Fact meets fiction: Denial and reality in Double Bind


Your favorite bestselling authors describe times when the world around them comes to reflect situations from their  books. This week, the author of Double Bind describes a warning for us all.

By Seb Kirby

I’ve seldom thought of my fiction as having any intention to foresee the future. What I mainly write about is the interior landscape of ordinary people facing unprecedented changes in their lives. But in one of my earliest novels, Double Bind, published eight years ago, I did stray into that territory. The book starts out as a doppelgänger fantasy but then quickly takes on a sci-fi direction. I don’t want to reveal the main plot line since this is meant to be one of those secrets that sneaks up on the reader. But suffice it to say that a large element of the story is the understanding that the world we live on exists in a fragile equilibrium that could be overturned at any moment by climate change.

When I wrote this, I was thinking that my imagined dystopia might serve as a warning to my grandchildren or great grandchildren. Since then, increasingly in last few years, it is becoming clear that the meltdown is already taking place in our time and at an escalating rate. So, whether you look at the speed with which ice is melting at the poles or the alarming rate of the increase in the extinction of species or the incidence of wildfires and soaring temperatures in the northern hemisphere or the release of methane from the north Asian tundra, the story is the same. We’ve entered a new geological age – the anthropocene. Meaning that for the first time in the three billion year history of our planet, human activity has become the dominant factor in its future. And the prognosis is not good. We may already have pushed that fragile equilibrium beyond the tipping point.

Here is an extract of what I wrote in Double Bind:

“Tell me about the deniers.” It’s Ingrid and she’s demanding more answers. Now that I’ve leveled with her about who I am.

We’re sitting at one end of the research area. Peterson and Janet are within earshot working the Xilix system, searching for information.

I move close to her and whisper. “Maybe we should talk somewhere more private.”

She whispers back. “No. Trust Peterson. The more he knows, the more he’ll be able to help.”

“You’re right.” I speak up so Peterson can hear. “It’s a long story that goes all the way back when.”

“Back to your home?”

“Yes all the way back there. The deniers. They destroyed the planet.”

I’m trying to keep from her and Peterson the true weight of the disaster. What happened as the planet died. How the life was sucked out of it in a rage of sulphur, bromine and day long darkness. How the sun disappeared and eternal night settled upon us.

“They watched as your planet died?”

“They couldn’t see the disaster that was right there in front of them. They still don’t see it. They don’t see the connection between what they did and what happened.”

“Why not?”

I swallow hard. “Ingrid. They blamed it on an angry god. A god who’d lost faith with them. Not for what they’d done but for what those who’d tried to talk them out of their madness had done.”

“People like you?”

“Yes, people like me. People who could see the big mess for what it is. What you call the tipping point. People who told them that you can’t keep pushing the planet, can’t keep overloading it with the energy that you keep producing and expect it to keep bouncing back.”

It’s an apocalyptic vision that worries me now more than it did back when I penned this just eight years ago.

Ray Bradbury’s abundant imagination strayed into this terrain in the fifties with his remarkable cycle of sequenced stories, brought together as The Martian Chronicles, that tell of the colonisation of Mars. All that remained of the sophisticated inhabitants of the planet were ghosts that represented the dying essences of a civilisation that had come and gone, one that had failed to see that the outcome of their incessant need to squander the natural assets of their world would lead to a new equilibrium on their planet in which they had no place.

We are not yet at that point. But we are close to it. It is still possible that we could commence on the kind of terraforming activities that brought life to our planet in the first place. Yet this would take significant and determined effort beginning right now. It’s by no means clear that we have the collective understanding of the importance of this task or the organisation and resources to carry it out. But one can only hope and do what one can to bring this about and avoid the catastrophe that awaits.

About Double Bind

Life-changing experiences come thick and fast for Raymond Bridges as he attempts to unravel a mystery that goes to the heart of his being.

It’s a thrilling journey that leads him to question so much of what he finds in the world around him – including the loyalty of those he thinks he knows well.

What he uncovers is a conspiracy that shakes the world he knows to its foundations and asks key questions about our responsibility to the planet.

A book that just might invoke deep thoughts about how we live today – or just be appreciated for the wild ride of the imagination that it undoubtedly is.

Get it from Amazonhttp://smarturl.it/dbb 

Seb Kirby

BestSelling author Seb Kirbywas literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More; the science-fiction thriller, Double BindEach Day I Wake; and Sugar for Sugar. His latest book is another psychological thriller, Here the Truth Lies.

Seb can be found:

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