The Limits to Growth – book review: ‘We can thus say with some confidence that, under the assumption of no major change in the present system, population and industrial growth will certainly stop within the next century, at the least’

In my mind, there are two kinds of horror in this world. There is the fictional, grotesque horror stories, with over the top blood and gore, where the suspense kicks in, your heart pounding while sitting on the edge of your seat (my favourite is Alien). And there is the true horror stories. Like this book, ‘The Limits to Growth’.

I was supposed to read this for a module called, Global Challenges, in the first semester of my second year (see how far behind I am). When it was first published, it was brutally criticised, saying it was unrealistic and untrue. But since its first publishing (1972), many of the things predicted, have turned out to be true.

The sub-title for this horror story is ‘A report for The CLUB OF ROME’s project on the predicament of mankind’, which predicts what the limits to growth are for humanity. It was a scientific investigation, led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which took into account these variables (population, resources, food, time, technology economics, you name it) to produce a world model of how the amount of these variables changed from 1900 to 2100, in coordination to growth.

Several models were produced, all showing clear and comprehensive results, but also horrifying results (thus, the horror story). It’s a very readable book, and doesn’t require substantial knowledge about maths and science. Condensed into a small, 200 page book, with rather large writing, the authors clearly explain the models that they produced, and what they mean in terms of humanity’s future.

I won’t spoil it for you, as you can probably guess, the odds aren’t looking great (especially in the most realistic model). Although the authors try and install some optimism into the equation, you can’t get the feeling that when they wrote this book, it was a horror story to shake the world, and would affect every single one of us. Even the most optimistic model doesn’t look so great for humanity’s future.

One thing, when you read this book, you have to take in all the other variables that you can’t measure. Such as societal response to change. Which is stated many times, just to show how subject these future models can be.

The book is filled with quotes that’ll make your heart pound harder than any book or movie that intends to make you scared; since this is the real life scenario, and not fiction. ‘If man’s energy needs are someday supplied by nuclear power instead of fossil fuels, this increase in atmospheric CO2 will eventually cease, one hopes before it has had any measurable ecological or climatological effect.’

Look outside, look on the internet, look at the stories you see. The optimism of that quote makes you realise what situation we’re in.

In terms of how it’s written, since it’s an old book, it uses heavily masculine terms, which does make you cringe a bit, but not as much as the content itself. It’s very readable, and like I said, doesn’t require you to have qualifications in maths or science. The results and graphs are very comprehensible, which makes reading the book even more horrifying, since you understand them!

If you care about the environment, care about humanity, care about the future generations and the wrong in this world, this book is a must read, and will put everything in perspective; and that is something you can’t rate.

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The art of magi

Within the bowels of the Praevalidus Stronghold, Nade Darus stood in the main hall of the Tower of Mages. A tall, spiralling tower, opposite the Guards’ Tower. Within the tower existed a myriad of papers, books, and alchemy, with the power to do good and evil.
Nade Anton Darus, the most esteemed and respected mage in Pravum, established the School of Mages. Anton stood on next to the wall with a large portrait window that looked down onto the rest of the Stronghold. His expression was blank. It usually was when he thought about his past. He arrived a long time ago, when he was only a small child, only of five or six years of age. The times he spent learning the art of magi, performing a trance to understand how to find the epitome of peace and tranquillity, and to find the easiest routes into peoples’ minds.
He was proud of what he created, endorsed by the Nade Commander of Praevalidus at the time, before Isaac’s grandfather died. Anton wanted to find and help people who had the same experiences and indications of becoming a mage.

Red of roses

Rulie, one of the cranes in Praevalidus, sat herself down at her desk. She sighed from tiredness, and pushed her black hair back, which, usually, gently graced the tops of her shoulders. Her crane’s robes cuddled her body, keeping her cosy in the cool evening.
She’d been out in the wilderness all day, collecting oils and sap and water from various flowers on the edge of the Lyntherian Forests.
Cranes often made their own ointments and medicines from the local wilderness. Luckily, for Rulie and the other cranes in Praevalidus, the Lyntherian Forests provided ample amounts of plants used for medicine.
Rulie had picked all she needed to create large amounts of medicine, particularly red of roses, an ointment mixed with oils from the reddest and prickliest of roses and sap from oak trees. Used as an antiseptic and painkiller for deadly viruses and external wounds.
Rulie remembered the time she first mixed a red of roses ointment. Back when she was a child, during a plague of Waters’ Kiss, she ran to the fields outside Smoking Mouth, and found the most vibrant plant, and used its oil to help her sickened brother.

‘A Game of Thrones’ – does what it says on the tin. ‘It’s like an elaborate model, every thing has a place, and all those things create a masterpiece. ‘

I know that many people have posted reviews about this fantastic high-fantasy novel. I don’t need to give a little synopsis about what the book is about, we all know. What I’m going to talk about is the style of writing.

I’ve mostly read books where the narrator is telling the story, rather from the perspective of the characters. The meticulous style of writing ensures that you have a vivid view of what is happening in the scene, and what the character is thinking at the time. You really understand the beliefs and values of the characters, and how they feel at the time, what their thoughts are.

In most books, you get a simple, ‘he/she was sad about such and such’, whereas, in ‘A Game of Thrones’, it’s nothing like that. It’s more, ‘she/he couldn’t stop thinking about such and such, but there was so much going on around him/her, that she/he couldn’t stop and think about…’. It’s this style of writing that really gets me going and motivated to write my book, and that’s  sometimes, all you need to punch through a writer’s block.

The story and world puts my writing into context. Everything, from medicine to the names of castles, to places in Westeros and the beliefs of the people, is so well thought out, it’s like an elaborate model, every thing has a place, and all those things create a masterpiece.

I’m really looking forward to get stuck into the next one, even though I know what happens, reading ‘Game of Thrones’ puts everything into a completely new perspective, a more meaningful one!

4.6/5

The next review will be a book that’s something that, most likely, non of you will have ever heard of or read. It is a book that will change the way we see things in society and mankind, and will probably change your life…forever.