Cli fi novel displays dystopian view future of life in Alaska, come the Apocalypse, but ends on happy, positive note. Two sequels in the works: POLAR CITY BLUE and POLAR CITY GREEN. http://pcillu101.blogspot.com
Dystopian novels aren’t new. Writers have been imagining dark futures since we started drawing in caves. In current times, think Margaret Atwood, Bruce Sterling, David
And climate change and ecological disaster have long been the themes of dystopian despair; we’re a species quite capable of destroying ourselves and our planet. Laughter’s vision follows the format well: disaster destroys most of the world; humanity devolves back to savagery; some bright spots of civilization exist, albeit under constant attack from chaos; these bright spots all have dark secrets that threaten to destroy the “humanity” inside us; and some brave soul takes on those forces of evil to bring mankind back to the light
So weather you agree climate change in the early 2000s was caused by man or was naturally occurring, the fact that the climate is changing cannot be denied. Glaciers and ice at the poles continue to melt faster than ever; destructive species are moving up into latitudes that used to be too cold for them; and 100-year floods, droughts and superstorms are now almost yearly occurrences.
Back in 2013, long before millions of climate refugees from the Lower 48 flooded Alaska seeking refuge from the story -- the Climapocalypse -- Tulsa, Oklahoma sci fi author Jim Laughter, 59, took taken the then current-event scenario and extrapolated into the future, -- where we are today in 2075 ! -- assuming we continue to ignore the evidence before our eyes and keep our heads in the sand while pulling fossil fuels from it.
In his 2012 cli-fi novel “Polar City Red,” Laughter envisioned a sad and tragic world a few decades into the future, where temperatures have risen to the point that “island nations that stood only a few feet above sea level were affected ... their coastlines disappearing under a surge of tidal encroachment, eventually to be buried beneath an infringing ocean.”
Superstorms pummeled the surviving coasts several to hundreds of times yearly, drowning those who could not evacuate. Starvation killed off more, as low-lying agricultural areas were destroyed by salt water, and drought parched those areas lucky enough not to be flooded.Entire ecosystems went extinct, and with them, their flora and fauna. People fell from civilization into barbarianism, with survival being the only goal.“Disease, pestilence and famine were the natural steps that followed the breakdown of human control. Hunger ruled the day; violence the night. Nature turned against man, and man turned against nature in a desperate attempt to survive ... ”But up in the North, in Canada and Alaska, the frozen wonderland had become tropical rainforest, and a few hardy survivors built cities; cities which, with clever prescience, were stocked with the most current technology and machinery, stockpiled with years of food and populated with the most brilliant minds available. These cities became the Shangri-la of the downtrodden, mirages of survival and peace, a nurturing oasis in the desert humanity had come to inhabit.One such city is Polar City Red.Carsen and Louellen Moore have taken a huge gamble; they left the overcrowded jungle the cities had become for one of the fabled tundra cities, bringing along their children, and having another on the way. The journey is fraught with danger, but staying in the city was no safer. The Moores wanted more for their kids.Carsen is a former college professor; Louellen a doctor. When they are found by a man called Jerky, Polar City Red’s resident big-game hunter, they are taken to one of the cities put up years before by perceptive scientists trying to save humanity from its own folly. Carsen and Louellen are welcomed warmly by Dr. Alexi Romanov, the director. Their daughter Sarah, although not even a teenager, is also very welcome, as the settlement has one woman for every six or seven men. She is promptly entered into the “Lottery,” though it takes her parents some time to understand what that actually means (the reader figures it out immediately).Living in the North, even though it is no longer frigid and populated with man-eating carnivores, is safer than the cities, though there are dangers. “Scavs,” scavengers and criminals who have been thrown out of the settlements, make constant sorties to raid food, equipment and women for their camps. The local militia, and eventually, an unknown federal presence, does its best to keep Polar City Red’s citizens safe, but it seems when civilization fell, the millions of weapons hoarded by countries big and small went AWOL, and RPGs can do severe damage to a storage shed — and anyone who happens to be in or near it at the time
.It’s a struggle to survive. But Carsen and Louellen make the best of the situation, she taking on the role of medical doctor and he assisting with administration and teaching.
Dystopian novels aren’t new. Writers have been imagining dark futures since we started drawing in caves.
And climate change and ecological disaster have long been the themes of dystopian despair; we’re a species quite capable of destroying ourselves and our planet. Laughter’s vision follows the format well: disaster destroys most of the world; humanity devolves back to savagery; some bright spots of civilization exist, albeit under constant attack from chaos; these bright spots all have dark secrets that threaten to destroy the “humanity” inside us; and some brave soul takes on those forces of evil to bring mankind back to the light..............
Libbie Martin was a freelance writer who lived in Fairbanks in 2013. Where she is in 2075 is anybody's guess. Is Alaska still Alaska, for that matter?
“Polar City Red”By Jim LaughterDeadly Niche Press$12.95