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239 pages, Paperback
First published January 28, 2015
Now, though, the sea is returning. In recent years these fields and towns have flooded more than once, and although the windmills that drive the drainage systems testify to people’s determination to keep the water at bay, it is really only delaying the inevitable.
Those who live here know this, of course. Hence the signs of preparation, the rowboats in driveways and on lawns, the canoes and kayaks propped against walls.
There was a time when people talked about boiling the frog, arguing that the warming of the planet was too gradual to galvanise effective action, and although in recent years that has changed, delay having been replaced by panic, resistance replaced by more effective solutions, Adam still suspects that at some level people do not understand the scale of the transformation that is overtaking them. Even if it hasn’t happened yet, the reality is that this place is already lost, that some time soon the ocean will have it back, the planet will overwhelm humanity.
It was sort of sad, all the trees there in the water, but it was also weirdly beautiful. The water was dark brown – tannin from the eucalypts, Dr Leith told me later – and so still you could see the grass and leaves and branches scattered in the shallows.
I would have stayed there longer, but after a while I began to feel uneasy, like somebody was watching me. Looking around I couldn’t see anybody, but then again if there was somebody it would have been dead easy for them to hide. Just like realising people had been in the house last night, it creeped me out, so I headed back.
Noah had his lenses on when I got there, his face twitching and his hands opening and closing. I watched him for a while, wondering how long the software agents and AIs would keep running if we all died. Would the games continue on without us? It was a strange thought, all those worlds left empty, waiting, their only inhabitants things of bits and light.