My all time favorite trope of fiction is the Grand Quest. Always has been, always will be. Oddly enough, it’s a hard to find the Grand Quest in its true form when it comes to science fiction. Part of the reason for that is, usually, authors come at disasters in science fiction as either a race against time to fix what’s happening, or attempting to find a solution to the new reality in a way that makes life closer to the old reality. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great reading and I have a great time doing so.
But there are scenarios which science has found for which there is nothing to fix, but humanity has the innate drive to survive regardless. One such scenario is what happens when the Earth stops spinning. A pretty nifty documentary was made about this very thing, in fact.
Now, granted, the Earth is slowing so infinitesimally that the Sun is supposed to die before the Earth stops, but it’s a fact that we are slowing down, microsecond by microsecond. And if it stops before the Sun dies, it’ll basically tidal lock with the Sun, a cool idea called Sun Synchronous.
With this idea, there’s nothing to fix. Humanity has no technological solution for this.
All humanity can do is adapt, and that first means finding a place to rebuild. More than that, it could take years wandering a ravaged world to find safe refuge, near starvation the entire time. Other refugees kind or cruel in turns, morale abysmal in the face of Mother Nature’s spitefulness, doing whatever it took to keep going through to the next walk cycle.
And maybe there were other ways to make it on such a dramatically changed Earth. Humans decide to build under the surface of the oceans for protection, or braved the weather’s wrath to find islands that were once the Andes mountains, or buried themselves under the world like Morlocks. Hopefully without the cannibalism.
Even better than that is the world building even this desolate wasteland of Earth would need.
I can’t wait to see an author pick this idea up and run with it. The finally product would be truly epic.
Author of LGBT romance and speculative fiction.