terça-feira, 4 de março de 2014
Society turns to steampunk to fix its climate woes
POOR old Jules Verne. In recent years, the standing of the French science fiction pioneer has slipped below that of fellow author H. G. Wells. Wells's science tends to be wackier than Verne's. For example, in The First Men in the Moon, people get there thanks to a metal that blocks gravity, whereas Verne's explorers in From the Earth to the Moon blast into space from a giant gun.
But Wells's grasp of social mores has brought him critical acclaim: the decadent Eloi and troglodyte Morlocks of The Time Machine are as apt an allegory for the class divide today as they were in 1895.
Now, however, society is once again warming to the kind of "steampunk" engineering that Verne celebrated in his books (see "20,000 megawatts under the sea: Oceanic steam engines"). Verne's relevance may grow still further as more megaprojects come online. Geoengineering? Nemo, the renegade submarine captain of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, would probably approve.
This article appeared in print under the headline "Society turns steampunk"