Terraform, January 26, 2015

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Terraform, January 26, 2015

Rockall” by Andrew David Thaler

Reviewed by Joshua Berlow

It’s clear from this story that Andrew David Thaler has been on some deep-sea dives and knows his marine science. The realistic portrayal of a deep-sea dive makes this story a worthwhile read. However, the science-fiction elements seem bolted on as an afterthought.

Much backstory seems to have been worked out elsewhere, and online research on Andrew David Thaler bolsters this supposition. Thaler has a collection of stories called “Fleet” which depicts a future after global warming has driven humanity from the land and on to the seas. For anyone intrigued by this tale to find out more, there is a plethora of Andrew David Thaler material to be found online. This isn’t unusual for Terraform dispatches, and could be the best thing about them. The editors of Terraform find people who have a large online presence and introduce them to an even wider audience. Thaler has made an impressive 32,000+ tweets since 2009, which works out to an average of more than 17 tweets a day, every day, for five years. He runs a website called “Southern Fried Science” about marine science. Finally, he is a proponent of “cli-fi” science fiction, a sub-genre concerned with the ramifications of climate change. Since climate change is a recurring theme in Terraform dispatches, it was only a matter of time before a hard core “cli-fi” scientist/writer such as Thaler graced Terraform’s virtual pages.

In “Rockall” a few remnant folks in a climate-ravaged future are managing to eke out a miserable existence on an old oil rig anchored somewhere in the ocean. Unfortunately the tale too often assumes that we’re familiar with this backstory, which can make the reading somewhat difficult. Rather than being a “dispatch” from the future, it reads more like a National Geographic article about a dive deep and alone into the sea. If you’re interested in oceanography you might want to find out more about Andrew David Thaler.

Joshua Berlow is the founder of the International Psychogeography Institute.