Apocalypse PrettySoon: On Marcel Theroux's "Far North" & James Lovelock's "The Revenge of Gaia"

So right now I’m into Marcel Theroux’s new novel, Far North, coming out next month. It has much in common with several other post-apocalyptic novels floating in the literary air lately: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake. In all these scenarios environmental mayhem has driven the planet into a steep downward spiral, and in The Road and Far North (Atwood is a little quirkier and more metaphorical), there are slave gangs, random murder, and starvation. What makes Theroux’s book interesting is that it envisions some realistic if dire pronouncements about global warming come to fruition, and causing great hardship and ruin. A few years back (2006) James Lovelock, the eminent British scientist who is perhaps most famous for coining the Gaia hypothesis, published a terrifically gloomy nonfiction book titled The Revenge of Gaia. He sees no hope for staving off dire environmental collapse from global warming, and mocks the upbeat, can-do attitude of Al Gore, among others. (Basically he argues that China and India will lead us all to ruin on their way to jump on the bandwagon of Western-style consumerism.) I actually didn’t find it convincing. At times he comes across as a cranky old cuss being a bit too bleak. But one thing he envisions does make sense: If the lower-latitude nations and landscapes get too hot, people will naturally migrate north into Canada or Siberia, which will then have longer and more productive growing seasons. That’s part of Marcel Theroux’s vision of the world in Far North. It would be easy to say the title should be Far Fetched, but I don’t think so. Lovelock may exaggerate and lack faith in the resourcefulness of humanity, but he also has a brilliant mind that has already foreseen significant developments in these early years of the 21st century. 
Let’s hope he’s wrong.

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