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The 'Lady Astronaut' Series as Climate Change Wish Fulfillment

Gary Oswald

It was Vampire Unions that got us Vampire Weekend
Sea Lion Press staff
Published by SLP
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he/him
As I said to alex in pms, @Thande 's excellent 'The Twilight's last Gleaming' is an interesting contrast to this in that that's set in the 1880s and likewise sees the government's of the day react decisively to a threat of climate change caused by the impact of a comet but in that case they do so by invading those countries better suited to survive and sticking the boot into the last remaining corners of the world free from European colonialism. Which is the counter to do nothing governments, governments who do things but not maybe the things you want them to do.
 

Thande

Bündnis für Freizeit, Garagetigkeit und Nachmittag
Published by SLP
As I said to alex in pms, @Thande 's excellent 'The Twilight's last Gleaming' is an interesting contrast to this in that that's set in the 1880s and likewise sees the government's of the day react decisively to a threat of climate change caused by the impact of a comet but in that case they do so by invading those countries better suited to survive and sticking the boot into the last remaining corners of the world free from European colonialism. Which is the counter to do nothing governments, governments who do things but not maybe the things you want them to do.
It was predominantly a response to the idea that in apocalyptic fiction the Rugged Individualist surveys the blasted land after the government has fallen, whereas the more likely outcome is that governments are the last thing to fall after all the Rugged Individualists have long starved to death.

I also wanted to emphasise the more opportunistic aspect of foreign policy, especially in that age; unlike Stirling's Peshawar Lancers, the fact that India is badly damaged in the initial crisis means it gets swiftly thrown under the bus by the British government in favour of pastures new, rather than there being a romantic attachment to the bits of the map currently coloured in pink.
 

M_Kresal

I am nerd, hear me bore.
Published by SLP
Location
North Alabama
It interests me that the climate-change wish fulfillment here is basically abandoning the planet and going somewhere else - though I assume that's not intentional, "SPACE COLONIES" is just more fun for fiction than "SPACE DUST CLEANERS".
Having read David Wallace-Wells The Uninhabitable Earth back in 2019, space colonies seems to be the direction that a lot of the thinking is going in, especially with the apparent inability to make meaningful changes in the present and near-future. Which shouldn't be anyone's prefered option, and the fact that people might not want to be launched into space apparently took a few of the tech people that Wells interviewed by surprise. As you say, there's other space-based options we could and should consider, including the one that became the basis for my cli-fi spy-fi 2019 NaNoWriMo project that I need to go back to editing at some point.

In the meantime, reading both the article and the posts here, I was reminded of one the great exchanges Nigel Kneale penned that appears in botht he TV and film version of Quatermass and the Pit:

"Roney, if we found out earth was doomed - say, by climatic changes - what would we do about it?"

"Nothing. Just go on squabbling as usual."
 

Hendryk

Nothing ever ends
Published by SLP
Location
France
It interests me that the climate-change wish fulfillment here is basically abandoning the planet and going somewhere else - though I assume that's not intentional, "SPACE COLONIES" is just more fun for fiction than "SPACE DUST CLEANERS".
Having read David Wallace-Wells The Uninhabitable Earth back in 2019, space colonies seems to be the direction that a lot of the thinking is going in, especially with the apparent inability to make meaningful changes in the present and near-future. Which shouldn't be anyone's prefered option, and the fact that people might not want to be launched into space apparently took a few of the tech people that Wells interviewed by surprise. As you say, there's other space-based options we could and should consider
The idea that the "solution" to climate change is to leave the planet altogether is all the more disturbing when one factors in that most of humankind would be left behind. Earth is a very big ship and there aren't nearly enough lifeboats for all of us.

It takes a certain turn of mind to even entertain the idea that we can solve our problems by moving en masse to some hypothetical virgin world, where presumably we will build overnight the infrastructure necessary to support all eight billion of us, instead of fixing the one planet we've got.
 

ChrisNuttall

Well-known member
It was predominantly a response to the idea that in apocalyptic fiction the Rugged Individualist surveys the blasted land after the government has fallen, whereas the more likely outcome is that governments are the last thing to fall after all the Rugged Individualists have long starved to death.

I think a lot depends on the exact situation. In Moonseed, for example, the governments have time to adapt to the crisis and 'manage' it (for a certain value of 'manage,' given the ending of that book.) In books where the disaster is much more immedate, by it nuclear war or the Change, it's harder to keep the government together; lines of communication are down, many military/police bases are isolated if not destroyed, refugees are everywhere and lots of people are pretty much on their own, rather than part of a greater whole.

And, of course, the Rugged Survivalist is a much more interesting character for a thriller novel than Sir Humphrey.

Chris
 

ChrisNuttall

Well-known member
Some of us think that stories that involve saving civilization together are, in fact, more interesting than adolescent fantasies about fooling around in the wreckage.
There are books for everyone <grin>

Even then, though, there's a certain attempt to personalize the stories through the main characters and make them people we can admire and want to be - it doesn't matter if we're talking about Corporal Jack West of the SAS or Sam the Survivalist who has been prepping for years and is torn between a gleeful "it's my time!" and "oh c***, i forgot to obtain more [whatever] and now the supply lines are gone and we're all alone and it really isn't a cool as i thought it would be!" There aren't many books that feature the government as a character in itself and the ones that do are often very bland.

As the old school joke goes "Caesar conquered the Gauls. What? Alone? Didn't he even have a cook with him?"
 
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