Author Thomas A. Cahill will present a talk about his newest novel, “Greenhouse Redemption of the Planet Kraal,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in downtown Davis. It is the fourth and newest novel of science and fiction by Cahill, a renowned UC Davis physicist. The book describes how an advanced civilization 6.2 light years from Earth succeeded in cloning a human for its planet’s cosmic zoo.
“Everything in this tale could happen,” Cahill says. “Many things in this tale will happen. Some things in this tale have happened.”
That contention correlates with the recent announcement that real-life astronomers at a massive observatory in Chile have discovered signs of a potentially life-bearing planet 6.6 light-years from Earth — so close that Earth-based television transmissions broadcast in 2006 are now arriving there.
In Cahill’s novel, a robotic space probe that the inhabitants of the planet Kraal landed on Earth after almost a century of travel, extracted DNA from a human subject and transmitted his genetic data to Kraal for cloning. Kraal’s unscrupulous ruling elite masterminded the mission of duplicating a human as a way to distract Kraal’s citizens from a looming ecological disaster that their mismanagement of Kraal’s natural resources had provoked. The resulting runaway greenhouse effect already had devastated most of their world.
The captors, however, underestimated the mettle of the human spirit, leading to revelation of the dark secret about the looming planetary disaster. Kraal’s attempts to recover something of its past ecology becomes a challenge to Earth, which is staggering closer to a tipping point in its own impending greenhouse climate collapse.
While “Greenhouse Redemption of the Planet Kraal” is a work of fiction, it is based upon solid science, as are all of Cahill’s novels. Each is available in paperback as well as e-book format for Kindle and Nook readers, iPads and smartphones.
Cahill is a professor of physics and atmospheric sciences at UCD. His early work at UCLA, in France and in Davis was in nuclear physics and astrophysics, but he soon began adapting physical techniques to applied problems, especially air pollution.
Past director of the Institute of Ecology at UC Davis, Cahill began work on global climate problems in 1980, specializing in the Arctic and global impacts of the Kuwaiti oil fires of 1991.
In September 2001, Cahill volunteered his expertise to the problem of aerosols from the smoldering debris piles of the World Trade Center collapse. He was one of the first scientists to warn that workers at the site were at risk of serious health threats from the toxic metals in the air they were breathing.
Cahill’s first novels — “Annals of the Omega Project,” “Ark: Asteroid Impact” and “Ark: Diaspora” — were published in 2012 and 2013 by EditPros LLC, based in Davis.