Contrarian Cli-Fi 0.08: The Last Centurion

A sub-theme of this series is the popularisation of science and the role of science journalism within climate contrarian. We started with James P. Hogan in OMNI in 1993, and later we dived back to Analog in the 1980s. If like me, you are British, then you probably got your weekly hit of science news and articles from New Scientist, which has been covering science and technology on Britain’s newsstands since the mid-1950s. In the early 1960s, the editorship of the magazine passed to science writer Nigel Calder.

Calder was a prolific science writer and not just in books and magazines but also in major documentaries for BBC and Channel 4. One such was The Weather Machine in 1974. Presented by Magnus Magnuson, the two-hour documentary took British viewers through the developing discipline of climate science:

“1974 has been a bad year for weather, with disastrous floods and droughts, a failed monsoon in India, unprecedented tornadoes in America, a dismal summer and unseasonable gales in Europe. The machine that makes the world’s weather is changing gear – and the shift is downward, against mankind. The smallest change means loss of life in flood or drought, and the wholesale destruction of crops. For us, the price of food goes up; for millions more, it brings hunger or starvation. In the background looms the threat of ice, and the obliteration of northern lands – including Britain. The next ice-age is already overdue. The trends are revealed in cores drilled from deep beneath the Greenland ice-cap; by instruments high on a volcano in Hawaii, acting as a breathalyzer for our planet; by ships that probe the depths of the sea for clues to the weather of 18,000 years ago; and by satellites that look down from space to encompass the storms of half a world. In the Pacific and Atlantic oceans we see the beginnings of a concerted global assault on the problems of our ever-changing climate. Perhaps just in time, the nations are uniting in the war against bad weather.”

Climate change was on its way…in the form of an ice age. In the accompanying book to the documentary, Calder compared the possible ice age to Norse mythology.

“The end of the world is to be heralded by a summer that is no summer. The bitter cold persists and the Sun gives neither light nor warmth. so that the winter is three winters long. “The twilight of the gods’ is a realistic scenario for the onset of the next ice age, in snow-blitz fashion. But a creed from a warmer zone drove out such pagan thoughts; white was not the fashionable colour of doom. Only in the 1970s of the Christian calendar did wise men again become mindful of the ice.”

The Weather Machine, Nigel Calder, Penguin Books

As we’ve already discussed, the growing understanding of Earth’s climate genuinely did lead scientists to better understand that a relatively small drop in global temperatures could lead to a new ice age. However, that same science was increasingly pointing to a more immediate and insidious danger: anthropogenic global warming.

Calder had a long career in science journalism up until his death in 2014 but while he kept abreast of scientific developments his expectation of global cooling persisted. However, the arguments for a potential shift to global cooling had become rapidly untenable through the 1970s and only got worse after that. The world was getting warmer and the bulk of climate scientists, as well august international organisations, were pointing to greenhouse gases produced by human industry as the culprits.

Enter Henrik Svensmark, a Danish physicist. Svensmark developed a novel theory of climate change. Entitled “cosmoclimatology”, Svensmark attempted to re-establish solar variation as the underlying cause of climate change. Climate scientists had ruled out changes in solar activity as the driver of the observed global warming[1]. Svensmark suggested that what people had been missing is that cosmic rays also played a role, and that role was influenced by, among other things, solar winds.

“The title reflected a topical puzzle, that of how to reconcile abundant indications of the Sun’s influence on climate (e.g. Herschel 1801, Eddy 1976, Friis-Christensen and Lassen 1991), with the small 0.1% variations in the solar irradiance over a solar cycle measured by satellites. Clouds exert (on average) a strong cooling effect, and cosmic-ray counts vary with the strength of the solar magnetic field, which repels much of the influx of relativistic particles from the galaxy. The connection offers a mechanism for solar-driven climate change much more powerful than changes in solar irradiance.”

To popularise his idea, Svensmark collaborated with Nigel Calder to produce a book explaining this radical theory that exonerated CO2 on the one hand but also pointed towards potential near-future cooling on the other. The book entitled “The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate” was published in 2007 with much trumpeting in right-wing circles and much rolling of eyes and sighs of exasperation elsewhere.

A review of Svensmark’s theory at the denial-debunking site Skeptical Science concluded:

“Hypothetically, an increasing solar magnetic field could deflect galactic cosmic rays, which hypothetically seed low-level clouds, thus decreasing the Earth’s reflectivity and causing global warming. However, it turns out that none of these hypotheticals are occurring in reality, and if cosmic rays were able to influence global temperatures, they would be having a cooling effect.”

In the end, empirically, shifts in solar activity did not match observed shifts in temperature but also many aspects of Svensmark’s theory did not add up. Yet Svensmark had his champions on the right but also from Nigel Calder. In his Guardian obituary, this side of Calder is described as:

“Calder was one of a number of journalists who spoke up for environmental causes in the early 1970s, and he displayed from the very beginning an affection for scientific mavericks and nay-sayers, people prepared to swim against the current.”

Readers at this point may wonder what a British journalist and a Danish physicist have to do with John “oh John Ringo, no” Ringo. Don’t worry. Dubious military fiction and disturbing interest in underage sex is the next stop on our journey.

In the years after 2005, the already divisive issue of global warming became more intensely partisan. The Republican Party of the Bush Jr years paid lip service to the reality of climate change, but the US right more generally was adopting a more overt denialist stance. The civil discussion we saw in the last chapter between Jerry Pournelle and Gavin Schmidt would not typical of climate change discussion across the internet. By 2008, disbelief in climate change had become a badge of loyalty on the right. This was further intensified in the following years during the so-called Climategate scandal, in which leaked emails from notable climate scientists revealed that they said the same things in private as they did in public, just less politely. The scandal (or if you prefer pseudo scandal) though marked a final fracturing. For many on the right, it proved that the “scientists” were liars and frauds which rendered any appeal to the actual science of climate change moot.

2008 saw the publication of a stand-alone near-future military adventure novel by Baen author John Ringo. Entitled “The Last Centurion” it follows the adventures of a US soldier who must fight his way from Iran back to the US amid a global disaster.

The book is not very good even by the standards of this small sub-sub-genre of contrarian climate fiction but it did gain some extra notability in 2020. The book is set in 2019 and the hero is a soldier who has been deployed to a US occupation of Iran. Unfortunately for him, the world takes an unexpected turn for the worse:

“”We’ve got an important directive from the Chief of Staff,” he said. “The Med Branch chief of staff?” the CO asked. “No, sir,” the captain said. “It was sent through Med Branch from the Chief of Staff of the Army. The Chief of Staff’s portion is two lines. I’d like to read it and then expand.” “Go,” the colonel said pompously. ” ‘Indicators indicate significant outbreak of Human-to-Human transmission of H5N1 virus in China Operational Zone. Begin immediate Type Two immunization procedures for all DOD and affiliated personnel in your AOC upon receipt of vaccines. End.’ “

Ringo, John. The Last Centurion (p. 22). Baen Books. Kindle Edition.

One year early, Ringo writes about a major pandemic from a respiratory virus that starts out in China. So we’ll grant Ringo that bit of prescience.

From there though Ringo is off on his own plot about a Hillary Clinton-like President messing up the vaccination role out because she believes in “socialised medicine” and the pandemic leading to social chaos. However, the pandemic is just one of the disasters that the hero has to face. The second is the cold.

Early in the book, we get the first foreshadowing of the terrible weather to come:

“The article my dad sent me was from a British source. See, there was this solar physicist in Britain who had sort of gotten out of the solar physics field and entered the long-range forecasting field. Weather, that is. We all know, Lord God do we know, that all that baloney about “greenhouse gases” and “man-induced global warming” was so much horse shit. But back then it was all “global warming! CO2 will kill us all!” Man, we wished we’d had that sort of CO2, didn’t we? But the thing about this guy, don’t recall his name, was that he did long-range weather forecasts based on solar activity. He’d studied the sun until he should have been blind and had figured out that just about everything related to the sort of weather farmers cared about came down to solar output. Forget CO2, it was all the sun. We all know that now. Most of you probably know who I’m talking about. Damn, why can’t I remember his name?”

Ringo, John. The Last Centurion (p. 20). Baen Books. Kindle Edition.

Stuck in Iran with his squad, the book’s hero (known by his call-sign “Bandit Six”) discovers that amid the chaos of the pandemic he can’t be extracted back to the US. With refugees gathering outside, he decides the only way to protect the women (sorry “females”) is to bring them inside the camp and the only way to then protect them from his men is if they all get (temporarily) married off to the soldiers and hence act as domestic servants[2].

“And all they are asking, asking mind you, is if you’re willing to work at cooking and cleaning and, oh, yeah, spending some time on your back. Probably in a bed not the hard desert floor. You’re not being told, mind you. You may not quite realize that, you may be thinking that they’re being nice now but will change their mind soon. But you’re being asked. And asked if others would be willing.”

Ringo, John. The Last Centurion (p. 156). Baen Books. Kindle Edition.

The age of the “females”?

“Did I get my tubes cleaned? Dude, I was the base commander. Her name was Shadi. She was eighteen. The reason I know is that I had a conversation with Hollywood. “How old is this young lady, Hollywood? She’s eighteen, right?” “Uh, sir, she said she thinks she’s … “Eighteen, right?” “Yes, sir! She’s eighteen, sir!”

Ringo, John. The Last Centurion (p. 162). Baen Books. Kindle Edition.

This is not a good book in any sense.

Bandit Six might not know the actual age of his “wife” but he does know the world is cooling and he can see through the fake news spread by the likes of CNN.

“The funny thing was, I knew there was a “cooling trend” going on. The Army knew there was a cooling trend going on. Couldn’t tell it by the news. We were still getting CNN and between the reporting on the Plague they had occasional weather reports. I stopped counting the number of references to “global warming” I got after fifteen in two days. I just quit listening after the damned meteorologist said: “We’re having a cold and wet spring on top of everything else that’s going on due to global warming affecting world-wide ocean currents.” Ocean currents. Ocean currents have a lag that runs from five hundred to ten thousand years. Anything that ocean currents were doing, now, was because of something that happened a long time ago.”

Ringo, John. The Last Centurion (p. 123). Baen Books. Kindle Edition.

Yet despite the imminent cold, people were still thinking there was global warming:

“And there was no “global warming” anymore. Yeah, there had been a slow warming trend going back to a mini-ice age back in the Middle Ages. But we’d stopped warming. Given that it was Old Sol driving it, we might go back to warming soon. From the solar physicist’s predictions, though, it And there was no “global warming” anymore. Yeah, there had been a slow warming trend going back to a mini-ice age back in the Middle Ages. But we’d stopped warming. Given that it was Old Sol driving it, we might go back to warming soon. From the solar physicist’s predictions, though, it wasn’t going to be any time soon. Not the rest of 2019 for sure and probably not 2020. We were cooling off. Fast. And people were still beating the drum of “global warming.””

Ringo, John. The Last Centurion (p. 123). Baen Books. Kindle Edition.

Our multi-talented soldier can even explain the mechanism:

“Cosmic rays are produced from big stars exploding a long way away. They’re all over the place in any galaxy and Earth is constantly bombarded by them. Cosmic rays hitting water droplets in the upper atmosphere form clouds. Those clouds cool the Earth. Cosmic ray impact is controlled by solar winds. What are solar winds? The sun is a big ball of fusing hydrogen that pumps out an enormous amount of power every second. It not only emits heat and light but particles that fly out headed for deep space. Solar wind. When there’s a lot of solar wind, it “blows back” the cosmic rays so less get to Earth. Less cosmic rays, less clouds. Things warm up. More cosmic rays, more clouds, things cool down. Decreased solar activity equals decreased solar wind. Decreased solar wind equals more cosmic rays impacting the Earth. More cosmic rays impacting the Earth equals more clouds. More clouds equal cooler temperatures. QE fucking D. That can be reduced to: Less solar output equals cooler temperatures. But not by direct effect.

“But CO2 tracks with temperature!” Sort of. CO2 increases lag behind temperature increases. CO2 increases in the atmosphere are a result of temperature increases not the cause of temperature increases. They track eight hundred years later. Something that changes eight hundred years later cannot be a cause. It’s an effect. Why? Boyle’s Law. Go see “oceans as CO2 repositories.” It’s okay. I’ll wait. Back? Okay.”

Ringo, John. The Last Centurion (p. 124). Baen Books. Kindle Edition.

Ringo is simply parroting a version of Svensmark’s cosmoclimatology. I don’t know if Ringo had directly read “The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate” or had picked up on earlier accounts of Svensmarks theories but the timing makes sense and it is unlikely that The Last Centurion took a long time to write.

There is a substantial shift here compared to the previous books we looked at. In The Sixth Winter the lead character is also the character who explains climate science and is also an actual climate scientist. In Fallen Angels we have astronauts and science fiction fans, the explanations of the science come from a proxy of popular science writer. In State of Fear the main character is a lawyer and the explainer of the science is some kind of cross between James Bond and a guy with a science blog. With The Last Centurion the science is just stuff that a smart guy in the army knows. It’s not hard, it is just common sense! It’s the sun, affecting cosmic rays!

In 2009 Svensmark went further than predicting a future cooling:

“In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable”

However, Earth’s atmosphere failed to get the memo and global cooling did not emerge.

Next Time: Bits and Pieces

  • [1] It needs to be pointed out that yes, obviously, the sun plays a substantial role in Earth’s climate as the ultimate source of the energy involved. However, the current warming we are experiencing is not due to changes in solar activity.
  • [2] I feel like I should make a comment but maybe any is superfluous

32 responses to “Contrarian Cli-Fi 0.08: The Last Centurion”

  1. “is to bring them inside the camp and the only way to then protect them from his men is if they all get (temporarily) married off to the soldiers and hence act as domestic servants”
    Well we couldn’t expect the army to protect people if there’s nothing in it for them, could we?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Meanwhile the emergence of CoVid as well as possible future diseases and it’s links to climate change are an active area of research and it ain’t pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “ and it is unlikely that The Last Centurion took a long time to write.“
    Oh, some nice placed (deserved) shade, probably the reason for the cooling….

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I remember seeing Ringo discussing climate change in Baen’s Bar (long time ago) – he seemed to think that issues in science were determined by how far you could shot-put your authorities, and by God, he could out-shot-put any of those climate change weenies, any day.
    Also his authorities were better. Contrarians. Galileo!
    Being real shouty about your science was another sign that you were on the side of the angels.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tangentially, I think the “pandemic from a respiratory virus that starts out in China” will have been inspired by the SARS scare of the mid-2000s. There’s probably a history to be traced of “plague from China” as a racist trope, actually.

    Even more tangentially, the American obsession with centurions mildly puzzles and amuses me. I guess it’s because of the “citizen-soldiers of the Roman Republic” thing? Feels weird to a Brit raised on entirely different nationalistic myths about the Romans, anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I’ve seen quite a few similar remarks in the last couple years about how such-and-such book or movie 10-15 years ago predicted a respiratory disease with an animal vector coming from China, etc., and calling that “prescient”— but that’s one of the least prescient things you could possibly say at that time! SARS-CoV-1 was all over the news from 2002 to 2004, and fortunately it did not turn into a global pandemic, but people were well aware of the danger that it might.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I mean if I write a book right now where California wildfires get even worse and cause the destruction of Santa Rosa, and then that really does happen 15 years from now… I guess you might hear some “wow, who could have imagined that back then, what are the odds” type of comments, but you wouldn’t hear them from anyone who had been anywhere near Sonoma County in 2017.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’d be more impressed if they’d predicted the social and economic disruption of quarantining rather than just “lots of people die.” Or that millions of people would decide getting vaccinated against a plague was a bad thing.

        Liked by 1 person

    • The founding fathers were big on Rome, which is why the government buildings look that way and only well to do property owning men could vote, and mass slavery was a keen idea.


      • But it’s a different Rome from here in the U.K., where public buildings also used Classical styles and teaching Latin in schools was part of the Imperial project. . Centurions and “citizen-soldiers” and – at least in the case of Poul Anderson – “decline” that sets in surprisingly early in the timeline. That’s interesting to me

        (Which is not the same thing as surprising, before anyone pops up to explain that it’s not surprising)


  6. I’m not quite sure what is responsible for the arrogant trait that pops up more than occasionally among physicists, the belief that they are uniquely positioned to re-write entire fields of science of which they are professionally completely ignorant. Perhaps it’s the conviction that what they do is more fundamental than anything else, and that all other branches of science, practiced by lesser beings, are merely applied physics.

    A slightly more recent example than Svenmark is the American physicist Richard Muller from Berkeley, who announced that climatologists had done their analysis all wrong and that he was going to show there was no recent, unprecedented increase in global mean temperature (the famous ‘hockey-stick’ diagram). At least Muller was honest enough to admit that his analysis resulted in the same conclusion as the climatologists he’d previously disparaged, although he would quickly pivot to making other erroneous claims about climate.


    • I think Muller was an excellent example of science working the way it’s supposed to. He was openly skeptical of the data analysis. He redid it, using his own methods, with the goal of showing that warming wasn’t really happening. When he found otherwise, he reported his result honestly and openly–even writing an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal. If I remember correctly, the Koch Brothers actually paid for this research.

      This should have been a gold-standard confirmation. Anyone continuing to pretend to be a skeptic after that was arguing in bad faith.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Greg, I’m going to disagree with you, a bit. While I certainly give Muller credit for being honest enough to publicly admit he was wrong, the validity of other branches of science doesn’t depend on arrogant physicists giving their stamp of approval. Muller’s earlier skepticism was entirely based on claims about supposed errors in the Mann et al paper that had already been debunked, repeatedly, in refereed papers. He had no factual basis for his skepticism, he simply didn’t want to believe climate change was real. In this respect he was no different from Fred Hoyle claiming that the type specimen of Archaeopteryx was fake, or Thomas Gold asserting there were vast reservoirs of methane in the Earth’s crust and mantle.

        Muller didn’t prove that climatologists were correct: he proved that he had been completely wrong in doubting their conclusions.

        And I think Muller’s conclusion had pretty much zero impact on the debate: the overwhelming majority of climate “skeptics” were already arguing in bad faith; in the wake of Muller’s public affirmation of the reality of climate change, they simply wrote him off as another tool of Big Climate.

        Liked by 1 person

        • As I remember it, Muller’s argument was that this is a problem that requires sifting through very noisy data for a weak signal and that his work in astrophysics requires that as well. Further, based on his experience, he thought they were doing it wrong. He claimed that if he had the funding to do it correctly, he’d either show that it wasn’t real or else conclusively show that it really was real. This was not the same as, say, a dentist claiming to have a professional opinion on the topic. The man really did have the qualifications to entitle him to an opinion on it.

          As a result, he got funding from the Koch brothers to analyze the data his way. If I remember correctly, he did significantly increase the accuracy of the estimated warming; his work wasn’t of zero value in and of itself. Also, his follow-up work showed that not only was the warming real, nearly all of it was caused by people. And he publicized his results widely. I’m not sure how much more you could ask. It is definitely not reasonable to say that a scientist shouldn’t contest a finding just because it might hurt some people’s feelings!

          That really should have been the end of the debate. From that point forward, the discussion should have been about what measures would be cost-effective. The tragedy is that this didn’t happen and still hasn’t happened.


          • It wasn’t based on his experience that Muller thought they were doing it incorrectly; he simply accepted spurious claims about the Mann et al paper at face value and gave those claims publicity in the MIT Technology Review, of which he was then the editor.

            This has nothing to do with hurting some people’s feelings (a statement I did not make). This is about an arrogant physicist setting himself up as the arbiter of the validity of results in another field of science.

            I will give Muller credit for (a) being honest enough to admit he was wrong, and (b) publicizing his results. However, his ‘apology’ in the New York Times contains the following statement:

            I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong. I’ve analyzed some of the most alarmist claims, and my skepticism about them hasn’t changed.

            followed directly by these factual claims:

            Hurricane Katrina cannot be attributed to global warming. The number of hurricanes hitting the United States has been going down, not up; likewise for intense tornadoes. Polar bears aren’t dying from receding ice, and the Himalayan glaciers aren’t going to melt by 2035.

            It’s certainly true that climatologists have in general erred in their predictions about the effects of climate change: they have been far too cautious. But what’s of note here is that Muller is completely unchastened by experience, and is still making pronouncements about the validity of work that he doesn’t understand.

            It is undeniable that Hurricane Katrina cannot be directly attributed to global warming. Everything else in that paragraph is wrong. (The Himalayan glaciers are already melting, the only question is how long until they are completely gone.)

            As to your last point, again, that could have been true only if the overwhelming majority of climate-change skeptics were arguing in good faith. They were not, and so Muller’s corroboration of Mann et al’s results (and of course there have been many other papers that have shown they were correct in the years since then) made no difference.

            Liked by 1 person

            • My understanding is that the impact on hurricanes is to produce fewer (disruption by wind shear) but bigger, and to a lesser degree more violent, (hotter ocean surfaces feeding more energy into systems) hurricanes. Attributing individual hurricanes to global warming is problematic, but saying that it has nothing to do with them is also so.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. 1) Again, the romance of the idea of a cyclical ice age with the newest Ice Age hitting humans suddenly and returning us to a society of survival with more brutish, manly men (who could rape teenage girls) was something that many white guys got a lot of in fiction and even from the occasional museum exhibit and then would look to science evidence that it could possibly happen. (The idea of such a cycle also played into white Christian rapture beliefs.) “Cosmic rays” had been used in SF since the 1950’s or earlier to explain all sorts of things, like superhero powers, and using the actual cosmic rays to imagine wreaked havoc on the Earth — since it could under some circumstances happen — was a go-to for theoretical conjecture.

    2) The fossil fuel industries hired and otherwise persuaded right wing politicians and media (in full swing in the early 2000’s) to declare almost all environmentalism liberal hysteria, to declare renewable energy efforts as unworkable, to declare a lack of consensus among scientists over anything related to climate and natural disasters and to state that any claim that climate change might be man-made (by the fossil fuel industry) was a false conspiracy. Saying we were heating up the Earth was saying humans were bad and irresponsible rather than gods of science and civilization (the reason for the fascination with myths of the Roman Empire,) and so must be wrong.

    Contrarianism isn’t contrary. It’s a clinging to old, affirming and usually bigoted status quo beliefs that create the image of the superior man astride the colossus of the Earth as others fall away from those beliefs due to advanced discoveries in science and civil rights efforts of their fellow humans. The cyclical ice age was an old western belief, one not fully divorced from science but for theory purposes, steeped in the bigoted idea of the white, European cavemen surviving the mini-ice age as manly tough guys and going on to take over and make the important civilizations instead of all the black people in Africa, the indigenous in the Americas or those people out in Asia.

    So as the science gets clearer — and from the global community of climate scientists — fewer and fewer actually acting in science support the “ice age” theories. You get down to those who are simply willing to declare any new evidence scientists find, test and use to adjust models thereby as suspect or wrong because it means giving up cherished beliefs about themselves and human history, rather than a real commitment to “proving” cooling is coming. The goal is to try to cast enough doubt to slow things down, to hold on to old beliefs and statuses as long as possible. That’s why you have someone like Muller, who would prove his theories wrong, but as you mention, kept making erroneous claims about climate change even so. Scratch a contrarian and it’s not real skepticism, but always to not give up an old way of thinking — and thus of thinking of themselves in the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Climate contrarians are devout credulists when it comes to evaluating any data that might support their viewpoint. No vestige of any effort at true hypothesis testing, in most cases.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was confused for a moment at the title of this post – I was thinking of Sean McMullen’s “Centurion’s Empire” which I liked (and which deals with personal (not global) cooling).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In my part of the world, it’s the night of the Solstice. And the Contrarian Cli-Fi series just keeps getting darker. ‘Symbolic,’ no?

    Cam, I get the linkage and all, but this is getting difficult to read without excessive fuming. I wonder what Susan T. would make of these assorted Contrarian goofballs.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Weird. I was certain I’d read at least one Calder but none of his books looks familiar.


  11. I used to call this kind of thing a “message dump”–like an infodump, but more annoying and (usually) stupider. Of course, this applies even when I agree with the message, but it’s differently annoying when I don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. “No Nigel Calder no!”

    I’m not granting Ringo any prescience — this was after SARS! So, nope. He just heard about a virus out of China in 2002-4. Hindsight is more like it.

    But at least ol’ Nige didn’t think it’d become necessary to rape teenage sex slaves/maids. Sounds like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. Went native, did he?

    Cosmic rays did all sorts of things in 50s-60s SF; see the Fantastic Four. But by the 2000s, nobody serious believed they’d do anything but give you cancer, maybe.

    Also the Little Ice Age (in the northern hemisphere, particularly adjacent to the Northern Atlantic) lasted till probably 1850, which is hardly medieval. In fact, in medieval times, they literally had the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings could get to Greenland and Canada. And the LIA was a cool damp time in Australia; it only started drying out after the British began cutting down all the trees and generally being imperialist everywhere.

    ISTG, someone needs to get Ringo’s DNA and test all the old rape kits from wherever’s he’s lived.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as superheroes and kaiju go, cosmic rays were way less important in creating them back in the day than nuclear radiation. Cosmic rays were, however, seen as a vast source of power if the right (or wrong) person tapped into them.


    • Yes, it has proved remarkably difficult to explain to climate-deniers that although episodes like the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period have been common, they have also been local. The problem with Global Warming is that it’s happening everywhere. That’s what makes it fundamentally different from those other episodes. That and the facts that a) people are causing it b) people can do something about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. “plot about a Hillary Clinton-like President messing up the vaccination role out because she believes in “socialised medicine””

    That’s wonderfully ironic, considering what eventually happened in the real world with vaccination rollout in USA.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Free shots from the gov’ment is soshulized medicine! I’m gonna run up a million bucks of medical bills I can’t pay and maybe die for mah free-dumb! MAGA! *cough cough* *sound of ventilator*


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