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12.16.2017
Man After Man: An Anthropology Of The Future (1990)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger
12.13.10

Man After Man: An Anthropology Of The Future (1990) This illustrated book is along the lines of Dixon's AFTER MAN, which proposed what future animals would look like because of natural evolution. This time it's a bit more fantastical and deals with how mankind will transform in this future world. Although evolution plays a part it's much more because of intentional genetic manipulation on humanity's part. The first created creature, 200 years hence, is the Aquamorph (Homo Aquaticus), which has gills and can live in the water. These evolve into the Aquatics in 2,000 years and in the distant future evolve to go back on the land. There's also the Vacuumorph, a bug-like creature that basically has its own built in space suit. Their purpose is to work in outer space, building the ships. In fact, this is when a group of humans head out into outer space for greener pastures since the Earth's resources are used up and mankind's survival questionable because of the green house effect. People either live in modern, high tech societies or forage for survival, like cavemen, in the ruined cities.

Humans are beginning to lose their mobility and scientists believe the only way for survival in the future is to "de-evolve" mankind. The first of this is 500 years from now with the engineered Plains-Dweller, which is suited to living off the land. Their counterparts are the orangutan-like Forest-Dweller and the Yeti-like Tundra-Dweller. Some humans also live off the land in isolated communities that farm, hunt and gather their food. One of the weirdest creatures are The Tic, which supply replacement organs for the weakening human form. They have multi limbs and look as if they are covered in tumors. Basically, once the Homo Sapiens Sapiens on earth become extinct all the engineered forms begin to adapt and evolve on their own as the Earth's climate changes. For example, the Plains-Dwellers evolve into a hive-like community similar to termites. The forest-dwellers and Tundra Dwellers become symbionts in 10,000 years, which two-million later is transformed into a repulsive Host/Parasite existence. In three million years they've become even less humanlike, with such creatures as The Spiketooth and the Slothmen. Eventually the descendants of the space-faring humans return to Earth to exploit the last resources. Yet these creatures, the result of millions of years of genetic engineering and selective surgery, have to move about in pressurized suits. They enslave all the creatures on Earth descended from man.

This is a truly fascinating book. Highly recommended.

author: Dougal Dixon


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