Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review - Polar City Dreaming: How Climate Change Might Usher In The Age Of Polar Cities by Stephan Malone

A very thorough look at Polar City engineering with short fictional interludes

This book made me think about a book I've read about but never been able to read, in fact I forget the title and the author, but more on that at the end of my review. Polar city contains two books in one. The first is a fictional series of excerpts from a diary about life in a Polar City some several hundred years from now, written by a girl named Anlith. Interpolating this is an analysis of the types of technologies, and their current state of engineering, that humanity may need in a polar city some estimated 500 years from now. Thankfully, in Taiwan an other places people are actually concerning themselves with how we will live 500 years from now. This part is dry in places, though it is very thorough. Author Stephan Malone dissects each type of technology, and how it is engineered and built today (with some exploration of expected improvements), and puts the best pieces in place in his imagined Polar City.

Now even if you believe the climate will be exactly the same 500 years from now, exploration of the polar regions and development of resources are taking place today, with routes and the technologies to navigate them being explored, and technologies to haul resources from the polar regions being developed. Inevitably, cities will develop in those regions. And the exploration and mapping taking place today echoes the mapping of trade routes hundreds of years ago.

Which brings me to the thing I can't remember. One time while exploring documents on Archive dot org I came across a reference to a book, the most interesting book I've never read. It was written by a government clerk in Britain shortly after the American revolution and set out the next hundred years almost perfectly. This clerk envisioned cities organized by numbered communities with vehicles that traveled by cable, a mail system, an almost perfect exploration of developments of the nineteenth century, including an expectation of a great war in Europe early in the 20th Century because of over development of weaponry. It put the year of the war at 1908. The book, from the reference I read, was organized almost exactly like Stephan Malone's Polar City, one part being a letter from the future, the other being an analysis of developments. The book is very rare. At the time I found the reference I looked it up in library searches and only found it in three university collections, all of which were restricted. Anyway, I talk about that book because I felt like I was reading the same thing when I was reading Polar City.

Link:  Polar City Dreaming: How Climate Change Might Usher In The Age Of Polar Cities by Stephan Malone
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