Extreme Weather Patterns In Fiction: A Riverine Book Review

by McCarter & English: Climate Change & Renewable Energy
Contact

One of the guidelines for this blog is to stay away from extreme views. The effects of climate change do not need to be amplified to merit reasoned discussion and thoughtful application of what we as lawyers do. So what were we to do with a request from Simon & Schuster that we provide a pre-release review of Rivers by Michael Faris Smith, an "incidence of fiction presenting an all-too-real possibility." "All-too-real" meaning "a series of devastating storms has pummeled the American Southeast in the years since Hurricane Katrina. The federal government has drawn a boundary known as the Line, and everything below it has been declared uninhabitable." Ahhh! Climate change equals the apocalypse, nuclear armageddon without the nuclear.

Of course, we have a number of issues with that. First, climate science does not anticipate that the severity of tropical hurricanes is going to increase. Second, El Niño and La Niña control the Atlantic hurricane season and Mr. Smith omits any mention of their importance. Last, there are a heck of a lot of inhospitable places on the earth, but, to our knowledge, governments don't abandon those areas, whether the inhospitableness is due to man (think the Niger Delta) or nature (think the North Slope). Instead, they are exploited for their resources and taxed.

So we were prepared to be skeptical. But just as one willingly suspended disbelief as one enjoyed On the Beach and Planet of the Apes, so too here. Mr. Smith crafts a fine novel with apt foreshadowing, three-dimensional characters, and a well-spun yarn that kept us turning the pages. You know you are in the hands of a master when the title shows up multiple times in various manifestations. I counted at least five. Here's one: it had rained every day for 631 days and when you were caught in it it felt like this: "The water ran down his head and face and arms and legs. Under his skin. In his bones." "In his bones."  Anyone caught outside in a hurricane, flipped out of a kayak for more than a moment, or working for a living in heavy sea states can grasp this sense of continuous immersion.

One of the more significant things about all this rain is that it washes away everything. Even names. Not one of the characters has a last name. Some don't have proper first names either. You can read about one particularly odious preacher-polygamist-type fellow, Aggie, on the book jacket.

We'll stick with the main character, Cohen. He has remained south of the Line for several years, nurturing the memories of his wife and baby girl, when a misjudgment sets in motion the theft of everything and he ends up at the camp of the afore-mentioned Aggie. Suffice to say, things don't go well there and he is off with a small family (new-born, six- and 16-year old boys, 19-year old girl, and two breedable (see Aggie) women, one pregnant and one not) in a small caravan. Not the type of road trip one would willingly take to the beach, much less to a war zone, but they had hope.

Or did they? They cower against the omnipresent storm in an abandoned store, which still has its roof. As the storm howls,

"They were small things against this big thing. Against this enormous thing. Against this relentless thing. Small, exhausted things whose lives had become something so strange and extraordinary that it didn't seem possible that they could be anywhere but sitting in this abandoned building in this abandomed land in this storm-filled night in this storm-filled world. They sat still and exuded exhaustion. Maybe even hopelessness. Maybe even helplessness. The day had begun with the idea of a finish line, but that idea was being washed away in the torrent of despair."

But they persevere and make it to the Line. Which we imagined as some sort of customs checkpoint, with Civilization on one side and Barbarity on the other. But that was based on the explanations provided by the poor souls who had been stuck south of the Line for years. In the interim, Barbarity had moved north, and the hoped-for refuge was more illusion than reality. Still, one could actually get a hot meal, and clean sheets, ... And a bullet, or several, for your troubles.

Sarah Connor survives another end-of-the-world saga in the Terminator series and carries on. Cohen does similarly, but with twists and turns and shades of meaning that are unanticipated.

Rivers may not be good climate science, but it still is a very good read.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© McCarter & English: Climate Change & Renewable Energy | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

McCarter & English: Climate Change & Renewable Energy
Contact
more
less

McCarter & English: Climate Change & Renewable Energy on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!