"Global Warming"  
Analog JulyAug2009.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Analog
Reprinted No
Collected No
Genre(s) Science Fiction
Publication date Jul-Aug, 2009

"Global Warming" is a short story by Harry Turtledove, first published as the "Probability Zero" feature in Analog, July-August, 2009.

The story takes place at the end of the last Ice Age and is in the form of a speech or proclamation by a tribal leader decrying the current global warming and the environmental catastrophe of the retreating glaciers. He expresses concern that the traditional game of woolly mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses are following the glaciers north and the tribe will be reduced to hunting caribou and horses. In fact, there had been reports from further south that people had been reduced to eating beavers and marmots.

In addition, the tundra is slowly being replaced by new, invasive foliage called "trees". These cannot support the same biodiversity that the tribe currently depends on. In addition, trees reduce visibility and so make tracking and hunting more difficult.

Also, predators peculiar to these "forests" present new threats. "Bears" are large, wily and dangerous to both hunters and gatherers. In addition, "boars" may be either predators or prey. While tasty they are also swift and savage. More research is required for a final determination.

Some advocate a more proactive approach and attempt to reverse the effects of global warming. A number of forward-thinking shamans had launched a large scale counter-sorcerous research program to no avail. However, they have determined that fire releases invisible spirits which trap heat from the sun. The more fires the clans burn, the more spirits are released and the more solar heat is retained. Therefore, the use of fire must be restricted to limit global warming, by force if necessary.

Literary Comment[]

While this story doesn't deny global warming, it does view some of the concerns extreme and suggests that technical development will allow society to adapt. In some ways it is reminiscent of "Report of the Special Committee on the Quality of Life" and "Notes from the General Secretariat" but as a presidential address rather than a bureaucratic report or a series of redresses of grievances.