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The inspiration for the novel EIGHT...

I’ve been asked why I wrote EIGHT. As a fictional tale interweaving climate science and solastalgia along with a crime story, just what stirred me to pen this particular story? I can best answer that with my own question: do you read the headlines? Since EIGHT is a novel, I might rephrase that like this – do you read the headlines, real and imagined?

No doubt you can see where we’re heading here. Temperatures soaring, sea levels rising, rainfall totals mounting, wind speeds increasing, bush fires raging… Look around you. Even people’s tempers seem to be on the rise, and more bullying happening at work and in schools. Violent road rage is increasing, the drug epidemic is lethal to tens of thousands, and domestic violence haunts every neighbourhood… But our saviour could be… [Cue the trumpets!] the Subdermal Angel Microchip - the SAM! This just might be the answer to our prayers.

Just imagine all the computing power and connectivity of a smartphone but implanted in a rice-grain-sized chip. It easily fits beneath the thenar web space – that’s the skin between your thumb and index finger. What could possibly go wrong?

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For too long, we have viewed climate science as somehow separate from all other issues. It isn’t. Almost two decades ago, Professor Glenn Albrecht recognised that solastalgia is a growing mental health issue globally and taught us that changes to the ecosystem do not occur in a vacuum. Of course, the Earth had higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the past, but not with 7.7 billion people on the planet.

 

Naturally, the climate constantly changes, but again, not with 7.7 billion people on spaceship Earth. If you were born in 1971, the number of people alive today is double the population since you came on board. If you were born in 1950, the world’s population has tripled within your lifetime. Barring a catastrophe, we are on track to reach 9 billion souls on this planet by 2039, and that – many have argued – may be the maximum number of humans who can live on this planet comfortably.

So, what inspired me to write EIGHT? Have a look at some of the imagined headlines I’ve included here…

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A Subdermal Angel Microchip - a SAM