Paolo Bacigalupi's "A Full Life": climate apocalypse with a side of intergenerational warfare and science denial

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Great stuff.


It’s a perfect prequel to Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140.

Also a companion piece to this novel:

Uncle Armando said the people in Florida deserved what they got.

“Those lame-ass seawalls! Some political appointee just made up the standards! That’s why Manhattan used the European standards

Apparently seawalls wouldn’t really work to prevent flooding in Miami like they would in NYC anyhow. Which doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be built – there are few places more suited toward funding and building a boondoggle like that than Florida is.

“You should have known” and “you deserved what you got” is a theme that runs through the story, as is the fact that no-one’s saying that to the Boomer or Gen X character Nona, who did know but still escapes the worst of it. Really, though, the problem will not primarily be with how people of a certain generation failed to act as individuals but how corporations and governments enthralled to them failed to act on the scale required.


He’s earned a place on the shelf next to the sunny William Styron.

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I read the story online, then bought the magazine when it came out, just so I can get really depressed reading the rest of the stories about how fucked we are. Perfect bedtime reading so my nightmares are more factually based.


Netflix needs to do some of these future-state stories.

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I read The Windup Girl but I didn’t particularly like it. I felt like it engaged with climate change the way VC Andrews engages with child abuse.

I’m a big fan of misanthropy, but my problem with imagining climate change mostly as an opportunity to say “I told you so” to grotesquely immiserated normies is that it’s silly. This is going to happen, to all of us, and there’ll never be a clear narrative of blame. There is some irony in saying “well I cycle everywhere and have my own wormery, so everyone else deserves what they get for being so self-involved”.

As Cory says, in future generations, mainstream culture is certain to be more systems-conscious and more focused on the natural world. But that will be because the natural world is all up in our grilles, not because pious finger-pointing made any difference. So let’s get past that.

(I’m sure I’ll read this story at some point, perhaps I am not remembering that other book fairly)


Was just on a webinar with Dr Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist and public educator, in which she said some coastal Florida real estate values are down now by 7% compared to more inland properties.

May Bacigalupi know more about the economics of common pool resources as studied by Elinor Ostrom than Kim Stanley Robinson did in New York 2140. May he also understand the varieties of primary and secondary solar energy more than he did in his previous books. I enjoy both authors but I am annoyed that they miss the boat on these issues time and again.

“Really, though, the problem will not primarily be with how people of a certain generation failed to act as individuals but how corporations and governments enthralled to them failed to act on the scale required.”

Which will not stop some from blaming those individuals or generations. But then I’m a Boomer who has spent my time since the 1970s working on environmental and energy issues to, seemingly, little effect. Personally, I think it will be one too many times a “classic hit of the 60s” comes on that will trigger the mass murder of my generation by the younger folk.

I tried to like it, I really did, but it was so negative I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t care for any of the characters, they were all assholes so I didn’t want to find out how it ended. Fantastically detailed setting but no emotional content.


Thanks, I was hoping to cry at work today.

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