Why You Should Read a 900-Page Novel About the Climate Crisis

Lauren Goode: Thank you. I mean, I do like to stay informed, it is what we do, we live in the news, we live in information, but—yeah, it’s almost like if, when I’m on a plane, I’d rather not know the turbulence is coming. I’d rather just—OK, oh, there was a bump, right? But when the pilot gets on and says we’re going to have 30 minutes of severe turbulence coming up, I am like, “Oh my God,” I’m gripping my seat. But if there are few bumps along the way, and I feel like, “Oh, we’re all on this metal tube together,” and all these people around me are acting differently and doing different things, and I’m sort of observing, I’m OK, I’m OK in the moment.

Gideon Lichfield: You know, a funny thing happens to me on planes, which is as the plane starts to taxi for takeoff is when I’m most likely to fall asleep, and I think—

Lauren Goode: Same!

Gideon Lichfield: It’s because at that moment is when I know that I’ve given up my fate. It is in the hands of the pilot and the aircraft manufacturer and the elements, and there is nothing I can do except focus on my immediate comfort, and that’s kind of relaxing. And maybe what we’re both saying in different ways is that the way to deal with this barreling into this scary, terrifying future is to focus on the immediate things that you can do for yourself and for the people around you, and the world around you. Because what’s coming is coming, and whether you spend a lot of time reading about possible futures and imagining all the scenarios and trying to prepare for them, or whether you try to shut that out and just focus on the present day, the end result is the same, you’re still working on the things that you yourself can influence right now.

Lauren Goode: So should I read the 900-page book [chuckle]? Should I spend right now reading the 900-page book about the future?

Gideon Lichfield: I think you could read it because it does provide a really interesting picture of how the world might evolve and how politics of climate change might develop, and if you’re at all curious about the kinds of political moves that we might make to try to change climate policy, it can give you some ideas.

Lauren Goode: All right, well, I don’t want to bury my head in the sand. I’m a believer in being informed, and you’ve convinced me that this is probably a book at least worth considering reading, so as we are doing this, I’m going into my Goodreads app right now, typing in The Deluge, adding to Want to Read, and, Gideon, I think I may give it a go.

Gideon Lichfield: All right, well, come back to me in three months when you’ve finished it, and let me know what you think.


Lauren Goode: Sounds good, hopefully will help ease my anxiety.

Gideon Lichfield: And if it doesn’t, we can talk about it.


Gideon Lichfield: That’s our show for today. Thank you for listening. Have a Nice Future is hosted by me, Gideon Lichfield.

Lauren Goode: And me, Lauren Goode. If you like the show, you should tell us. Leave us a rating and a review wherever you get your podcasts. And don’t forget to subscribe so you can get new episodes each week.

Gideon Lichfield: You can also email us at nicefuture@wired.com. Tell us what you’re worried about, what excites you, any questions you have about the future, and we’ll try to answer them with our guests.

Lauren Goode: Have a Nice Future is a production of Condé Nast Entertainment. Danielle Hewitt from Prologue Projects produces the show. Our assistant producer is Arlene Arevalo.

Gideon Lichfield: See you back here next Wednesday. And until then, have a nice future.


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