On Writing

How The Human Race came out of a hole in the ground

5 Comments 14 January 2011

How The Human Race came out of a hole in the ground

When I wrote The Human Race, I wanted it to portray something I had learned on one of our last excursions to Iceland: that this mesmerisingly beautiful country is being torn apart. Literally. One half of the island sits atop the Eurasian Tectonic Plate while the other half straddles the North American Plate. The two are slowly but inexorably separating at the rate of one inch per year. You can actually see it happening.

Þingvellir National Park is littered with consequential tears in the earth, and we were fortunate enough to scramble inside one that must have been 20 feet deep and 10 wide (and this was 10 years ago, so now the void will be much deeper). It was an eerie yet thought-provoking experience; in Iceland, Mother Nature rules with a fiery fist.

Where would each half of this island be in a thousand years?

Ten thousand years?

One hundred thousand years?

And where would that leave the human race?

We have only really prospered as a race for the last 10,000 years.  Could we last another 10,000? Or even longer? Aside from challenging my limited maths and geography skills, these questions struck me as the perfect contrast between mankind and our environment. One is rushing along at a million miles an hour. The other has a steady natural rhythm, which has continued for millions of years and will continue for another billion or so, while the human race flames out like an angry Icarus.

Our Icelandic adventure was a 35th birthday gift from my lovely wife, and it had taken us everywhere: The Blue Lagoon. Gullfoss Waterfall. Hallgrimskirkja Church. Strokkur Geysir. Snæfellsjökull Glacier. But it was there, in the freezing canyon that inspiration came.

The Earth’s sedate pace belies the relatively frantic pace of modern life. Our lives are largely dictated by technology, which is in turn driven by humanity’s unique ability to learn, invent and evolve. Consider our use of fire.
The spear.
The wheel.
Steam trains.
The telegraph.
Propeller driven planes.
The jet engine.
The Internet.

We live fast because technology allows us to, and the pace of modern life seems to quicken with every passing year. This was the moment when the The Human Race began taking shape.

What would the ultimate technological advance be for our civilisation? One that would catapult the human race into a whole new realm that would make our current pace seem like the horse and cart in comparison.

One that is not fazed by the ever-dominant Mother Nature and her dormant lava fields, active volcanoes, jittery geology, geothermal power, Northern Lights, the eternal sunshine of summer and the permanent blackness of winter.

We can’t yet escape her embrace.  But maybe someday soon…

Finally, I can’t help noting that The Human Race took me ten years to write – but the sequel is very nearly finished after just 18 months. Is this yet more evidence that the pace of the earth is rapidly quickening..?

This post was selected for the 5th Byteful Travel Blog Carnival, hosted by Byteful Travel and Traveler’s Show & Tell – Sun, Sand & Savory Dishes, hosted by Mental Mosaic.

Image: Iceland – Reykjavik by helgabj.

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5 Comments so far

  1. Andarin says:

    Eventually, I see the human race evolving beyond the need for physical bodies at all. 😉
    Andarin recently posted..Seattle’s Chittenden Lock Miracle- How the Salmon Were Saved from Oblivion

  2. Andarin says:

    @ O.C.

    I got a pingback on the blog carnival this morning saying you had linked back to the carnival, and lo and behold you have.

    Thank you! It helps spread the word about the carnival, which I intend to grow significantly this year.

    To your continued success and happiness,
    Andarin recently posted..Byteful Travel Blog Carnival 5 – 2011 Feb 22


  1. Living with “green guilt”: is it a progressive condition? | A Rush of Green - February 7, 2011

    […] So it goes on. In all probability, it will only get worse. I can’t help it and I have green guilt in abundance. But I can’t stop. For goodness sake, even the idea for The Human Race came about while I was holidaying in Iceland. […]

  2. Byteful Travel Blog Carnival #5 – 2011 Feb 22 | Byteful Travel - February 22, 2011

    […] Heaton presents: How The Human Race came out of a hole in the ground posted at A Rush of Green, saying, “This post details how the inspiration for my first novel […]

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Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

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O.C.'s bookshelf: read

The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

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