Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Abandoned Earths

At tor.com, James Davis Nicholl has this post: SF stories featuring abandoned Earths.

This is not a plot device I especially enjoy, but I do really like this sentence from the post:

A few authors go that extra 1.6 kilometers and obliterate the Earth entirely. Wil McCarthy’s Queendom of Sol setting imagines a communications system with a failure mode that can and does turn the Earth into a small black hole. Nothing encourages the settlement of other worlds quite like having your old one reduced to the size of a marble.

Yep, that’s what I always say.

I have read exactly one of the books mentioned in this post: John Varley’s Ophiuchi Hotline, where aliens destroyed human technology in order to make the planet safe for whales and dolphins, thus forcing the few remaining human survivors to live on other planets.

Another book I can think of where Earth was abandoned or destroyed was Seveneves, though in that one, of course, humans did not abandon the planet so much as die out (nearly). Plus they did return to Earth in due course.

One more: Octavia E Butler’s Oankali series. Kind of like combining the two above: Earth is rendered uninhabitable first, then aliens … do stuff.

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3 Comments Abandoned Earths

  1. Maureen E

    Well, there’s CJ Cherryh as well, specifically the Foreigner series–although there Earth isn’t so much abandoned or destroyed as literally lost. I’ve always wondered if she’ll eventually write a book where it’s rediscovered!

  2. Pete Mack

    He misses the biggest of all: Asimov Foundation. Earth’s continents were made too radioactive to live on, leading to mass migration. A small population of wild type Homo Sapiens was left fallow.

  3. Mary Catelli

    After Doomsday by Poul Anderson

    Earth is still there but a smoldering ember, not habitable.

    It’s immediately in the wake of that.

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