Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction (Paperback)
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A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in Science & Technology
In its 4.5 billion-year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How? In this brilliantly speculative work of popular science, Annalee Newitz, editor of io9.com, explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival are better than ever. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember explores how scientific breakthroughs today will help us avoid disasters tomorrow, from simulating tsunamis or studying central Turkey’s ancient underground cities, to cultivating cyanobacteria for “living cities” or designing space elevators to make space colonies cost-effective. Readers of this book will be equipped scientifically, intellectually, and emotionally to face whatever our future holds.
About the Author
Annalee Newitz is the founding editor of the science Web site io9.com and a journalist with a decade’s experience in writing about science, culture, and the future for such publications as Wired, Popular Science, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. She is the editor of the anthology She’s Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Geeky Stuff and was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. She lives in San Francisco.
“Terrific. . . . A whirlwind tour of geology, evolutionary biology, cultural anthropology and human history, as Newitz catalogs the terrifying disasters, catastrophes and genocides of geology and antiquity. . . . It’s a refreshingly grand sweep for a popular science book. . . . This is a delight of a book, balanced on the knife-edge of disaster and delirious hope.”
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“Fascinating. . . . [Newitz is] an excellent writer, with an effortless style. . . . The inner science geek in all of us will uncover some really cool stuff. . . . A terrific book that covers an astounding amount of ground in a manageable 300 pages. Newitz has done all the mental heavy lifting, all the hard work and research, and presented it so you get to enjoy it in a few days or weeks of fun reading. You will be smarter for it.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Few things are more enjoyable than touring the apocalypse from the safety of your living room. Even as Scatter, Adapt, and Remember cheerfully reminds us that asteroid impacts, mega-volcanos and methane eruptions are certain to come, it suggests how humankind can survive and even thrive. Yes, Annalee Newitz promises, the world will end with a bang, but our species doesn’t have to end with a whimper. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a guide to Homo sapiens’ next million years. I had fun reading this book and you will too.”
—Charles Mann, author of 1491
“One of the best popular science books I’ve read in a long, long time—and perhaps the only one that takes such a clear-eyed view of the future.”
—Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus
“Keen research and clear writing. . . . Sometimes, a brilliant observer can make an end run around what appears endless scientific quibbling daubed with politics.”
—The Buffalo News
“Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a refreshingly optimistic and well thought out dissection of that perennial worry: the coming apocalypse. While everyone else stridently shouts about the end of days, this book asks and answers a simple question: ‘If it’s so bad, then why are we still alive?’ I found myself in awe of the incredible extinction events that humankind—and life in general—has already survived, and Newitz inspires us with engaging arguments that our race will keep reaching the end of the world and then keep living through it. Scatter, Adapt, and Remember intimately acquaints the reader with our two-hundred-thousand-year tradition of survival—nothing less than our shared heritage as human beings.”
—Daniel H. Wilson, author of Robopocalypse and Amped
“This book is not a survivalist guide but rather a grand historical overview that puts humanity in the middle of its evolution, with fascinating looks both back and forward in time. An enormous amount of knowledge is gathered here, and the book accomplishes something almost impossible, being extremely interesting on every single page. A real pleasure to read and think about.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy
“An animated and absorbing account into how life has survived mass extinctions so far . . . and what we need to do to make sure humans don’t perish in the next one. . . . Humans may be experts at destroying the planet, but we are no slouches at preserving it, either, and Newitz’s shrewd speculations are heartening.”
“Newitz’s voice is fervent and earnest, and despite her gloomy topic, she leaves readers with hope for a long future.”