“You want it one way”


Sometimes there’s a tension between the way it is and the way we want it to be. Marlo pointed that out to the security guard in The Wire, and Maria brought it up in The Water Knife. Sometimes people see how it is, and sometimes people see how they want it to be. There was a quote earlier in the book that suggested we can be blind to the obvious:


I remember watching a talk by futurist Glen Hiemstra many years ago, where he said it is important to envision the future we want to see. I took that to mean that if we look for dystopia, that is what we will find. But if we imagine a better world, we will figure out how to get there. That can be so hard to do though, when the world gets darker and darker. Maybe the trick is to be aware of what could go wrong, and envision how to avoid it. “Take a sad song and make it better,” as the song goes.

When I saw the cover blurb, “Chinatown meets Mad Max,” I knew I had to read The Water Knife. It’s brutal, backstabbing fun, a vision of a near future where there’s not enough water to go around. In his blog post about the book, Bryan Alexander linked to a National Geographic article on water wars, which isn’t quite as apocalyptic as the novel. The issue of water rights came up in the Canadian TV series Intelligence as well, about a decade ago. To some people it’s a big deal; others are “blithely oblivious.” Could it take a near-apocalyptic event to get people to take water and climate seriously? Will it be too late then? Or will we find ways to adapt? I think we can. It’s what we’re good at.

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