I had a very interesting evening last night, talking at the London Long Now meetup, on the subject of 'The Long Doom?'. The question mark matters, because I'm not interested in making predictions, nor in pessimism. What I wanted to explore was how we get better at imagining a wider range of futures - at making the distinction between "the end of the world as we know it" and "the end of the world, full stop".
I'll post a video of the talk and the discussion that followed soon. In the mean time, I wanted to share some links to other people whose long-term thinking about decline and collapse scenarios has helped me get my bearings. They fall into the category (which I just made up) of "heterodox futurists": that is, they think and write about the future, while standing outside the orthodoxies characteristic of mainstream voices and organisations.
John Michael Greer, whose erudite comparisons between the current state of the world and the rise and fall of previous civilisations appear weekly at The Archdruid Report.
Dmitry Orlov provides darkly entertaining reflections on the parallels and differences between the present-day USA and his experiences of the collapse of the USSR. (Both of those blogs have also been distilled into excellent books - Greer's 'The Long Descent' and Orlov's 'Reinventing Collapse'.)
Drop-out intellectual Ran Prieur is a constant source of thought-provoking links and his essays offer an unusual balance of social critique and techno-curiosity.
Finally, Eleutheros's occasional posts at How Many Miles From Babylon are worth the wait (though concerned less directly with the future than with the present, as seen from the outside).
There are plenty of other interesting voices out there, associated with the Peak Oil community, the Transition Towns movement, "anti-civilisation" anarchism, mutualism and other positions, many of whom provide a useful balance to mainstream narratives. What I appreciate about those I've listed here, though, is that they speak for themselves, exploring a set of ideas, and not acting as the voice of any particular group or movement.
So, who else should I be reading who falls into that category?