Welcome to my Metazoic site! This site discusses the existence of the creatures to come along after humans will be extinct. I first became interested in a world after man when I acquired my first copy of Dougal Dixon's After Man: A Zoology of the Future in 1992. However, I unwittingly created creatures that did not exist from the time I was about 8 years old. But it was after I obtained a copy of that book (now a collector's item) that I decided to take these same creatures I created as a child and make them more realistic in an evolutionary sense. Though it may be hard for a lot of us to grasp, humans will soon become extinct. One of the biggest factors of how this will happen is the current overpopulation rate. Which is why I don't contribute to the population. I created this world with little more than mammals fulfilling all ecological niches with the help of some friends. I even gave the era of the age after man a name, I called it the Metazoic, derived from the words for "After-era" (Meta, meaning after, and zoic meaning era). We are now in the Cenozoic era. To view all the animals I have created since I began this project, you can go to the "Meet the Mammals" section of this site. To discuss your own ideas about what you think will happen in the future world, and share your ideas with others, please feel free to leave a comment.
One more thing, some of you may find this site quite offensive, and you have a right to your own opinion. But please respect my right to have an opinion too. I'm not saying there is no GOD, I believe it was HIM who got the ball rolling. But I believe after that, evolution took over. There is so much more evidence of evolution than there is of creation. Even that going on right under our noses. Other than that, enjoy yourself and visit our many links.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Interview With Dougal Dixon

I did it, I took the big leap. And now Metazoica presents their very own interview with the pioneer in speculative evolution himself, Dougal Dixon. He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions I thought everyone would like to know. Just got his responses today through e-mail. And here they are, his own words to me. Enjoy!


1. What got you interested in speculative biology in the first place?
Always interested in dinosaurs, since about 5 years old. From there it was a small step to other strange-looking animals. And if the strange-looking animals had some scientific plausibility then that would fit in better with my scientific education.

2. How often have you thought about speculative biology?
Frequently.

3. What was your goal with your first speculative biology project?
AFTER MAN was a popular level book on evolution. But whereas all popular books on evolution look towards the past, and see what has happened, I wanted to look towards the future to see what might happen. Not a firm prediction but rather an exploration of possibilities. The result is a picture book of funny animals, but with each funny animal telling some story about evolution or ecology. Fictitious examples of factual processes, so that the novelty would draw people in to find out more.

4. What other sciences do you study?
Two degrees in geology, with a special interest in fossils and evolution. Masters thesis on palaeogeography - tracing the history of the landscapes of the British Isles throughout known geological time.

5. Among those, which do you find yourself most drawn to?
Palaeontology.

6. And why?
See above.

7. Are you currently working on anything new in the speculative biology field?
Second series of THE FUTURE IS WILD.
My novel GREENWORLD will be published in Japan this year. Again it deals with fictitious examples of factual processes - in this case the relationship between Homo sapiens and the natural environment - but set on an alien planet. A planet with a whole thriving ecosystem, based on the same biochemical principles that we have here on Earth. Human settlers - evacuated from an overpopulated and polluted Earth - arrive and set up a civilization. We follow the first thousand years of settlement, in which every environmental disaster caused by humans on Earth is repeated. Every incident has its counterpart in Earth's history. Told as a series of short stories, dealing with subsequent generations of a few principal families, and the whole thing building into a kind of a dynastic epic. Illustrated by excerpts from field guides, herbals, bounty notices, recipes, zoo advertisments, scientific papers - all aimed at the characters, not the reader. The reader is an eavesdropper here.



8. Do you consider yourself tops in the growing field of speculative biology?
Others do! I seem to be the go-to guy when it comes to that.

9. What would you say is your greatest accomplishment in any scientific field?
In my case, from my day job as a science writer, to inspire others to take an active interest in the fields of science.

17 comments:

Luciano said...

A second series of The Future Is Wild and a new novel by Dixon?! That's enough to keep me cheerful for a week or two!

Canis said...

NO LAND SQUIDS THIS TIME!!!!

Please. Land octopi that slither along the ground or move through the trees like a sloth would be fine.



But I'm going to have to look up this second incarnation. It sounds interesting. But, so did the first TFIW. So I don't know.


But good interview by the way. How'd you contact him? You don't have to give me the contact info, I'm just wondering how you knew him.

Timgal said...

Sorry, I cannot divulge the secret. :)

Anonymous said...

Finally, a long awaited update to The Future is Wild !!! Oh man I can't wait to see what they'll come up with next !
-Venatosaurus

Canis said...

What secret are you talking about?

Contact or the second incarnation?

Pavel Volkov said...

Hmmmm.
first of all, Cassandra, great interview! Thank you! It was very interesting to know about new plans of Foundator of speculative biology. I feel I must find and translate his new book...
As for "The Future is Wild"... Some days ago I placed to my site Russian article by Andrey Zhuravlev "Wild, totally wild" - the criticism of the project. If readers want, I may take any efforts to translate it into English. And I don't want to see the new series of TFIW as dumb as first parts are.

Luciano said...

Pavel Volkov, you're the creator of Neocene, aren't you? Congratulations for the wonderful site! Yes, I'd love to see this article translated

Future is Wild did have some mistakes, but I enjoyed the series very much, specially the Desert Hoppers

Pavel Volkov said...

Yes, I'm. Neocene is not only my own project now - some people contribute actively, and many new critters appeared in Neocene fauna and flora due to their activity.
So, I'll translate that article, but be patient, please! I have my own plans to fill up site content. For example, I add scans of biology-dedicated postcard sets now:
http://www.sivatherium.narod.ru/postcard/postcard.htm
----------------------------
In my opinion TFIW series is only very bright cover for plenty of biological mistakes. I'd like to know the opinion of D. Dixon about criticism to his project.

Pavel Volkov said...

Here it is the translation of Zhuravlev's article:
http://sivatherium.narod.ru/zhuravlv/zhur_en.htm
Read and enjoy! And take notes into account constructing the futuristic ecosystems...

Anonymous said...

Will Greenworld ever be published in the U.S. or the U.K.?

Timgal said...

Hi all! Sorry I'm so late getting back to you. Anyway, Canis, e-mail me and I'll let you in on my secret ;)

I'm glad you all enjoyed this interview. Sorry I cannot say for sure what is coming up with Greenworld or the next season of TFIW. I'm shocked myself it hasn't been released in the US or UK. Especially the UK! That is his home country!

Luciano said...

Hey people, I just found out that Greenworld, along with another world created by Dixon, was featured in a 1997 astrobiology documentary! Look:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_History_of_an_Alien

I know wikipedia is not that reliable, but the show is real. The Epona project was featured too, and you can read about it and watch the Epona part here:

http://planetfuraha.blogspot.com/2009/05/something-is-happening-with-epona-and.html

How I wish I could find the entire program to watch!

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Hello Luciano and others,

Just for your information: I will post two remaining fragments of 'Natural History of an alien' on my blog shortly( planetfuraha.blogspot.com).

Both contain work by Dougal Dixon, including Greenworld.

Sliver Slave said...

Wow, an interview with Dougal Dixon! When you get an interview with him, you KNOW you've reached the big leagues.

Timgal said...

He was great to interview too!

animaloverlord42 said...

i have ideas on what this future is wild series two may have, either:
* it will focus on intermediate periods between the existing ones,
* it will continue further into the future than 200 million and push revolutionary boundaries in speculative biology
* it will go back into the same time periods, but in different habitats or
* it will remake the series altogether.

any scenario, particularly the latter and second one seem good to me. :)

Timgal said...

I'd personally like to see them go further than 200 million years. That would be very interesting!