May 13, 2014

Seven Melville House books made obsolete by rising sea levels


When the globe is hit with a ten foot rise in sea level, which of our books will suddenly become fantastic?

We’ve known the general figures for some time now, but in a press conference Monday NASA announced what we’ve all feared. “A rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea,” according to the NASA-JPL’s accompanying press release. “The glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica have passed the point of no return.” This is, as I say, roughly expected in our worst case scenarios which, as it turns out, mother earth took as a dare.

The release continues:

These glaciers already contribute significantly to sea level rise, releasing almost as much ice into the ocean annually as the entire Greenland Ice Sheet. They contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) and are melting faster than most scientists had expected. [Lead author Eric] Rignot said these findings will require an upward revision to current predictions of sea level rise.

That four feet of sea level is for this ice alone, and in addition to other estimates. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently predicted sea levels to rise by about a meter this century, and up to three more meters next century and the centuries following, but that was before Monday’s report from NASA. Now it can confidently be predicted that sea level will rise to a height somewhere between ‘bye Bangladesh’ and ‘utterly fucked’ over the next two to nine centuries. Since we at Melville House only publish those books that will surely be read two hundred years from now (see you in the canon, incisive takedown of George Dubya!) it leads to the question: which of our books will have their settings so dramatically erased by rising jellyfish-thick coral-less seas that future readers will not be able to visit their settings? Which of our books may as well be set on Atlantis? Here are a few.

For added resources on sea level rise, visit these lovely maps here and here.



Dustin Kurtz is the marketing manager of Melville House, and a former bookseller.