by Neal Stephenson
Many people are currently discovering Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash, a novel from 20 years ago in which he described the metaverse. Stephenson has an uncanny ability to see where technology is going in his books and often predicts the future with great accuracy. For example, ransomware attacks were core to the storyline of Reamde, as were the economics of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). Reamde came out well before most people had heard of ransomware or loot boxes.
In Termination Shock, Stephenson turns to the subject of climate change and geoengineering the planet. Stephenson provides historical and technical details on all places, technologies, and players in the story, so expect to learn a lot and go through several hundred pages of detailed descriptions of how the Dutch monarchy works, the biology of feral pigs, and many more topics.
Termination Shock is an informative imagining of the near future focusing on the geopolitics of climate change. I was most interested in his description of Drone Swarms, a topic of increasing concern for our military. Recommend.
J. Scott Christianson is a technologist and an Associate Teaching Professor of management at the Trulaske College of Business, where his interests are focused on the impact of technology on society. You can connect with him on his website, LinkedIn, Twitter, or by following his newsletter, The Free-Range Technologist.