Book Review of TimeWars: Manifest Destiny, by Jason Fairchilds

Timewars: Manifest Destiny by Jason Fairchild

  1. Review

The plot in brief: Scientists develop a time machine in 2015. While testing, they find out that in the near future the “Bram” alien race will invade Earth and use it as a base for harvesting. They send drone harvesting machines that take away anything in their path, leaving nothing for humanity.

Since human military technology is powerless against the superior alien technology, the American military sends teams in the future and the past to try to find a way of dealing with the threat. Going back into the past, they recruit Steve Jobs and World War II General George S. Patton for this effort.

Since I don’t share the author’s passion about quantum theory, I felt that topic was given too much space. Never mind how a time machine works. If you are writing a time machine novel, just put the damn thing in there and skip the incredibly boring details of the explanation.

In contrast, I liked the basic premise of using a time machine to try fighting an invasion of aliens with much superior technology.

That’s because it is an interesting model for thinking about global warming.

2. Discussion

In Fairchild’s book, one of the solutions offered is to go back in time and accelerate development of human technology.

Bill Gates recently gave a long interview at the Atlantic magazine. In that interview, he repeats his point of view that the solution for global warming depends on developing new technology faster.

That’s exactly what Fairchild does in his novel.

And there is certainly nothing wrong with accelerating technological process. All things equal, it will help to have more options. It will help to get the cost of existing options down. It will help to achieve this faster rather than slower.

On the other hand, in Fairchild’s book, the enemy are aliens. In the global warming scenario, the enemy is humanity.

There is no way to use regulation to keep away an alien invasion. It is easy to use regulation to stop humanity from destroying itself.

All we need is some legislation.

If it becomes a crime to produce, sell, hold or burn fossil fuel (as it is in the 24th Century world of my global warming science fiction novel Last Week), then most people will refrain from driving a stinking gasoline car.

While it might be slightly too radical for most people’s taste to treat fossil fuel like cocaine right now, more moderate solutions like requiring reductions in fossil fuel production might actually find the necessary majorities. Especially since the owners of fossil fuel reserves would see the value of those reserves go up.

Anyway, the main point here is that technological progress, as advocated by Bill Gates in his Atlantic interview and by Jason Fairchild in his novel sure helps.

But, in the words of Bill Gates, that would be a “miracle”.

In contrast, regulation is a sure shot. We could get it done in a week, anytime.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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