By Allen Steele
The last few years have seen an uptick in SF “ark” fiction: stories where a catastrophe on Earth, like the rising waters brought about by global climate change or the impact of an asteroid, has made it necessary to establish a new home for the human race elsewhere in the cosmos. See, for example, Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora.
In Arkwright, the aptly named Nathan Arkwright, one of the giants of twentieth-century SF, sets up a foundation just before he dies tasked with the mission of casting our seed into space. The nuts and bolts of how this is accomplished are carefully rendered by Allen Steele in a multigenerational account of the settling of the final frontier and the creation of a new heaven and earth.