Special thanks to short story reviewer Sam Tomaino (and, of course, editor Gayle Surrette) for a brief review of our brief stories from last month.
The problem with reviewing such short stories is that you can’t say too much without giving the whole thing away, and the problem with thanking people for such short reviews is that you can’t give a flavor for what they say without quoting most of the review. I’ll shut up now so you can read Sam’s reviews. (Hint: he seems to have liked them.)
While you’re there, you might be interested in the interview with Paolo Bacigalupi. He’s paranoid without letting it get him over the edge, which is interesting, and I like this line from his comment about The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement: “I love it. It means more elbow room for me and mine.”
August 12, 2008 @ 9:06 am
I pretty much agree with all of that. Humans are a part of nature that also transcend what we normally think of as “nature”. We overcome our own animal instincts, for example, and are able to reason about the ways in which we are unreasonable. Taking that away from the Earth would leave her open to chance and cockroaches. Why would we want to do that?
August 11, 2008 @ 11:43 am
I would like to add 2 additional points about human extinction and the general idea that getting rid of humans is the answer.
I think that it is easy to see humans can do great damage via pollution, even if you don’t think global warming is happening (and I feel odds are that it is these days) there is still the toxic pollution that has been added to rivers, lakes, and some pieces of land that has a detrimental effect of plant and animal life in that area. So we do cause pollution and it does cause harm.
Does that last point mean that life/from Earth would be better without us? I argue no. Not only are we part of life on/from Earth but if we are able to limit the damage we do to various ecosystems around the world so they do not collapse then we provide means by which life on Earth will become life from Earth and those have the potential to survive past the point (in about 5 billion years from now-so keep paying your mortgage) when the sun expands and most things remaining on Earth get cooked. While humanity should learn how not to damage other forms of life on Earth and should actively work to avoid harm now, we are the only species likely to currently enable space travel and thus create the ability to evacuate the planet when such an evacuation becomes necessary to sustaining most of the life on/from Earth (not just us).
Thus calling for human extinction actually removes a potential boon to the survival of Earth’s various life-forms.
I would argue the harm via pollution that humans cause is mainly not due to the number of humans but to the manner we go about economic development. Global Warming is caused by greenhouse gasses. This are released by the burning of fossil fuels. If not for the latter the former would not be a problem. Also look at China, it has a great deal of problems relating to both air and water quality because of the many emissions (some of which are quite toxic) put into each. China’s emissions problem (touching on fossil fuels again) has grown worse after it started its population control program. This can happen because of the fact that there is no stable ratio between the amount of humans and amount of emissions, factories, cars, coal powers plants, and so on. China jumped ahead of the USA in CO2 emissions not by a population boost but through rapid and reckless economic development in which consideration of the environment was not an issue. Thus focusing on economic systems systems to be the logical way to prevent pollution and environmental damage.
Note: Population control does not involve counting and limiting the amount of emissions-only the number of humans. This is why it actually fails to serve as effective protection for the environment.