The title of this blog post is actually the title of a piece of science fiction, a short story written by Paul Briggs. Just like a couple of weeks ago when I was asked for advice on an idea for a novel, Paul asked me for some feedback on his short story. I figured posting it here, will generate a lot more feedback than I can offer. And most of you will probably find it an interesting read.
Paul writes on his website:
I started writing this story because, well, nobody else was doing it. Like a lot of people, I had read the projections of the Arctic Ocean having its first ice-free moment in human history some time in the 2020s.
Nobody seems to know what happens after that. The consensus seems to be that seasonal patterns of temperature and rainfall in the northern hemisphere will be altered in ways that will make many heavily populated parts of it much harder to survive in and seriously inconvenience anyone trying to grow crops, but no one can say exactly what this will look like.
So I decided to take a guess. I'm not a climatologist or anything, I'm just winging it.
I wrote this for AlternateHistory.com, in the "Future History" section where only registered members could read it. Since it won the 2013 Turtledove Award for Best New Future, I thought I'd give it a little editing and share it with a wider audience.
It goes without saying that I find Arctic sea ice loss an excellent subject for this kind of fiction. As with most science fiction and predictions, it's all about timing. Maybe the sequence of events is a bit too soon and too fast (my only 'gripe'), but it portrays the potential risks of Arctic sea ice loss in a gripping way. Like a fist gripping your stomach. The narrative style, a description of what happens after the Arctic becomes ice-free, followed by a collection of future news stories covering the consequences, makes the story exciting and easy to read. The open ending leaves some room for optimism, in the sense that not all is lost. At least, that's how I (want to) read it.
Here's the first part of the story: