At one point in my new novella The Million, our hero Gavin is crossing Europe by airship. Gazing out the windows, he sees this:
There were no settlements. Elephants, boars, lions, and the ancient bull of legend, the aurochs, wandered at will. Now and then the zeppelin would pass one of the museum cities. Often, nothing remained but the cathedrals, which had been built to last. Some cities had been tended well, and thousands of years of architectural glory were on display, all of it lovingly tended by the bots that walked their plazas and alleys.
Dusk chased the sun into France and Iberia, and the Alps rolled by. Their peaks were the last to catch the light, and the mountaintops blazed like a thousand bonfires for a few minutes before night fell entirely. Now the land below was invisible, cloaked in a blackness it had not seen while the cities had been inhabited. The sky blazed with stars and the Milky Way bannered across them like a conqueror’s flag.
It’s an empty world. But The Million is not a post-apocalyptic dystopia. On the contrary, The Million could be our best hope, and the Earth’s.