Earth is dead, or very nearly so. Two people remain on the windless, barren planet, a father and his child, eking out a meager existence with what little they can find to eat, haunted by memories of what they and the world once were.
Then comes the ghostly call of a sea creature presumed extinct for decades. Could it be a sign of hope for a dying planet, or is it one last lament? "Leviathan" is a dark and haunting story about the the end of all life as we know it. If you are a fan of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, you'll find this story as equally compelling. Appropriate for readers of all ages. A Word About "Leviathan" In 2014, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported that the levels of over 10,000 representative animal species — indicators of environmental health — had declined by more than 50 percent since 1970. In just that forty year span, we lost half of the world's animal biomass. Based on these trends, we can expect to see a further halving by the middle of the current century. And it's not just overall numbers of individuals that are dropping, but species diversity as well. This is beyond alarming. It is, in fact, a doomsday scenario. While the debate about the human impact on climate change wages on, scientists are nearly unanimous in their agreement that human activity is directly responsible for the extinction of hundreds of animal and plant species and have indirectly caused the disappearance of possibly thousands more in what is now being described as a Sixth Global Extinction. The event is so significant in the natural history of our planet that a new geologic age has been proposed to acknowledge humanity's impact on the globe— the Anthropocene. We stand at the beginning of that era looking into an uncertain future. What will it look like? Will it be a world entirely devoid of all animal life? "Leviathan" is a work of speculative fiction; it takes the current trajectory of our planet to its absurd extreme. While I personally believe that total global extinction is an exceedingly unlikely scenario, at least as the direct consequence of our recklessness, the threat to our own species is far more real. Why? Because many of the plant and animals species we depend upon for food, medicine, and other uses are at terrible risk. The earth will adapt to the changes we are causing it, of that I have no doubt. Given enough time, physical and biological systems will find a new equilibrium. As a biological scientist, I have faith that life, in some form, will find ways to occupy it. But will humanity? Reflecting the uncertain nature of our own future, the ending to Leviathan was intentionally left open to multiple interpretations, ranging from the horrific to the hopeful. I leave it to you, Dear Reader, to decide which one you prefer to imagine. To find out more about Saul's writings, and for a free four-book starter library, visit him at tanpepperwrites.com.