June 19, 2008


A reader named Stuart Bales writes:I am writing and pencilling my own comic book alongside Visionary Comics Studios, 'A Gathering of Nations.' This is my first venture into writing, and although I am not a Native American (from the UK) my aim is to hopefully educate the readers to some of the atrocities of the Europeans and also show what a wonderful, balanced life the tribes of the Americas had.

I would be honored if you could take a look at the visionary forum, and read the brief introduction of what the comic is about?


Mankind continued burning fossil fuels, using up the planets resources, and polluting the planet as the human population reached 90 billion by the 24th century. World Wars were fought over living space, and later for the most valuable commodity--water.

Those that survived fled to the north and south poles as the great deserts expanded. Just before the last body of what once was the Pacific Ocean evaporated under an unrestrained sun, the human race almost died as a species.

Living deep within a mountain range, 7 Native Americans are the last surviving humans. They’ve spent their lives training for a mission to travel back through time, to change history.

Their mission objective: to stop the Europeans colonizing North America, and instead show the rest of the world that living with Mother Nature is the only way the human race can continue.

In order to achieve this, they must unite the Native tribes of North America; they must have a gathering of Nations…
Comment:  This premise is similar to Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch. And to a couple of stories I've thought about doing. But at the rate I'm going, Stuart probably will finish his stories before I do.

The art looks pretty good, but I'd think about adding more depth and diversity to the characters. The three long-haired men look similar, as do the three women. They all look like generic Stone-Age warriors. They're all unnaturally sexy or studly. I don't get a sense that they come from seven different Indian cultures, or from any real Indian cultures.

For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
As with any such presumptive premises (WATERWORLD included), the Earth's water volumes cannot increase nor decrease without catastrophic changes in the solar environment of the planet itself. Thus, the Pacific Ocean (and likely all the other oceans and seas) simply cannot become "evaporated" because of the conservation of matter. Else, any and all humans also would have become "evaporated" since they are over 75 per cent water. That water MUST exist in at least two of three energy states, gaseous vapor, liquid water, or water ice (water is a compound and thus cannot exist as an energetic plasma). Even Mars, until this week thought primarily to be waterless, now is known to possess immense amounts of water under its soil as ice and perhaps even as liquid. In Earth's case, disappearance of its water would be in direct proportion to its loss of atmosphere due to increases in solar winds. Mars lost most of its original atmosphere to solar wind but still retains perhaps 30 or 40 per cent of the original volume; thus, Mars still possesses as much or more of its original water. The solar wind component likely is being ignored in A GATHERING OF NATIONS because it would not be an effect humans precipitated on the Earth. In like manner, using the WATERWORLD premise, almost all land could become drowned ONLY if new waves of water comets bombarded Earth and thus added their contents to the volume of the oceans, again an effect that has little to do with human causation. Science fiction ignoring the underlying science becomes a contradiction in terms and thus only can be considered as science fantasy...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

Perhaps Bales is thinking of a runaway greenhouse effect. You know, the kind that supposedly transformed Venus from an Earth-like planet into a deadly inferno. Here's how many scientists think it happened:


The Greenhouse Effect Out of Control

The greenhouse effect occurs for all planetary atmospheres containing greenhouse gases, and is responsible for their being warmer than would be the case otherwise. The greenhouse effect by itself could not account for the conditions that we find on Venus. However, under certain conditions we believe the greenhouse effect can "run away." For example, consider the case of a planet like the Earth. The Earth has enormous amounts of two greenhouse gases: water vapor and carbon dioxide. However, for the Earth most of the water and carbon dioxide are not in the atmosphere. The water is mostly in the oceans, and the carbon dioxide is mostly bound chemically in rocks made from compounds that chemists call carbonates (for example, limestone).

Now suppose we increased the effectiveness of greenhouse heating of the Earth's atmosphere, for example by increasing the amount of solar radiation falling on it, or by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (for example, by burning fossil fuels, which produce water vapor and carbon dioxide as byproducts of burning). We would then expect the temperature to rise in the atmosphere (assuming no other effects intervened--a big "if" in the realistic case since the atmosphere is complicated). This would be a greenhouse effect.

. . . and the Oceans Would Boil

It would become a runaway greenhouse effect if the rising temperature approached the boiling point of water, because then the oceans would begin to convert to water vapor, the water vapor would increase the effectiveness of heat trapping and accelerate the greenhouse effect, this would cause the temperature to rise further, thus causing the oceans to evaporate faster, etc., etc. (This type of runaway is also called a "positive feedback loop".) When the oceans were gone the atmosphere would finally stabilize at a much higher temperature and at much higher density, because all the water would now be in the atmosphere.

Rob said...

Perhaps a storm of icy comets did strike the Earth in Waterworld. I don't think the movie explained the cause of the situation.

Kevin Costner et al. probably thought global warming would be enough to melt the ice caps and cover the land with water. But as the following website explains, melting the ice would have only a marginal effect:


"What If All the Ice Melts?"

The new ocean area would be slightly larger, of course, since some areas now land would be covered with water. The final result would be around 66 meters (current estimates range between 63 and 75 meters).

Obviously some areas are affected more than others. Some larger areas now underwater are the southeastern United States, part of the Amazon River basin, northern Europe, Bangladesh, parts of Siberia along the Arctic Ocean, and portions of mainland China.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Runaway greenhouse effect? The assumption that Venus had any volume of water approaching that of Earth or early Mars neither is known nor can be detected and thus proven at this stage of observational art. And Earth's atmosphere cannot contain the current volume both of oceans and seas as vapor because there is a saturation point at current temperatures and pressures beyond which no more water can be supported in gaseous state. Temperature extremes that would increase evaporative capacities for the atmosphere long since would have wiped out all lifeforms and there would be nothing left alive to hear the kettle sing...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

Yeah, yeah. I didn't say a runaway greenhouse effect would produce the results Bales envisions. I said it's probably what he's thinking of.

Since we don't know what happened to Venus or what would happen to Earth, the effect is worth exploring. Humans wouldn't see the oceans boil, but they might see large areas of land become desert as fresh-water supplies dwindle. Despite his over-the-top description, maybe that's all that occurs in A GATHERING OF NATIONS.

P.S. If you want to call Waterworld science fantasy rather than science fiction, okay. Despite its scientific implausibilities, I liked it. I recommend it if you haven't seen it.