Climate Change Risk
Back in 2007, I started thinking about writing a non-fiction book covering the possible effects of Climate Change. I wanted to focus on the effect that man was having on it. Over time, the pile of research documents grew larger, and I couldn’t keep up with all the reading. I began to understand why the topic is so contentious across scientific and political circles.
In reality, political will is too weak across the world, and I believe that will always remain so. No politician or political party could make the necessary legislative changes, and remain in power. Only a large global catastrophe would make the world’s governments act in unison and do what was required.
We, the naked ape, still cannot perceive of time longer than our own predicted lifespan. So how can we conceive of making collective and global decisions about what could happen in the year 2100? Many of our children might still be alive, and our grandchildren will certainly be
I also came to realise that science will win out in the end. We shouldn’t blame the scientists because they don’t get it right all the time. Nor should we blame them if they prove something that we don’t agree with. History has shown that scientists make decisions based on the absolutes they have at a certain point in time. Climate change is far too complex to get every model correct all the time.
Are you living on a planet that is the centre of the universe or one that is indeed flat? Those were absolutes for long periods of time in our history. I realised that because of the battle between science and politics, I’d leave non-fiction for the time being.
A Personal Journey
As a Wildlife Photographer and IT Consultant, I have travelled the globe extensively (yes I have a large carbon footprint that I must pay for) and I have seen first-hand how complex climate change can be. It was that concept of how it would affect me, the individual man, which I was drawn to.
In my research, I looked at the other problems that could result from a climate change event, and it quickly became obvious that so many areas would change dramatically. Decreasing food production would cause suffering for the massively increasing global population (cue more poverty). Resources of gas, oil, water and the other rare earth elements which are already stretched, would cause friction and war. The disease landscape would alter as the climate changed (malaria in London?) Mass migration would take place as populations were displaced due to catastrophic events.
Kyle Gibbs makes an appearance
It was this mass migration to large cities that was the first idea that struck a chord with me. I was raised in Southern Africa and the continent has a special place in my heart. So I came up with a storyline of a group of men making the journey from Central Africa to Europe, in search of a better life. This storyline plays out in, Phoenix, which is book 2, but it was the first storyline in the Kyle Gibbs series that I conceived.
I was working on a contract for an oil company when the idea of Kyle Gibbs started to form. Having travelled and worked in Aberdeen, I’ve been to so many of the places he frequents in all the novels. It was so easy to come up with the tough and abrasive Scot.
And so the writing began, and The Journey of Kyle Gibbs morphed from a standalone novel into a series, I also wrote the short story, Gibbs – The Early Years, to highlight his teenage years, living with a drunken, abusive father.
The Methane Threat
To set the background to the series, I had to pick one of the many possible climate change scenarios to be the major event that starts to occur at the latter part of Celt. I thought that a massive spike in methane, resulting in a rapid increase in the global average temperature, followed by massive glacial melt around the planet, would be the most appropriate one. So, I did take a liberty here with the sub-sea methane hydrate melt, as most scientists agree that the methane released wouldn’t, in fact, reach the atmosphere from the depths of the ocean floor. Creative license is claimed here because I wanted the methane issue to be raised in general.
The plot in Celt is initially about the race for resources as we meet the secretive global organisation in its earliest form, and Lord Francis Butler steps forward as one of the main antagonists. In the last few chapters, we see scientists struggling to comprehend the rapid release of methane, and so they alter their predictions of the resultant climate change event. In Phoenix, the major sea level has already happened and the people of the planet struggle to re-build their lives. The 3m rise in sea-level then serves as the background for the rest of the series.
I hope that the series does the Cli-fi (Climate Fiction) genre justice because I didn’t want to soapbox it and preach about the danger we may or may not face. It is still just a story about a man journeying through a troubled time, set against the backdrop of a climate event.
The Kyle Gibbs timeline through the series.
- Gibbs, 2004-2005 (aged 14-15) (short story)
- Celt, 2013 – 2027 (age 23-37)
- Phoenix, 2028-2029 (age 28-39)
- Kharon, 2033 (age 43)
- Anhur, 2043 (age 53)
The series may be brutal and violent in parts, but such is life in the real world. They exist alongside the beauty and compassion we also see every day, and it was my goal to convey them all.
There are currently no plans to extend the Kyle Gibbs series beyond these five books as I want to get writing on another few ideas I have. I have started the Hudson Drake series, a series of Eco-thriller novellas set against wildlife trafficking and other conservation issues that are a challenge to saving the natural world
Note: Floodlanders is a short story that I wrote as a prequel to Phoenix while I was waiting for Celt to be edited. When you are busy writing a novel, there are periods of downtime, and I like to get a short story out if I can. Some of the characters that appear in Floodlanders show up again in Phoenix and the books that follow.
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