Recently I finished reading Ark, an interesting science-fiction / space travel book written by Stephen Baxter. The book is a direct sequel to Flood.
In Flood, readers were introduced to a frightening vision of a near-future scenario where vast underground chambers of water stored in the Earth’s mantle were released, unleashing an unending surge of water that, over the course of many years, flooded the entire planet. As the waters continued to rise, countries were destroyed and people were forced to keep moving to higher ground and fighting to survive.
At one point in Flood, some of the characters witness a rocket launching into the sky, carrying what’s rumored to be the fate of humanity in search of a new home. That’s what brings us here today.
Ark begins with rising flood waters and a partially flooded planet. There’s no end to the flooding in sight, and scientists are tasked with finding a way to ensure that at least part of Earth’s humanity will survive, should there be a worst-case scenario of the planet being completely submerged.
Ships and rafts are easy solutions, but maintaining them (and their occupants) years later could be a challenge. It’s not a permanent answer to humanity’s survival.
In Ark, it’s decided that humanity will have to find a new home in outer space. The only catch is that the closest planet that might be able to sustain human life is several light years away, a distance far too great for today’s conventional rockets.
Regardless, plans begin immediately for a rocket, an ark, to carry a small part of humanity off this planet and to a new home somewhere in the stars. Children of the scientists and engineers are selected to become part of a rigorous training program to prepare them for their destiny in space. These children are known as Candidates. Read more…
What if one day the Earth’s oceans all began to rise?
Not because of man-made global warming or climate change melting the polar ice caps, but from an entirely different source, something completely out of our hands.
What if this rise in ocean level continued over the years, slowly flooding the planet and making high ground the most precious type of land?
What would you do? How would you survive? Could you find a way to keep living knowing that unless the flooding stops, eventually every piece of land will eventually disappear under the water?
That’s basically the premise for Stephen Baxter‘s Flood, a 2008 science-fiction novel dealing with the slow flooding of planet Earth. As the sea level continues to rise and flood the continents, humanity struggles to find a way to survive. The balance of power shifts as people fight for high ground and deal with the reality of their situation. Billions of people eventually die over the years as the sea level continues to rise, dry land slowly vanishes, food becomes more scarce, wars are waged between organizations and countries, and survivors are forced to build ships and rafts as a final way to survive . . . for at least a little while longer.
Flood begins in 2016 as a small group of people are being held hostage in Europe by an organization of extremists. The hostages are former US Air Force helicopter pilot Lily Brooke, British military officer Piers Michaelmas, English tourist Helen Gray, and NASA scientist Gary Boyle. All of them were in Europe at one point or another when they were each captured and taken hostage. The experience was particularly tough on Helen Gray as she was the youngest female in the group and had gained unwanted attention from the guards. She was abused and eventually gave birth to a daughter, Grace, by one of the guards.
After being held hostage for five years and eventually transported to Barcelona, Spain the group is suddenly liberated by a private megacorporation called AxysCorp. A fifth hostage, John Foreshaw, was executed by the terrorists moments before the rest of them were rescued.
Immediately after being rescued, the gang notices that their world is a little bit different than when they last saw it. Now England and the rest of Europe are plagued by a nearly endless number of rainy days which have been sparking localized flooding. When Lily reconnects with her sister Amanda, and her two children Benji and Kristie, she learns that the sea level itself has actually risen about a meter. It may not seem like much, but low-lying areas are being threatened by the rise and a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean has been reclaimed by the sea. Naturally, the constant rainfall and the slow rise in sea level is being blamed on man-made global warming. Read more…