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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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The Collapse Is Coming. Will Humanity Adapt?

The Collapse Is Coming. Will Humanity Adapt?

An evolutionary biologist and a science fiction writer walk into a bar… and mull over survival.

I’ve known Dan Brooks for 40 years now. Somehow we’re still talking to each other.

We’ve followed radically different trajectories since first meeting back in the ’80s. Dan built a truly impressive rap sheet of over 400 papers and book chapters, seven books, and too many awards, fellowships, and distinctions to count on your fingers and toes. I, in contrast, left academia in a huff (industry funding came with, shall we say, certain a priori preferences concerning the sort of results we’d be reporting) and became a science fiction writer. It’s a position from which, ironically, I’ve had more influence on actual scientists than I ever did as an academic — admittedly a low bar to clear.

Daniel R. Brooks is the co-author of “A Darwinian Survival Guide

And yet our paths continue to intersect. Dan offered me a post-doc in his lab around the turn of the century (DNA barcoding — I really, really sucked at it). A few years later I helped him relocate to Nebraska, leading to an encounter with the armed capuchins of the U.S. Border Patrol and eventual banishment from that crumbling empire. The protagonist of my novel “Echopraxia” is a parasitologist suspiciously named Daniel Brüks. And I once ended up one creepy handshake away from Viktor Orbán, when Dan finagled a speaking gig for me at Hungary’s iASK Symposium.

The dance continues. Sometimes we hug like brothers. Sometimes we feel like punching each other’s lights out (also, I suppose, like brothers). But one thing we never do is bore each other — and whenever Dan’s in town, we manage to meet up at a pub somewhere to reconnect. What follows is an edited record of one such meeting, more formal than most, which took place shortly after the publication of “A Darwinian Survival Guide.”


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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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