I know what you mean about pressing on. I’m not religious, so philosophically, I would never judge someone who decided their work was done here. But it’s interesting when looking at it 3rd person vs. 1st person. I somehow stumbled upon the things you, Dan, and others here see, do, and think about. I like that I have stumbled on these things – a good stumble. Boats rowing against the tide and all (I botched the quote) – I find solace in knowing your boats are out there.

        1. Daniel, the book is even better than the series. I’m about two thirds through it. As you would say, get it read it.

    2. Scott,
      We are dust. But our impact far outweighs our size. In both good and bad ways. Since childhood, I’ve felt like our species was destined to destroy itself. Corruption, laziness, greed. Haven’t changed my mind…yet.

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