I wake up in 2099 in a world utterly transformed by climate change, though not in a way anyone expected.
To study how things had changed in the intervening decades I chose to live with a family in a small village and embark on an anthropological study of their day to day lives. They lived in a small ramshackle cabin on the edge of a leafy canal, and are part of a small community of others that have eaked out an existence in this new world. On the surface things seemed peculiarly familiar, but soon I learn how the climactic shifts had changed the most fundamental of daily activities.
In interviewing my hosts, I quickly learned that climate change had gone in directions unforeseen by any of the experts of my time. Somehow the presence of excess carbon and plastics led to the blossoming of entirely new patterns of nature that were so surprising and so unforeseen that they took these experts totally off guard. And as the decades past, the prophecies of these technomancers with their supercomputers and climate models had been shown to be no better than the gory readings of augers.
Some things came to pass, it was true. Part of these climactic changes involved hellish summers for instance, but they were short - a week at most, and were followed by periods characterised by sensations and feelings that I struggled to collapse into the comfort of words.
The villagers however seem to see something in the world that I did not. Indeed, they were certain that there were now 26 seasons rather than four, and although I could sense that something fundamental was off about these supposed new seasons, the precise characteristics of these patterns evaded me. As if my entire sensorium was attuned to the signals and patterns of times long past.
The family did seem to see things in the world I did not. Affordances and signs that were essential to them and filled with meaning. For instance, during one of the hotter periods, if such a world were accurate, I saw the family harvesting a type of foam from the canal that they explained was a kind of warm-weather ice that crystallised on the water’s surface when some cryptic climactic conditions were met. It was not clear to me where her these alien rhythms of nature and these new expressions of matter were the reawakening of some unknown and long dormant layers of complexity in the environment, or that wholly new phase shift had occurred. Either way, it felt as if life were being pulled forward to some strange attractor beyond horizon of time.
While I struggled to make sense of things, my hosts seemed familiar with this flux, and this comprehension seemed to have something to do with the rituals the engaged in on a daily basis. This method of communing with this new natural world was were jealously guarded and performed them in front of what looked like and old chest of drawers and shattered television, while they wore what resembled blue graduation robes. The details of the procedure were hidden to me, but I was once asked to take part as one of the acolytes, which was said to be some sort of honour. They revealed to me that two similar seasons were soon to merge and consume a third that sat between, creating a wholly new type of season, as if two microorganism has merged by consuming another, and become something new in the process.
Much of the time I was confined to the house, but I did venture out now and then, but on once occasion I committed a faux-pas by wearing the robes while walking down the canal. There I saw neighbours who looked like the were dressed like 17th century town criers, and one aged gentleman nodded at me respectfully before I was quickly hurried back indoors by the family and told that under no circumstances was I to wear these robes in public.
There was some larger network of communities further away that I only heard about, and later I saw the process by which they engaged with them. In involved a process using an enormous rustic cauldron in the living room, where they deep fried what to my ignorant eyes looked like enormous prawn crackers. However to this family, these were important contracts that would be sent to other factions, and apparently contained important information.
Elsewhere, in a dark room lit only but crimson columns of light, a figure stood before a teleporter, his relationship to previous events obscure. Dressed in black suit and shrouded in shadow, one can see from the sillhuette that his head covered in mechanical devices, and he resembles somewhat the villain Davros, only able bodied. It is a scene so cinematic that I take out my phone and look to take a photo of it. After I do so, the figure climbs upwards to the ceiling where there are banks of replacement heads are stored in the panels, each of them slightly different from one another but bearing the same prunish face. One of them has a full head of hair, and the he is apparently delighted.