While this story is a work of fiction, I have researched all of the facts presented here. Peer-reviewed articles, newspapers, government publications, and other resources were used to construct the fictional events depicted and are cited as unobtrusively as possible. In some cases, I contacted authorities to ask how their industry would respond to the scenario laid out in this book. For example, I spoke with the media relations spokesperson of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission about how this country’s nuclear plants would fare without electricity—the answer was not reassuring.
Even if the facts presented here are real, it is still a work of fiction and I do not advocate any course of action that would directly endanger lives or ecosystems. I am not suggesting that this is a viable way to bring about the needed transition to survive in the future. It is simply a thought experiment to answer the following question: “How could a small group most quickly bring about the changes needed to create a long-term, sustainable future for humans as a species on this planet?” This story is the catastrophic way to bring about that change, but it would be possible for the global community to commit to these changes voluntarily—but I find this to be less likely than what you’re about to read. If history is any guide, we’ll use fossil fuels for industrial production until we have catastrophic failure of the environment, society, or both.
This book grew out of the difficulty I had analyzing our own society in a previous book, Why Did Ancient Civilizations Fail?, which covers the collapse of complex societies through time. With a (pre)historic perspective, it is easy to see that our society isn’t as invincible as it believes itself to be and that structural change is unlikely to be undertaken voluntarily by a dominant society. This realization helped me to think more broadly about what a new future could be.

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