The Collapse of Western Civilization offered an interesting perspective as far as Cli-fi is concerned. The most alarming part of this book for me was that it is not in any way very far off from a future that is quickly approaching. The overall tone of the book is a scientific retelling of events that led to a major change in the way people live, which is very well done; but it also has some elements missing that would necessarily earn it the title of “gripping”. The first major issue I had with this short book is the lack of plot. It certainly reads like a textbook, but the most interesting textbook you could ever read because all the information contained within is new and unheard of in our times. I think the authors did a really good job of looking at the past in a purely scientific way, but they certainly let us know that they thought it was foolish that we, as a species, were not better prepared for what happened. There is clear evidence as far as the science of the time is concerned pointing out that not only is climate change a problem, but it is in fact anthropogenic. I think it is interesting to get the impression of their minds boggling at our inaction, because that is how I feel when I think about our modern day responses to climate change.
One of the most interesting elements of the book for me was the way in which the authors decided to group the nations that banded together as the “Penumbral Age” descended upon us. These are not necessarily the groupings I would have pictured for alliance and it made the book all the more interesting for me. It was not necessarily an important facet of the book, but it provided me with something to really fascinate me and think about, so I did enjoy that.
I found the whole section about market failure to be quite confusing. I personally have a very poor grasp on economics and how they work, so I had a hard time understanding, but I think that it was certainly well explained as I was able to gleam some useful information from it.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the narrative bit about the professor in Japan creating the solution and then releasing it illegally, it sounded quite like the plot to another great Cli-fi book that is yet to be written.
I think that overall it is a well written book, and the interviews with the authors certainly help to shed some light on where the ideas for the book come from, and definitely gave the book a more personal look.