The genre of science fiction can be most frightening at times. The question of how the world (humanity) will end has been approached many different ways in literature and in media. Extraterrestrials invading the Earth or robots gaining AI, it is usually highly dramatic and theatrical. This can all be quite terrifying to the audience, but that fear will evaporate over time. We are aware (for the most part) that aliens are not going start blowing up our houses and eat our pets. It’s pretty safe to believe that an advanced robot army is not going to kill your family now or in the near future.
The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future horrifies the reader more than the big dramatic robots. The text reeks with hard-hitting reality. This Cli-fi essay targets and explores the real consequences that our planet and mankind face from severe climate change. It paints a rather dry but painstakingly realistic report written from a historian from the year 2349. The narrator lacks engagement with the reader. The dry clinical like report is strictly facts and history from the historian. This however does not disengage the reader. Oreskes and Conway mix grim reality with projected disasters in an entertaining manner. The dramatic consequences are smoothly presented by the historian in a factoid way. This presentation lacks the over the top flare that many readers are used to. This allows for a subtle effect of authenticity and truth to come through the writing to the reader.
“To the historian studying this tragic period of human history, the most astounding fact is that the victims knew what was happening and why.” (35)
This is the most horrify fact and that it easy to see. Oreskes and Conway created a telling tale that demonstrates and presents the real major threat of climate change on the earth and the political and economic forces that seem to be unstoppable. Without extreme theatrics they were able to produce a horrifying work that is only half fiction. This is the text that should be keeping people up at night, for this is more likely to be the end of mankind.