Sunday, August 19, 2007

An Interview with Alan Weisman

I stumbled across something pretty cool a few weeks ago—an interview with author Alan Weisman about his new book The World Without Us. The interview was in the July 2007 issue of Scientific American, and Weisman pontificates about what would happen tomorrow if humanity disappeared today.

The idea is fascinating to me, and while I haven’t read the book I plan to—I have a hold on it at my local library. The interview begins with Weisman explaining what would happen to Manhattan’s skyline:

I discovered that our huge, imposing, overwhelming infrastructures that seem so monumental and indestructible are actually these fairly fragile concepts that continue to function and exist thanks to a few human beings on whom all of us really depend.

Mr. Weisman goes on to explain how the natural waterways—there are something like 40 streams and numerous springs on Manhattan—would reclaim their former routes and slowly undermine Manhattan’s infrastructure. The tunnels would be the first to collapse, and then slowly the buildings would begin to topple from corrosion caused by the unchecked flow of water.

The interview also discusses how the eco-system would change with humanity gone, and it also briefly touches on why Alan Weisman wrote it. It is an environmental book about how we can become part of the environment rather than attempt to control it. The interview is fascinating. It reminded me a little of George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides, and damn if it didn’t make me want to find another last man story to read; and soon.

To read the interview in click Here.

There are also numerous interviews, articles, and reviews online. If you Google “Alan Weisman” you will get more hits than you can possibly deal with, but many of them are great fun.

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