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    As my regular readers know, the point of that prolonged experiment in online prose was my attempt to explore the primary historical fact of our time—the accelerating decline and impending fall of industrial civilization—from every angle I could think of, including some I never imagined addressing at all when I started blogging back in 2006.

    Those changes of angle happened partly because it gets boring to talk about the same thing in the same way over and over again, of course, but there was a deeper factor as well.

    We talked about systems ecology, economics, history and the cycles by which civilizations rise and fall; we hauled the appropriate-technology movement of the Seventies out of the memory hole to which it’s been consigned for the last thirty years, and unpacked some of the things it had to offer, now that we’re experiencing the future that the movement’s spokespeople warned about.En route, we strayed into an assortment of strange byways, from faith in progress as an ersatz religion to the possibilities open to science fiction once it gets back to work discussing the kind of futures we’re actually going to get.Tolerably often, the results were interesting enough to be worth reprinting in book form—that’s where ten of my nonfiction books, three novels, and a newly released collection of short stories came from.I started off discussing what I thought was the straightforward point that you can’t fuel infinite economic growth by drawing down a finite resource base. It did to me, too, but it nonetheless fielded a remarkable amount of pushback.A great many people seemed to be unable to get their minds around the fact that each ton of coal, barrel of petroleum, or cubic foot of natural gas burned to fuel their lifestyles really does go away forever.

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