Novelist, essayist and Broken Pencil publisher Hal Niedzviecki in conversation with journalist, essayist and author Roy Scranton as each launches a new book on our future: Trees on Mars (Niedzviecki) and Learning to Die in the Anthropocene (Scranton).
Trees on Mars: The future is big right now—for perhaps the first time, our society is more focused on what is going to happen in the future than what is happening right now. Through visits to colleges, corporations, tech conferences, factories and more, author Hal Niedzviecki traces the story of how owning the future has become irresistible to us. In deep conversation with both the beneficiaries and victims of our relentless obsession with the future, Niedzviecki asks crucial questions: Where are we actually heading? How will we get there? And whom may we be leaving behind?
Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: In this bracing response to climate change, Roy Scranton combines memoir, reportage, philosophy and Zen wisdom to explore what it means to be human in a rapidly evolving world, taking readers on a journey through street protests, the latest findings of earth scientists, a historic UN summit, millennia of geological history and the persistent vitality of ancient literature. Expanding on his influential New York Times essay (the #1 most-emailed article the day it appeared, and selected for Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014), Scranton responds to the existential problem of global warming by arguing that in order to survive, we must come to terms with our mortality. Plato argued that to philosophize is to learn to die. If that’s true, says Scranton, then we have entered humanity’s most philosophical age—for this is precisely the problem of the Anthropocene. The trouble now is that we must learn to die not as individuals, but as a civilization.
Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, speaker and teacher. His work is known for challenging preconceptions and confronting readers with the offenses of everyday life. He writes and thinks about the effects of mass media, pop culture and consumer technology on individual life and society.
Author, journalist, Iraq war veteran and Princeton Ph.D candidate, Roy Scranton's journalism, essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Boston Review, Contemporary Literature, and elsewhere.