TECHNOLOGY

RE: WIRED 2021: Neil Stephenson on building and repairing worlds


Neil Stephenson There’s no problem with getting the science right in his bestselling speculative fiction book, which dwells on how people are responding to new technologies that are upending the world. But sometimes his guesses of what happens when actual people face the actual apocalypse are not proven.

“The idea that we could have a pandemic, that by this point the number of dead would have killed twice as many Americans as died in World War II, and in a much shorter amount of time – and yet, there’s still quite a lot of people in that,” Stevenson told the senior reporter. Adam Rogers today at Renewable Energy: Wired. “Even after Trump and everything else, I wasn’t expecting that.”

Stephenson, who wrote it in his seventeenth book, continued, Finish Shock come out next week and It deals with global warming. After witnessing the general cognitive dissonance around Covid-19, Stevenson sees no reason not to expect the same for climate change. “The consequences are far, far more abstract than for a friend, neighbor, or family member to get sick or die from this disease,” he said. “You have to be very realistic, and that means pessimism.”

In his new novel, Stevenson imagines a world tipped toward a climate apocalypse as an oil billionaire takes matters into his own hands — by building the world’s largest cannon to shoot tons of sulfur into the atmosphere, in an effort to geoengineer solar to reflect sunlight. It’s a tactic that some (non-fictional!) scientists think can Cooling the planetSave human lives, global biodiversity, and Texas properties that are supposedly threatened by hurricanes.

“The program is really quite is overStevenson said about how the novel opened. “So most of the book is really on the topic of how people around the world, from different countries and different walks of life, respond to what this guy is doing.”

It was important for Stevenson to finally write about climate. “Nothing else matters in comparison. It’s going to be a problem for 100 years,” he told Rogers previously. IN WIRED INTERVIEW. “I am a man who has found a specialized field of writing fiction on technical and scientific subjects. It seemed strange to me that I should make it to the end of my career and not be hit with it.”

Singles billionaire hit Stevenson as a useful metaphor, he told a RE:WIRED audience. “We’ve come to a really strange place in how things work in our society, where billionaires are the answer to everything,” he said. “Fifty years ago, if something big needed to happen, we’d look at the government, or look to the private industry.”

Rogers noted that solar geoengineering is a controversial idea, and asked Stephenson whether it was a “big vision” or not, In wire piece 2011 The author argued the science fiction book Need to supply. Stevenson replied, “It could be.”



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