WUWT spawns a free to read climate sci-fi novel

People send me stuff. This time is a novel about climate change. – Anthony

CAGW as self-organising narrative, referencing previous posts on fiction, and offering a free downloadable novelette

By Andy West

We Are Narrative host Andy West

I’m a long-term WUWT reader, but extremely rare commenter. The last time was back in January when I had time at various airports, and I commented on Willis’ Venusian atmosphere post.

I first became interested in the topic of Global Warming, as it was known then, almost 6 years ago. The trigger for me was watching Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, and realising that the film was a very powerful narrative which lacked proper balance and was all about advocacy, with references to underlying theory frustratingly vague and infrequent. The cherry-picker scene was kinda sciencey, yet somehow even that aroused questions rather than convincing me. I had no means to evaluate the science aspects back then, so resolved to look into them (wow, armed only with a long-ago physics degree did that take years longer than I thought!) But in fact my chief interest was not the climate science.

My passionate hobby is evolutionary science, and particularly the evolutionary bounds on, and processes within, sentient populations. Those processes include the development of memeplexes, ‘self-organising narratives’, if you will, and I very quickly realised that here, right under my nose, was a doozy of a specimen already far into burgeoning growth that I nevertheless hadn’t noticed at all. Until that time I’d made the mistake of believing that the science underpinning CAGW was ‘certain’, ‘solid’, was hard fact, and a solid factual cage prevents memeplexes from escaping and evolving. They thrive on mysticism and doubt, on unbounded (or very poorly bounded) fact-spaces. So I’d missed the obvious.

Well a little more on memeplexes later. Meanwhile I should explain that I’m a writer on the side (mainly high-concept Science Fiction, but occasionally more mainstream work and a little poetry), so during my regular trawls of the climate blogs the following posts caught my eye, the first being here at WUWT:

People send me stuff. Here’s one about UEA offering a prize contest for “creative climate writing”. – Anthony.

“The scholarship is open to all applicants to the Prose Fiction and Poetry strands of the MA, whose writing demonstrates a commitment to environmental themes, in particular to furthering the general understanding of the impact of climate change.”http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/24/poetic-license-ueas-creative-climate-writing-prize/

The above is an annual bursary, worth £5000, open to students undertaking the UEA MA Creative Writing course.

Here’s another, this time from Australia, courtesy of Bishop Hill:

Philippa Martyr, writing in Quadrant magazine, looks at academic grant awards relating to climate change. Like this for example: Literary Studies: “The project will devise and develop a new ‘cultural materialist’ paradigm for science fiction studies and apply it to a case study of science fictional representations of catastrophe, especially nuclear war, plague and extreme climate change.” ($239,000)  http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/7/24/climate-change-and-literary-studies.html

Given the establishment offering the prize, I suspect the first effort will contribute to the narrative of man harming the planet through the medium of climate change, and the second will likely re-interpret existing literature to align to that same narrative. Just two more contributions added to the (probably) hundreds of thousands of narrative reinforcements in press releases and articles and talks and action-days and all the rest. The fact-space is still far too unbounded to restrict this aggressive accumulation of narrative weight, which already leans far too heavily upon sceptical questions and healthy debate. But pending the maturation of climate science, other means can be used to help restore some balance.

Every narrative can have its roots exposed by the light of a counter-narrative, can be challenged by a different story. The many excellent posters here and at other good sceptic blogs create a kind of patchwork ‘resistance’ narrative based on emerging science and science-audit and political comment. But the fiction posts above inspired me to contribute in a way that I’m personally able to do, with a self-contained piece of counter-narrative expressed in science fiction, something that may hopefully be a useful and very readable means to keep minds open.

Anthony’s post above starts with those immortal words ‘People send me stuff’.

I have read that so many times and never thought I’d be sending stuff, but here I am doing precisely that. And my stuff is high-concept fiction. I offer the novelette ‘Truth’ free to WUWT readers and in fact also for free distribution elsewhere as you please (the work is under a creative commons license with no-commercial-use and no-making-derivatives, but you can email / put on websites / whatever). In fact though I hope everyone has some pleasure reading it, the main value would be in migrating out from the fully sceptic audience, so send it where you will. My intent was an enjoyable way to make folks stop and think, to raise questions, to counter the massive narrative weight of ‘certain’ CAGW and indeed to portray the social phenomena behind that weight as a means to do so.

Front Cover for Free SF Story 'Truth'

For anyone nervous of SF geekiness, don’t worry it has no ray-guns or spaceships or time-warps; it’s only loosely SF and has plenty of action too. And those self-evolving memeplexes I mentioned are luridly portrayed, one in particular… Please do not baulk at the first use of the word ‘denier’, the context will become clear. Mention of climate change issues appears only slowly, but fear not there is purpose in this and a lot comes later on to stir minds, or for those already asking healthy questions, still an interesting perspective, a glimpse at depths of social realism, and some parts to revel in too 🙂 .

‘Truth’ is about an hour’s read. Go here wearenarrative.wordpress.com to grab the pdf. Just look for the tasteful 1950s B-movie front-cover image above.

Or pull the book direct from here: http://wearenarrative.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/truth.pdf.

In fact the blog is brand new and not made known to the world until this post. In truth I wasn’t expecting much of any traffic and have little time to respond anyhow, but I’d appreciate it if anyone drops by with a comment on the story. In case anyone is wondering, there was definitely no grant funding for this story, and I can say with confidence that it isn’t going to win a prize from any consensus organisations!

A final word on memeplexes. I’m sceptical of the three Cs: ‘consensus’, ‘certainty’, and ‘catastrophe’. Nevertheless I don’t know whether CO2 will work out to be big problem, a modest problem, or possibly not a problem at all. I really don’t think anyone yet has the means to know. But to compare CAGW with other social memeplexes: if the existence of God was unequivocally disproved tomorrow, there’d be no need for the huge infra-structures of religious paraphernalia.

And, more interestingly, if he/she beamed down tomorrow and introduced himself/herself, there would likewise be no need for the same infra-structures. We’d all just get his/her phone number. Similarly if the case for CAGW was indeed proven (inclusive of all main mechanisms), the fact-space would be just as constrained as if it was disproven, and the whole memeplex would collapse. In the proven case, just as for historic major disasters or wars, everyone’s shoulder would be at the wheel, we’d all know what to do and all the social messaging and CC related promotion hierarchies and political positioning would evaporate overnight.

As this clearly isn’t anywhere remotely close to happening, while terms like ‘believers’, ‘disbelievers’, ‘faith in the science’ (or loss thereof) and the ugly ‘deniers’ term, all abound, then I’m guessing there’s probably very little that is certain within the wicked problem of climate, least of all attribution.

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Bloke down the pub
December 15, 2012 10:38 am

I look forward to Hollywood picking up on this, but maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath.

December 15, 2012 10:49 am

“For anyone nervous of SF geekiness, don’t worry it has no ray-guns or spaceships or time-warps; ”
Tuttut….SF has more reality and truth then anything coming out of the IPCC/cAGW/UN/etc.

December 15, 2012 11:03 am

Another Simon Fraser University info-advertisement in the decidedly very accommodating Vancouver Sun… This time it is about Carbon Storage:
Recall the poll that claimed that only 2% in Canada denied AGW? It was commissioned by the Carbon Storage lobby. And guess who else is now fear mongering? No other than Mister Carbon tax in British Columbia, the mini Hansen coal protestor Mark Jaccard:
“Simon Fraser University energy economist Mark Jaccard, who is preparing a series of studies for Carbon Management Canada, agreed that the global pace of carbon management research is too slow.
“Unfortunately, most of the anticipated carbon capture and storage projects have not happened,” Jaccard said. “The government is showing no leadership in the desperate global struggle to prevent catastrophic climate change, and because of the time lags we are almost too late now. I am extremely frustrated with Canada’s federal government especially.
“Globally, we are going to rocket past the 2 C temperature limit and more likely increase temperatures by 6 C in this century. We cannot be expanding oilsands or coal or natural gas today. This is a simple truth, but no one wants to believe it.”
With simple truths like these, gobbled by reporter Scott Simpson without one ounce of critical assessment, who needs lies in the media? Poor Jaccard, CCS projects are not happening because they make no sense scientifically and economically: check in the UK. And yes, Marko, you are not frustrated with the BC Liberals since they implemented your little pet tax in such democratic way and sure you need more research on Carbon management because, hey, you need to make some dough just in case the whole thing goes up in smoke… Any more greenish self serving bull, be sure to call on the Vancouver Sun: they deliver every week.

Mike Fowle
December 15, 2012 11:08 am

Interesting. It was Michael Crichton’s novel “State of Fear” that started me on questioning the “consensus”. Perhaps this will do the same for others. Good luck.

December 15, 2012 11:12 am

Andy West: “Nevertheless I don’t know whether CO2 will work out to be big problem, a modest problem, or possibly not a problem at all. I really don’t think anyone yet has the means to know.”
Rest assured that CO2 is no problem for the world. CO2 is the fundamental basis of life on this planet. Atmosheric CO2 is a plant fertilizer and the source of all of food from agriculture, and likewise the base of the food chain of the oceans. The AGW hypothesis has been falsified by the temperature record of the last fifteen years, and you are bound to be aware of this, if you have indeed followed the issue as you claim above.
“I really don’t think anyone has the means to know” – Wrong. We do have means to know. That means is simply a critical analysis of the science done in support of AGW, which inspection reveals the AGW movement as a manufactured crisis based on flimsy scientific pretexts and sustained by propagandists.
Personally, I do not understand what a writer of fiction has to do with issues of science.

December 15, 2012 11:19 am

Bloke down the pub says:
(December 15, 2012 at 10:38 am)
I think you’d have to hold your breath for decades, by which time sceptics may be filmworthy at last, in the interesting historical sense of: ‘looks like they had a good point after all, why did nobody listen?’

December 15, 2012 11:28 am

mpainter says:
( December 15, 2012 at 11:12 am)
I understand your position, but personally I’m rather wary of ‘certainty in either direction. As to ‘fiction’, it is often a vehicle to better digest facts. Anyhow, we both seem to agree that CAGW is a narrative and not a real and scientifically proven crisis. The story expresess in a very digestible manner the social force behind that narrative. I have a feeling you may actually like ‘Truth’ if you did but give it a try. It’s free after all 🙂

December 15, 2012 11:30 am

Mike Fowle says:
(December 15, 2012 at 11:08 am)
Thanks Mike 🙂

December 15, 2012 11:31 am

Oh wow, that’s cool. I’ll certainly check it out. It’s gotta be better than the science fiction I read at http://www.skepticalscience.com/ 🙂 (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
I really like the recursive “People send me stuff.” If we get that feedback ratio above 1, Anthony will be in trouble!

Martin C
December 15, 2012 11:40 am

Mike Fowle says . . (December 15, 2012 at 11:08 am)
I read “State of Fear” several months after the 2007 IPCC ( . . or should I say IPeCaC . . with thanks to C. Monckton . . !) report, which at that time, I believed a fair amount of warming may have been man caused.
But after my own ‘internet research – from blogs, to published articles, to temp history – , and then reading “State of Fear”, it really made my day. And the nature of what the ‘greens’ in the book were doing to ‘promote’ weather and other catastrophes, well, I could see them doing that today . .
Andy, have downloaded the book, and look for ward to reading it soon ( . .need to leave here shortly . .).

December 15, 2012 11:47 am

10 years ago, two scientists wrote this: http://www.baenebooks.com/p-137-fallen-angels.aspx and kept it free for many years. Even at $4, it is a bargain. I’ve read it three times and will read again. It’s simple, but easy to relate to.

December 15, 2012 11:51 am

Thanks for the post of your novelette.
If God did beam down to earth, I doubt that everyone would get his/her phone number. Let’s take an example that has some historical documentation: when Jesus came to earth, his message was misunderstood by most everyone, and all the authorities and people decided in the end he had to be crucified. It’s just hard for people to change their view of the world, for God and for climate.

David, UK
December 15, 2012 11:53 am

I made it to about page 4 or 5 before the boredom overwhelmed me. Sorry Andy, but this story had me gripped like a fried egg sliding off a Teflon pan.

December 15, 2012 12:02 pm

Nevertheless I don’t know whether CO2 will work out to be big problem, a modest problem, or possibly not a problem at all. I really don’t think anyone yet has the means to know.

It has been provided by the IPCC itself through its temperature projections. We compare this with current observations.

December 15, 2012 12:04 pm

just read it, Mr. West.
i enjoy descriptons of the vision – the entities are black and white, but the relationship between them comes in colors.
not sure that you created a potent memeophage virus, tho.
you did pluck a chord strongly with the money line.
“look to the west and ask what’s up.”
there- fixed that for ya!

December 15, 2012 12:05 pm

I would think that Hollywood is so left wing that a film of this book will not happen, unlike “2012” and “The Day After Tomorrow”. Plus the concept of mankind continuing to drive V8 cars and Western countries to have expanding economies, although satisfying and necessary is not very dramatic!

Mario Lento
December 15, 2012 12:09 pm

Andy: Inconvenient truth struck me the same way. It made wild claims, using shoddy proof. It also started me on a quest to seek the truth. Shortly after that, my wife bought me State of Fear… and I went into full blown truth seeking.
Stories can be powerful motivators.
It did not take long to realize that the science behind CAGW was in fact emotional and politically driven. Never could I find any substantive answers when I sought proof or a smoking gun that CO2 was warming the world towards a tipping point, that it was catastrophic. None…
If you pinned a warmist into a corner with the right questions, many of the warmist would then say, “we should act in prudence… that is, what if it were true? We should do everything we can to curb CO2 emissions –just in case”
The entire process of gaining AGW followers was pathetic –but it worked.
Those who fall into the CAGW meme are mostly liberals who want to feel they are being generous by voting to give away SOMEONE else’s money. The people most hurt by the huge increased costs of green energy are the very poor.
Good luck with the book.

December 15, 2012 12:26 pm

“But to compare CAGW with other social memeplexes: if the existence of God was unequivocally disproved tomorrow, there’d be no need for the huge infra-structures of religious paraphernalia.”
A more interesting study would involve examining historic examples of the State’s interest in eradicating the folk, religious, and traditional beliefs of the people in order to collectivize them and gain control. Any one who devotes a few moments to the subject will find much more evidence for that than he can proving that he knows all conditions and states of being in the Universe.
“And, more interestingly, if he/she beamed down tomorrow and introduced himself/herself, there would likewise be no need for the same infra-structures.”
I think this is not the case. We would still find the need for the freedom of religion, just as we have in our Bill of Rights. It is simple to demonstrate that many would reject the existence or essence of God, even if “proven,” and many would alter it in some way. So we are back to the need for individual liberty in this matter.

Alan Wilkinson
December 15, 2012 12:27 pm

If the novel is as good as the introduction it will be well worth a read. Congratulations on the originality of the concept.

December 15, 2012 12:28 pm

mpainter : – ‘The AGW hypothesis has been falsified by the temperature record of the last fifteen years’.
I too am deeply sceptical about AGW, but the above statement cannot possibly stand like that, rather the AGW hypothesis is made less likely by the past 15 years temperture record, because :-
a) the record is not very accurate (we can question the value of the error bounds but, given all the problems Anthony has exposed, the errors COULD be pretty large).
b) other factos besides CO2 will obviously influence the temperature record and, given all the uncertainties of our current understanding, it is far from clear how long these other factors might neutralise the effect of CO2.

December 15, 2012 12:40 pm

andrewmharding says:
December 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm
“I would think that Hollywood is so left wing that a film of this book will not happen, unlike “2012″ and “The Day After Tomorrow”. Plus the concept of mankind continuing to drive V8 cars and Western countries to have expanding economies, although satisfying and necessary is not very dramatic!”
In a few years having an expanding economy will sound like an SF concept to you (if you’re American. For the Greek it’s a mythological concept already.)

December 15, 2012 12:41 pm

Ric Werme says:
(December 15, 2012 at 11:31 am)
Thanks Ric.
David, UK says:
(December 15, 2012 at 11:53 am)
Thanks for your time David. No story is for everyone, and my stuff is often polarising regarding appreciation. One of my novels at Librarything has not a single average mark, but a bunch below average and a bunch above, fortunately for me dominated by the latter. This is unsusual, most people get a gaussian at some intermediate position. I guess I’m a love me or hate me writer 😉

December 15, 2012 12:50 pm

I gave up on fiction when i realized much of the official science and history education today IS fiction. The birth of our short and blessed Holocene was the Quanterary Extinction when 33 of 45 large North American mammals disappeared, along with the Clovis tribes of European based humans. This event dumped enough boulder sized hailstones down on the 13 ton Mammoths in Siberia to break their vertebra and leg bones and flash-freeze them in an upright position before the temperate vegetation in their intestional tracts could freeze. It is doubtful that stone tooled humans with limited use of fire provolked this “climate change”…or in any way contributed to the other magafauna extinctions at this time, including saber toothed tigers, dire wolves, short faced bears and giant sloths. It is unquestionable that our ancestors LIVED thru this era, and benefited from this change. In just a few thousand years 3 miles of ice pack on the NH melted and raised oceans 440 ft. It is utter fiction to think that PPM changes in three atom gas molecules and a fictional 1 C bump is a climate change that the planet will ever record. Carbon climate forcing is credit default swap science for FORCED Carbon commodity marketing. The underlying fiction is todays monetary system. When we are not forced to live a fictional reality, then the genre may become intersting again.

December 15, 2012 12:51 pm

gnomish says:
(December 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm)
Thanks for reading, and for the ‘fix’ too 😉
Jimbo says:
(December 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm)
Well you may have a point, but I wrote all this stuff quite a few months ago, long before the AR5 draft leak, plus I’ve learned in the last 6 years to be wary of any ‘certainty’. It seems that everything in the wicked problem of climate is challengeable, and likely to be for a long time. However, as you can tell from the story, I think that CAGW is in the main a social phenomena, and not a climate one, which I think puts me firmly in the sceptical camp.

December 15, 2012 12:59 pm

Mario Lento says:
(December 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm)
Thanks Mario, your journey to scepticism sounds much like mine.
Alan Wilkinson says:
(December 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm)
Thanks for the vote 🙂

John W. Garrett
December 15, 2012 1:00 pm

A sentient person could be forgiven for wondering just how accurate the temperature records are for giant swathes of the earth’s surface such as, say, Russia ( ~1917- 1946) or China (~1915-1970) or Sub-Saharan Africa ( ~1850-2012) or a lot of other places where’s there have been long periods of revolution, upheaval or anarchy.

December 15, 2012 1:07 pm

Martin C says:
(December 15, 2012 at 11:40 am)
Great, thanks Martin.
John says:
(December 15, 2012 at 11:51 am)
Well you’re bang on it’s incredibly difficult for people to change their world view. But regarding your example, I think this departs from my supposition in that the historical documentation shows He did not present proof, but required faith instead…

December 15, 2012 1:21 pm

Iane says: December 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm:
mpainter : – ‘The AGW hypothesis has been falsified by the temperature record of the last fifteen years’.
“I too am deeply sceptical about AGW, but the above statement cannot possibly stand like that, rather the AGW hypothesis is made less likely by the past 15 years temperture record, because :-
a) the record is not very accurate (we can question the value of the error bounds but, given all the problems Anthony has exposed, the errors COULD be pretty large).
b) other factos besides CO2 will obviously influence the temperature record and, given all the uncertainties of our current understanding, it is far from clear how long these other factors might neutralise the effect of CO2.”
mpainter replies:
Fifteen years, soon sixteen years, is certainly long enough to draw conclusions. The last warming trend lasted only twenty years (1977-97). How long does one need to watch atm CO2 increase while temperature does not? Climate models are contrived to forecast a warming trend and have been condemned on a number of aspects, including their hindcast failure. They fail signally when tested against observations, time and again. They belong to the midden heap of failed science (in case you do not understand this, global climate models are the AGW theory put into algorithms.)
a) The last fifteen years are accurate enough, with a satellite-based metric as a constraint of the station records. If anything, the station record is skewed toward warmth because of the UHE, as shown by Watts et al.
b) To claim that the effect of CO2 is neutralized is to say that it has no effect. To say that the immutable laws of radiation physics have been muted in some unknown way is hardly science. You imply that at some time in the future, these laws will assert themselves and then watch out for CO2! You need to re-consider this bald, unsupportable assertion.

December 15, 2012 1:24 pm

Thanks Andy.
I promiss not to comment on every line but…
Before great monsters of debt slipped harness and turned around to rip chunks out of nations,
…really grabbed.
Back to the novelette…

December 15, 2012 2:20 pm

For some reason, I can’t access it at the web page or the direct link — it comes up black. I’m using Firefox. Any suggestions, Andy?

December 15, 2012 2:49 pm

I liked it. Especially the first half. Clearly some awareness of manipulation beyond just CAGW.

Stephen Singer
December 15, 2012 2:57 pm

I also use Firefox and had no problem. Perhaps you have a addon installed that is interfering. On the help menu item there is an option to ‘restart with addons disabled, this is only active till you close Firefox and restart it normally as I recall. Or right click on it and use the ‘save link as …’ option.

December 15, 2012 3:03 pm

Hi Andy,
Haven’t been able to get into it so far. Not a fault. Some of it is eerily reminiscent of contact with the hippy communities that used to live near us in rural Wales in the 1970s. I guess that’s relevant, because that period was the origin of much of the memeplex that is troubling the world these days.
I recall lecturing one of my sons on the risks of imbibing cannabis. His response? “It’s ok Dad – we know it’s not harmless”. “You do?” “Of course – we used to go up there sometimes, tried to talk to them – that’s why we know.”
Memeplex seems to be similar to the modern usage of shibboleth, eg what the in-crowd believes in but the rest of us know is bullshit. Every profession, cultural group, belief system etc has its shibboleths. The interesting thing about the CAGW/CC Creed is that it has had massive positive feedback. Not in the “science” of course, but in the amount of money it has misdirected. The hippies used to go on about getting their “shit” together. None of them ever succeeded as far as I could see, but now it has been transformed into gold ….

December 15, 2012 3:19 pm

Richdo says:
(December 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm)
Well I’m very happy with the comment on the line you chose, thanks 🙂

View from the Solent
December 15, 2012 3:20 pm

Neill says:
December 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm
For some reason, I can’t access it at the web page or the direct link — it comes up black. I’m using Firefox. Any suggestions, Andy?
Perhaps you have a Fx extension that’s getting in the way. My Fx works fine on both links. Have you tried with restarting with them disabled?
Help -> Restart with Add-ons Disabled

December 15, 2012 3:26 pm

Neill says:
(December 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm)
Hi Neil, I’m not technical regarding browsers and such so I can’t suggest a fix. However, if you put in a comment giving permission for the Mods to send me your email address, maybe they’ll be kind enough to do that so then I can mail you a copy direct.

December 15, 2012 3:47 pm

Thanks for the link Andy. I like the way you started out. I think it deserves a good read. I will add your link to my philosophy of science blog. I’m sure some of those readers will like it too.

December 15, 2012 4:01 pm

Mods, I give permission for you to give Andy my email address so he can send story direct. Thanks.

December 15, 2012 4:30 pm

spinifers says:
(December 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm)
Nice comment, thankyou. Once you see into this sort of narrative, you begin to realise that essentially everything is a narrative!
Martin Clark says:
(December 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm)
Thanks for giving it a go. Yes, massive +ve feedback indeed. I guess it’s hard to argue with saving the world when it can’t be proved that is *isn’t* in danger, unlikely though that danger seems underneath the blaring narrative. Ironic that with all the talk of ‘certainty’, it is scientific *uncertainty* that has directly caused the +ve feedback, and diminishing uncertainty (as science eventually gets a real grip) that will one day strangle this memplex.

December 15, 2012 4:33 pm

Dennis Nikols says:
(December 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm)
Great, Dennis, that’s very kind. I’ll drop by when I get a chance (which is not now as it is past midnight in the UK and I’m still trying to keep up with various posts!)

December 15, 2012 8:52 pm

Great read, Mr West! Couldn’t put it down, in fact, though your intriguing turns of phrase and visual metaphor (itself a parallel to the protagonists Vision?) had me re-reading sections, by turn – and so an hour and half, well spent, say I.
Really a long Short Story, though – rather than novelette? In any case, an elegant multi-layered ‘sidling-up’ to the emotional, psychological and intellectual charge that’s embedded within the CAGW debates, and a solid contribution to the cause of ‘Truth’ in our interpersonal and cross-cultural dealings. And while not yet convinced of your postulate of ‘meta-memes’ driving cultural evolution (personally, I suspect the Universe Itself to be more predicated on Moral Imperatives and their corollaries) I think your protagonist’s cool ‘honesty’ and grasp of essential aspects of Reality in facing the interlacing cascades of his own life, bespeaks the necessity for courageous self-examination in our own perceptive mindsets when we approach any issue of social or geopolitical import.
I’m no writer, so I’ve great admiration of those like yourself who ‘put it out there’, as like losing at chess I imagine it kinda ‘gets to ya’ on a visceral level when unsuccessful. As said above, I think you’ve succeeded as you set out, and I’ll forward the read to a couple of souls of my acquaintance.
Nice action scenes, btw – I DO think it’d make a kewl movie, w/lots of CGI to boot – hopefully better scripted and directed than the recent Russian flick (on memes, in that case Advertising memes) “Branded” (which I found interminable, additionally taking a little umbrage at the gratuitous use of the Ashes of the Red Cow Mystery to ‘further’ the plot line…I mean, WTF?)
Took me a while, well into the narrative, before I realized the speaker was ‘geriatric’ and in ICU post CI or Big C – I kept looking for the near-mortal wound acquired in battle, and the hero awoken from coma or rendered paraplegic of some such. Nice maintenance of suspense. His passing Sweet, as well — with a daughter named Hope. Kewl.
DCRS (Tiburon)

David A. Evans
December 15, 2012 10:13 pm

I have problems reading on screen, even as little as four pages. This however, I read in one go.
I will reread too.
I guess you are ex army and can only express regret that we did not provide you with MRAPs at an early point in your campaign in Iraq. I suppose we can only really blame the likes of Dannet for that. The reason I thought that was your accurate description of the, (incorrect in my opinion,) British tactics to win over the local populace.
Good read as I said and will reread more analytically later.

December 15, 2012 10:23 pm

I wrote a climate related Christmas satire myself last year, based on this animated film (shown in eg Sweden and England every Christmas): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnM4hswopgs.
The story is available here (ignore the first paragraph in Swedish; the rest is in English):

A Lovell
December 15, 2012 11:50 pm

I am not a scientist. However, I can read and evaluate information like many others on this site. I came to WUWT, and several other sites which I read regularly, through the Junk Science site while I was researching information on another subject around 2007, and I now consider myself reasonably well informed on the basic science too. I also found http://www.green-agenda.com which tells you pretty well all you need to know about the politics of CAGW.
Non scientific evaluation of CAGW is now, I feel, almost more important for those without scientific training, and if Andy’s work of fiction, like the splendid Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, can further understanding of what is going on that is all good. Whenever I see a copy of State of Fear in a charity shop I buy it and pass it on to someone who has bought the propaganda. I have a few converts under my belt now just doing that!
(Crichton’s Caltech Lecture,,’Aliens Cause Global Warming’ from 2003, although not fiction, is worth re reading.)

December 16, 2012 1:47 am

Tiburon says:
(December 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm)
Many thanks for your kind comments and interesting thoughts, Tiburon. Yes, one needs a thick skin as a writer, as the literary community I mingle in are all very well aware. Even a ‘successful’ work will attract some um… very challenging reviews, reflecting that there is a vast range of taste out there.
I dream of having one of my works made into a movie 🙂
Incidentally, ‘The Science Fiction Society of America’ defines a Short Story as being up to 7,500 words, a novelette between 7,500 and 17,500 (‘Truth’ is about 14,000), a novella from there up to 40,000 and after that a novel. But other bodies have other definitions! Confusing. Many thanks for passing the story on to others; I’m hoping it will open a few eyes regarding the social phenomena of CAGW.

December 16, 2012 1:58 am

David A. Evans says:
(December 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm)
Glad the the story worked out for you 🙂 Thanks for your comments.
I fact I’m not ex-forces, though I do have a certain insight into matters military. Fifty years ago the UK led the world in the design of MWRAPS (such vehicles probably had a different acronym then, but I can’t recall it), but in recent times we’re… well let’s say it’s a sore subject.

Eric H.
December 16, 2012 2:53 am

Hello Andy,
Thanks for posting the novelette here. It made for a nice Sunday morning read while the sun poked through here in Herts. The metaphors in your writing remind me of the first two Frank Peretti novel’s that I read back in my Christian days. I liked the progression; discovering the truth, the truth as a burden, turning a blind eye to the truth in exchange for acceptance and happiness. Thanks again.

December 16, 2012 3:43 am

Eric H. says:
(December 16, 2012 at 2:53 am)
My morning is not too far from yours, in Bucks. Thanks for your kind comment. In fact I’ve never read Peretti, but if I could generate 1% of his earnings with my writing, I’d be pretty happy 🙂

lurker passing through, laughing
December 16, 2012 4:09 am

Understanding AGW as meme is an important tool. It raises questions about so many things we take for granted. Thank you for so effectively pointing out how this dysfunctional aspect of social interaction has taken root.

Chris Wright
December 16, 2012 4:12 am

I just read it. It’s beautifully written and very thought-provoking. That image of the truth made visible will stay with me for a long time.
It seems to me that truth is the enemy of delusion, as it should be, but one man’s truth is another man’s delusion. Apparently a large fraction of Americans believe the world will end next Friday, and it seems that around 10 percent of the world’s population believe this. That’s pretty depressing. What’s even more depressing is that many of the same people will continue to believe in all the other forms of doom mongering, even when Friday has peacefully come and gone.
Unfortunately, for people who know little of climate science, when a climate scientist tells a lie, they will be taken in by it. I have a perfect example. You may have seen the BBC Horizon program, ‘Science under attack’. In it a senior NASA climate scientist told an outrageous and provable lie. He specifically stated that mankind emits 7 times more CO2 than Nature. This was part of his claimed proof. Of course, the truth is the exact opposite: mankind’s emissions are dwarfed by natural emissions, by a factor of around 30. You actually referred to this in your story.
The sad thing is that most people would have thought that the scientist was telling the truth.
Still, there is hope. This year several scientists, including Lovelock, radically changed their views. And we now have Owen Patterson in charge of DEFRA in the UK. Hopefully the truth will eventually triumph in climate science. But I’m not holding my breath.

December 16, 2012 4:45 am

lurker passing through, laughing says:
(December 16, 2012 at 4:09 am)
Thanks Lurker. I have enjoyed your comments many times here at WUWT 🙂

December 16, 2012 4:56 am

Chris Wright says:
(December 16, 2012 at 4:12 am)
Ah… sweet comments for an author, thankyou. I saw that program; sad indeed. Doom-mongering seems to be a very powerful trait that is almost hard-wired into us. In terms of evolutionary advantage, this may not be entirely a parasite but have positive value. Maybe it has helped to hold vast agglomerations of humans together in societies that would otherwise fracture. Not a comforting thought admittedly, at least until we grow out of it 0:

December 16, 2012 6:41 am

A new title for this theme of writing: Cli-Fi
I see that Al Goracle has made great strides in generating Climate Fiction with his ‘Inconvenient Truth’ product line, why can’t others join in the fun.
Hats off to you, Andy.

mike g
December 16, 2012 8:02 am

Enjoyed reading it. Thanks for doing the work.

December 16, 2012 8:27 am

Chris Wright says:
December 16, 2012 at 4:12 am
“The sad thing is that most people would have thought that the scientist was telling the truth.
Still, there is hope. This year several scientists, including Lovelock, radically changed their views.”
Inaccurate. Lovelock changed his official position, not his views. Look into the Burt Rutan interview, he mentions that Lovelock told him imn private what he thinks of warmism as well as of the Ozone scare long before L. changed his official stance.
Lovelock is into promoting his books and will publically exclaim anything that helps him in doing so. “Last remaining humans a few breeding pairs in the arctic”, yeah right.

December 16, 2012 8:42 am

MikeH says:
(December 16, 2012 at 6:41 am)
Thanks Mike. Cli-Fi, I love it!
mike g says:
(December 16, 2012 at 8:02 am)
And thanks for reading, glad you liked it 🙂

December 16, 2012 10:15 am

Thanks Andy! I will set this aside for later consumption and let you know what I thought of it.

December 16, 2012 3:30 pm

TrueNorthist says:
(December 16, 2012 at 10:15 am)
Cool, thanks. Feedback is always useful 🙂

December 16, 2012 3:32 pm

Hi Andy,
Nice story, well written. Now that the writing monkey is on your back it will never leave.

December 16, 2012 3:56 pm

Mike Borgelt says:
(December 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm)
Thanks Mike. And yes it won’t leave, I just have to figure out how to make it pay its way 😉

December 17, 2012 1:29 am

I’m pretty sure the editor of Analog would have bought that one.

December 17, 2012 10:12 am

mpainter says:
December 15, 2012 at 11:12 am
Personally, I do not understand what a writer of fiction has to do with issues of science.

Man, you have been deprived of a proper education.
It was a science fiction author, Arthur C. Clarke who first suggested the geosynchronous satellite. He was also an engineer and worked on British radar during WWII IIRC. Robert A. Heinlein, also trained as an engineer and a graduate of Annapolis was one of the most prolific and widely read sci-fi authors ever. Jules Verne forecast the electrically powered submarine and if you read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you might notice the dimensions of the Nautilus are very nearly those of a WWII fleet submarine. Clarke explored concepts of “virtual reality” and immersive, computerized role-playing games in The City and the Stars long before computers had heard of transistors – they were still running on vacuum tubes. Science attempts to understand reality, while fiction often highlights or perhaps determines what the relevant questions are.

David Ross
December 17, 2012 1:02 pm

Google trends show the climate-denier meme really taking off in 2010
But I think your character is about ten years out on the origin.

“Do you know how that term denier first came to be applied to sceptics?” he challenged.
Odd question. Though I suppose I didn?t really. “Isn?t it obvious?”
He smiled and handed me a tattered photocopy, apparently from a page of the Boston
Globe newspaper. I read the underlined passage.
I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s
just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one
denies the past and the other denies the present and future. The piece was dated a couple of years earlier; the writer was one Ellen Goodman.

That quote is from an Ellen Goodman article in the Boston Globe published on February 9, 2007. BTW, you can read a good rebuttal of it here.
It is an interesting question. Where did the “denier” meme come from and how did it develop. Some milestones:

Temperatures In 1980s May Presage Greenhouse Effect .
Free Lance-Star – Mar 31, 1988
But he [Tom Wigley] said that if “the next 10 years are as warm or warmer, it would be very hard to deny the greenhouse effect,” adding, is very hard to deny now. …
Should We Prepare For Greenhouse Effect?
The Dispatch – Feb 23, 1990
There can be no question that the greenhouse effect exists. … Senator Albert Gore accused those who deny that there is a problem of being of the mindset that prevailed in the oil industry before the Valdez oil spill: Denial that it will ever happen, and therefore refusal to prepare.

Those who deny…those who refuse to prepare…sounds a bit like Noah.

Greenhouse Effect: The Human Response; Anxiety Over Global Warming May Cause Confusion, Denial, Despair
Susan E. Davis, The Washington Post Apr 17, 1990
The discomfort of either conscious fear or deeper uneasiness produces in some people a state of denial known as “psychic numbing.” Psychologist Robert J. Lifton coined the term in the late ’60s to describe the psychological defense mechanisms of Hiroshima survivors. Psychologists used the phrase liberally during the past two decades to describe people’s inability to face the nuclear threat.
That denial is partly rooted in guilt. While nuclear war would be caused by a few decision-makers, the greenhouse effect, if it occurs, would be caused by the habits of individuals.

Pheeeeew, that was close. We could have been called the “psychicly numbed” or “psychic numbskulls”.
Next is perhaps the first direct comparison to holocaust deniers and for good measure fluoridation and AIDS doubters (BTW, a prominent early fluoridation skeptic, apart from the mad colonel in Dr. Strangelove, was Ralph Nader -part of the wider ‘capitalism is poisoning you’ meme, a sub-meme of ‘capitalism is killing you’).

The HIV Disbelievers
Newsweek – Aug 28, 2000
… to shake their faith in everything from water fluoridation to global-warming statistics, … who has studied Holocaust deniers and AIDS dissenters. …

And the first use of the dreaded denouncing d-noun.

Global Warming
Fort Worth Star-Telegram – Jun 13, 2001
America needs to become the leader in environmental care. In order to quiet the deniers of global warming in his own party, who are increasingly beginning to sound like flat-earthers, President Bush needed some strong ammo. He got just that in a report last week from the National Academy of Sciences. That report, commissioned at the request of the president, found that global warming “is real and particularly strong within the past 20…

December 17, 2012 1:28 pm

David Ross says:
(December 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm)
David, I bow to your superior knowledge and research! For the purposes of the story though, I figured that the first explicit comparison of sceptics to Holocaust deniers was the line in the sand, and Ellen’s comment seemed to be that line. I wasn’t aware of the Newsweek passage though, which is not an explicit connection but a good halfway there. Thanks for taking the trouble to look this up and share. I find the subtle growth of memes to be fascinating.

December 17, 2012 1:33 pm

andywest2012 says:
(December 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm )
Re Newsweek: Global warming is mentioned in the same paragraph (along with other stuff) as a person who has studied Holocaust deniers and AIDS dissenters. There is a clear moral implication there, but I think it falls short of a direct comparison.

David Ross
December 17, 2012 2:33 pm

No “superior knowledge” involved, Andy -just the little known Google News Archive
Handy, for those who don’t have access to services like Lexis-Nexus or ProQuest.
Google don’t advertise it as it was discontinued. They no longer scan and add old newspapers to the database but what they have already done is still accessible and quite extensive.
I was going for the earliest example. But later ones are more explicit.

Views on warming hard to thaw
Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 21, 2005
But refusal to recognize global warming or evidence of man’s role has become, in circles of the oil industry and the political right, a 21st century equivalent of Holocaust denial.
The Threat Is from Those Who Accept Climate Change, Not Those Who Deny It
George Monbiot, The Guardian, September 21, 2006
If the biosphere is ruined it will be done by people who know that emissions must be cut – but refuse to alter the way they live
Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial. But I’m not celebrating yet.

And, just for the heck of it, here is some other stuff,
For some man-made global warming will be the new “holocaust”.

The veneer of civilisation is easily eroded
Timothy Garton Ash, The Age, September 9, 2005
You think the looting, rape and armed terror that emerged within hours in New Orleans would never happen in nice, civilised Europe? Think again. It happened here, all over Europe only 60 years ago. Read the memoirs of Holocaust and gulag survivors
I can’t avoid the feeling that there will be more of this, much more of it, as we go deeper into the 21st century. There are just too many big problems looming that could push humanity back. The most obvious threat is more natural disasters as a result of climate change.

But for others, believing in it will be a “holocaust”.

Nyet to Kyoto?
The future of the Kyoto Protocol lies in the hands of Russia. Too bad.
Tue May. 18, 2004
Andrei Illarionov, chief advisor to Putin and one of Russia’s most outspoken opponents of Kyoto, says signing on to the treaty would cause an “economic holocaust for Russia” and that the science is “deeply flawed.” Illarionov told an audience at the Adam Smith Institute’s Energy Policy Unit in London on Tuesday:

I guess the Russians didn’t get the memo about all the world’s major scientific bodies signing on to the new religion.
And what does the world champion actual holocaust denier and all-round nut-job Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have to say?

Iran’s President Says Materialism, Capitalism Cause of Climate Change
Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN)
Friday, December 18, 2009
Every year millions of people lose their lives as a result of pollution, and skin and respiratory illnesses are on the increase. If greenhouse-gases continue to increase at the present speed, they will reach twice the level of gases before industrialization. In other words, instead of a reduction of 50 per cent, they will increase by 50 per cent and will pose a real challenge to the natural environment.

December 17, 2012 2:59 pm

David Ross says:
(December 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm)
I surrender 🙂 Actually that’s a really good resource, thanks, will squirrel away for future research. The Monbiot one is interesting, as it’s explicit and pre-dates Ellen G’s by a few months. I remember the Iranian one being on the national news here, no doubt it felt good to deliver a moral lecture to western industrial powers. Off the scale hypocracy.

December 18, 2012 10:49 am

A Lovell says:
(December 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm)
For some bizarre reason I seem to have missed you out in my replies. Feel free to make converts with ‘Truth’ too where you can. It is freely distributable under Creative Commons, so you can email to anyone you think might benefit from a wider view.

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