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1000 years. Three worlds. Same day.

by Chris Wayan, 2003-4

A series of tourist guides for the planets Earth, Venus and Mars
as they'll be one thousand years from now--three worlds transformed.
An Earth with doubled CO2,
flooded coasts, temperate poles
Terraformed, but
definitely not Terra
the ugly duckling
becomes a swan


Imagine it's exactly one thousand years from now. Picture Earth, Mars, and Venus, all on the same day. How have the three worlds changed? Skip the usual human-centered concerns of science fiction--cultures, technology, cities...utopia or extinction. Focus beyond us and our big egos for once! What of the background behind the human drama? The geography and ecology of these three worlds, as worlds?

Now go find some globes in a thrift store. Buy them, steal them, I don't care. But take them apart and rebuild them--as globes of the future. And while you research and sculpt the complex landforms of these three worlds, contemplate the following questions:

Rough in your new world, land by land. Expect a lot of corrections--climate, like evolution, is feedback-chaos!

Now paint your globe in detail. Deep green jungles, olive savannas and scrublands, yellowish grasslands, green temperate forests, pine-dark subarctic forests, brown and reddish deserts, pale sand dunes, black lava fields, white ice, turquoise reefs and shallows, indigo abysses...


Now step back and evaluate. Overall, what have you got? Have you gained or lost, in a thousand years?

You can try to maximize biomass, or biodiversity, or the most habitable land; or simply try to minimize dead or marginal lands; or even try to create the most places with conditions likely to evolve intelligent creatures spontaneously--sapiogenesis, to coin a word.

Or you can simply aim for the strangest worlds.

Remember, though, you're not God. The game is FUTURES, not CONTINENTAL DRIFT or RANDOM WORLDBUILDING (not that those aren't fun too). You're stuck with the landforms we know. Yes, people 1000 years from now who can terraform worlds could surely move mountains or even continents if they wanted to, but part of the fun is to map bizarre changes onto familiar landforms! So hands off world geography--no adding new continents, no moving them around. The Pacific and Hellas are deep basins, and they will be in 1000 years, too. Tibet, Tharsis and Ishtar will still be highlands. Use existing geography!

The rest, you extrapolate. Because nothing teaches climatology faster than having to create a climate.

Oh--one final question. Do you like the world you made?

Now go outside. Look around. And repeat the question.

Three related sets of world-models: Tilt! -- The Biosphere Variations -- Caprices -- Home page for all four sets: Planetocopia

LISTS AND LINKS: terraforming - other worlds - ecology - time travel - climate change - evolution - orbital dreams - populations and eco-crashes - natural disasters - sculptures and 3D art -

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