The Foreseeable Future, the second book in the SEEDER series from Eugene-based sci-fi author Howard Libes, is a gripping and well-paced expansion of the universe and characters created in When All Else Fails, the first book in his intergenerational saga.
With highly relevant themes of government corruption and environmental collapse, the story picks up where the first book leaves off: The planet Koda has been decimated by an environmental catastrophe, and the majority of the population lives in dome cities.
There was another option for the people of Koda to escape their dying planet besides the faulty dome project, but it was all covered up by an autocratic global regime.
As the story begins, Yorlik “Yor” Vanderlord, the heir apparent of the world famous Vanderlord family, has escaped Koda alongside the mysterious tech entrepreneur Mado Prevor in a newly restored spaceship called When All Else Fails. It’s all part of an elaborate plan to save the planet, and the bold move sends Koda into chaos, inciting a populist uprising.
Nevertheless, the media spins fake news, reporting Yor has died as riots break out in the streets. Meanwhile, Yor’s mother, Mar, is pushed into a position of power she never could have anticipated.
Libes sat down with Eugene Weekly to talk about his decision to center Mar in the storyline, current events, and what it might take to solve our environmental crisis before it’s too late.
EW: I read the book in the midst of social unrest in American streets, wildfires worsened by human-caused global warming, a pandemic and an American autocratic government. Were current events on your mind while writing The Foreseeable Future?
Howard Libes: Not really. I definitely have a clear idea where the story is headed, but I’m never sure exactly what’ll happen until I sit down and write.
I started writing this series in 2015, so back then there weren’t headlines even close to today. Obviously, I had no idea how things would pan out, but since then climate change has accelerated, and this country has devolved into crisis.
In Foreseeable Future there are moments that clearly reflect the events of 2020, but the book was fully formed last year. Maybe I’m projecting how I see things going in a worst-case scenario, and here we are.
Can you talk a bit about the decision to center Yor’s mother, Mar, in the story?
The story in Foreseeable Future tells Mar’s journey as a reluctant hero. Foreseeable Future shows the transformation of an individual who is resistant to involve herself in tackling societal issues into a person who is energized to make a difference. That story intrigued me.
With tech billionaires like Elon Musk building rocket ships to escape the planet while Earth’s governments bicker and flounder, there are additional parallels in the book to Mado Prevor and the spacecraft, When All Else Fails. Do our hopes lie with private billionaires, or will the people of Earth be able to solve our climate emergency through representative government?
Foreseeable Future spotlights the darker side of Kodan society and what motivates the people who are working to suppress the population, whether it’s greed, power, loyalty to an idea or all of the above. I think it’s important to understand these people in the saga — and in real life.
I’m cautiously optimistic that nations around the world and our country will pull ourselves together and deal with the climate change reality that we face.
Unfortunately, I think in many parts of the environment the damage is done and there is no turning back. Long story short, I think we need to fight for our planet.
The Foreseeable Future and When All Else Fails are available in paperback and eBook through Amazon.com. Read the first chapter and buy the new book in paperback at HowardLibes.com.