Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Summer 2100

Mara grips her father's hand as they face the impossible truth. All the islands in the north are gone. Now it's too late for miracles. The entire network of islands has been swallowed by the sea. Along with most of Wing.
“We're out of time, Mara,” says her father.
Furious, Mara runs down to the edge of the waves, crashes into the sea and struggles to reach the old red phone box that stands on the humpbacked bridge. Up to her waist in water, she reaches an arm through a windowpane that's long emptied of glass and dials the old emergency number. Why, she doesn't know. Who she is calling, she doesn't know either. Who on Earth does she think might answer? The line is dead of course.
This can't happen, Mara sobs down the phoneline that's been dead for decades.
No one answers. They're all long gone.

Fox leans closer. ‘It was a hundred years ago, Mara. It’s history.’
‘But they knew. They could’ve done something but they didn’t. They knew. They didn’t think about the future, did they? They never thought about us.’

After this summer’s catastrophic floods in the UK and all across Asia, and Hurricane Dean now rampaging across the Caribbean and hurtling into Mexico, the event I’m doing at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival could not be more timely. On Sunday, I will be exploring visions of the future with two other authors. The debate is not just about Scotland, it’s about all our futures.

Floods have wrecked millions of lives, the storm is still rising... but people are beginning to talk about ‘climate change fatigue’? It’s true that if one more breezy celeb nags me to use low energy light bulbs, having been flown in and taxied to a TV studio where lights blaze day and night (just as they burn in empty offices in every city in the world) I feel I'll blow a fuse myself.

We need less nagging and a lot more vision and imagination. That’s what fiction, and the event, is all about. We’d love you to add your energy to the mix.

Apocalyptic Scotland: Julie Bertagna, Catherine Forde & James Jauncey
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Charlotte Square Gardens

Sun 26/08/2007 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Teens & adults

Join some of teen fiction's strongest voices on a journey to a new Scotland. Each has written distinctly different dystopian futures for the nation. In an age of uncertainty, political upheaval and environmental catastrophe, they look to the future to explore who we are and who we may yet become. A truly outstanding collaboration not to be missed.

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