Well, I didn’t sell it – my awesome agent Laurie Fox did. But now all the contracts are signed, and I can announce only somewhat belatedly that I’m writing a popular science book for Doubleday about how humans will survive the next mass extinction. It’s tentatively titled Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive Mass Extinction, and my manuscript deadline is May 2012 (so yeah, I’m working my ass off on it right now). My editor Gerald Howard snapped the book up in a pre-empt, which is publishing industry jargon for “he was so cool and offered such a sweet deal that we happily accepted without further ado.”
The book is about how humanity will survive for the next million years. I’ll begin by taking you through several past mass extinctions on Earth, including ones that were far more devastating than that time a meteorite wiped out most of the dinosaurs. We’ll also explore the many ways that Homo sapiens almost didn’t make it, due to climate changes, plagues, and famines. And then we’ll turn to the future. With another mass extinction inevitable, whether caused by humans or flaming rocks from space, what can the history of the planet and our species can tell us about the best survival strategies? I’m interviewing scientists, historians, economists, futurists, and even science fiction writers to find out. With their best insights as our guides, we’ll mark a path between the precarious present day and a future where cities are built to be disaster-proof, and our goal as a species is to spread to the stars – the way our ancestors spread from Africa over a million years ago.
No promises, but I’m pretty sure you’ll see it in bookstores in 2013. Unless the planet is destroyed by megavolcanoes. In which case, I’ll see you in the underground cities, munching on algae burgers and grubs.