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Dixon, Dougal

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1947-    ) UK geologist, palaeontologist and author whose After Man: A Zoology of the Future (1981) provides a quasifactual view of a Far-Future Earth in which Homo sapiens, having exhausted the planet and become extinct, gives way (in a fashion reminiscent of the work of Olaf Stapledon) to succeeding forms of life adapted by Evolution to new-found ecological niches: bats, for example, become highly diversified, including flightless land-walking species. The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution (1988) imagines possible evolutionary paths for Dinosaurs had they not become extinct. Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future (1990) similarly considers various future options for the human form, not excluding Devolution but featuring such Posthuman possibilities as a Cyborg-cum-Genetic Engineering adaptation to function in vacuum and zero-Gravity.

Dixon's expertise was also deployed in a Time-Travel framework, far less taxing in its assumptions, in the Byron Preiss tie, Time Machine #7: Ice Age Explorer (1985), an Interactive-Fiction "adventure gamebook". Far more ambitious is «Greenworld», which uses Dixon's original concept for Man After Man (which had been considerably modified by his publishers) and has so far appeared only in Japanese as Gurīn wārudo (coll of linked stories 2010 2vols): this explores a imagined Earth-like exoplanet's complex biosphere and how it is brought to ruin over the course of a thousand years by the impact of human colonists from a Generation Starship who replay all Earth's Ecological Disasters. [JC/DRL]

Dougal Dixon

born Dumfries, Scotland: 1 March 1947

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nonfiction

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