History Literature / Evolution

16th Nov '17 6:28:41 PM HTD
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* CosmicHorrorStory: Baxter's explanation of how human civilisation ends emphasises that we are prey to powerful forces that we cannot control. The undoing of humanity is not nuclear war, global warming or a deadly virus grown in a laboratory, but an enormous super-volcano that disrupts the planet's weather systems enough to cause civilisation to collapse. Humans are no different from the millions of species that have come into being, thrived, then vanished into oblivion. In the eyes of Earth, we are a minor flash in the pan. In the eyes of the cosmos, we are less than a speck of dust. Look at those who have fallen before us; why should we fare any better? Are we really any different?

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* CosmicHorrorStory: Baxter's explanation of how human civilisation ends emphasises that we are prey to powerful forces that we cannot control. The undoing of humanity is not nuclear war, global warming or a deadly virus grown in a laboratory, but an enormous super-volcano that disrupts the planet's weather systems enough to cause civilisation to collapse. Volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts, ice ages and indeed evolution itself destroy humanity's delusions of grandeur. Humans are no different from the millions of species that have come into being, thrived, then vanished into oblivion. In the eyes of Earth, we are a minor flash in the pan. In the eyes of the cosmos, we are less than a speck of dust. Look at those who have fallen before us; why should we fare any better? Are we really any different?



* EverythingTryingToKillYou: For Purga, Plesi and Remembrance, life is nasty, brutal and short. In "Kingdom of the Rats", Remembrace escapes her homicidal cousins in the trees, ran into a giant rat on the forest floor, and escapes into the treetops only to be plucked by a giant finch. The savage landscape of the selfish gene is their habitat.



* FinalSolution: At the end of "A Crowded Land", a group of anatomically modern humans arrive at an island and exterminate the local population of late ''Homo erectus'' people, stranded there millennia earlier as sea levels rose.



* GroinAttack: Solo bites off a testicle from the ''Notharctus'' troop’s alpha male, the Emperor. Fortunately they seem have much a lower pain threshold in that particular part of their anatomy than humans.

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* GroinAttack: Solo bites off a testicle from the ''Notharctus'' troop’s alpha male, the Emperor. Fortunately they seem to have much a lower pain threshold in that particular part of their anatomy than humans.



* {{Precursors}}: The ‘’Orbitholestes’’ from the second chapter could be considered this to mankind, being a civilization that existed well over a hundred million years before mankind. Unlike most examples, though, ‘’’nobody’’’ will ever know that they existed, as they only made tools out of wood, and the only evidence of their existence is the extinction of some types of sauropods in the Jurassic.

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* {{Precursors}}: The ‘’Orbitholestes’’ ''Ornitholestes'' from the second chapter could be considered this to mankind, being a civilization that existed well over a hundred million years before mankind. in the Jurassic. Unlike most examples, though, ‘’’nobody’’’ nobody will ever know that they existed, as they only made tools out of wood, and the only evidence of their existence is the extinction of some types of sauropods in the Jurassic.



* ShoutOut: With bitter irony, the characters of "The Long Shadow" name a feral posthuman girl [[Literature/TheTimeMachine Weena]], but she could not be more different from [[Creator/HGWells Wells']] 'little doll of a creature': she is covered in fur and stinks 'like a monkey cage'.



* TheSymbiote: The inhabitants of New Pangaea took the principle of cooperation and sharing to its extremes to survive in the dying Earth. The borametz Tree cannot survive without the insects that bring nutrients to its roots, and the mammals who bring it water, food, and salt, and plant its seeds. Even its leaves belong to another plant. Likewise the symbiotes cannot have survived without the Tree, which shelters them from predators and climate, and feed them with its sap.
* ThemeNaming: The chapters set in the human era, link a diverse set of protagonists named Ja-ahn, Ejan, Jo-on, Jahna, Juna and Joan Useb over a period of tens of thousands of years.

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* TheSymbiote: The inhabitants of New Pangaea took the principle of cooperation and sharing to its extremes to survive in the dying Earth. The borametz Tree cannot survive without the insects that bring nutrients to its roots, and the mammals who bring it water, food, and salt, and plant its seeds. Even its leaves belong to another plant. Likewise the symbiotes cannot have survived without the Tree, which shelters them from predators and climate, and feed feeds them with its sap.
* ThemeNaming: The chapters set in the human era, era link a diverse set of protagonists named Ja-ahn, Ejan, Jo-on, Jahna, Juna and Joan Useb over a period of tens of thousands of years.



* TribalFacePaint: Early humans identify kin groups by ochre makings scrawled on their faces, hands and arms.

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* TribalFacePaint: Early humans identify kin groups by ochre makings markings scrawled on their faces, hands and arms.
5th Nov '17 1:54:09 PM Flameal15k
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* {{Precursors}}: The ‘’Orbitholestes’’ from the second chapter could be considered this to mankind, being a civilization that existed well over a hundred million years before mankind. Unlike most examples, though, ‘’’nobody’’’ will ever know that they existed, as they only made tools out of wood, and the only evidence of their existence is the extinction of some types of sauropods in the Jurassic.
19th Oct '17 8:08:38 AM HTD
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* MadGenius: Mother understands the concept of cause and effect, and is capable of abstract thought. This enables her to invent the spear thrower, a crucial invention because her people are starving. But Mother’s enhanced mental powers come at a cost; many of her ideas come to her when she is having crippling migraine attacks. She begins to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia following the death of her son, and invents the world's first religion

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* MadGenius: MadScientist: Mother understands the concept of cause and effect, and is capable of abstract thought. This enables her to invent the spear thrower, a crucial invention because her people are starving. But Mother’s enhanced mental powers come at a cost; many of her ideas come to her when she is having crippling migraine attacks. She begins to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia following the death of her son, and invents the world's first religionreligion.



* SuperPersistentPredator: A [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troodon Troodon]] pursues Purga, the protagonist of the first chapter, not because she's hungry, but because she snapped when she found Purga eating her eggs.

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* SuperPersistentPredator: A [[http://en.''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troodon Troodon]] Troodon]]'' pursues Purga, the protagonist of the first chapter, not because she's hungry, but because she snapped when she found Purga eating her eggs.
19th Oct '17 8:03:46 AM HTD
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* TheBeautifulElite: A consequence of the development of genetic engineering is that the rich can now spend their money to make their children look better.



* FlyingSeafoodSpecial: Fish that fly with wings are one of the creatures that populate the Earth 30 million years after humanity's downfall.

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* FlyingSeafoodSpecial: Fish that fly with wings fins are one of the creatures that populate the Earth 30 million years after humanity's downfall.downfall.
* FutureImperfect: During the first five thousand years of the human colonisation of Australia, they have killed off all the continent’s megafauna, such as giant kangaroos, which survive only as cave paintings. They are dismissed as childish doodling by people who have already forgotten what has been lost.


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* HumansAreBastards: Baxter's views on humanity are depressing. We are almost always represented under disastrous lights: we exhaust our resources, we exploit anything of benefit to us. We are unable to overcome our animal urge to destroy anything we do not know or understand. Selfishness and xenophobia are mankind's modus operandi.


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* MadGenius: Mother understands the concept of cause and effect, and is capable of abstract thought. This enables her to invent the spear thrower, a crucial invention because her people are starving. But Mother’s enhanced mental powers come at a cost; many of her ideas come to her when she is having crippling migraine attacks. She begins to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia following the death of her son, and invents the world's first religion


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* OfThePeople: Early hominid don't need to dehumanize people because it never occur to them that hominids not members of their own band are people.
-->''And just as they were able to believe that things, weapons or animals or the sky, were in some way people, it wasn't a hard leap to make to believe that some people were no more than things. The old categories had broken down. In attacking the river folk they weren't killing humans, people like themselves. The river folk, for all their technical cleverness with fire and clay, had no such belief.''


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* SpeciesLostAndFound: One of Alison Scott's genetic creations are a living reconstruction of an ''Australopithecus''.


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* ThemeNaming: The chapters set in the human era, link a diverse set of protagonists named Ja-ahn, Ejan, Jo-on, Jahna, Juna and Joan Useb over a period of tens of thousands of years.


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* TribalFacePaint: Early humans identify kin groups by ochre makings scrawled on their faces, hands and arms.


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* WhereItAllBegan: The story begins in Late Cretaceous Montana where the fossil of ''Purgatorius'' was found, and ends at the same place 565 million years later, during the time of Ultimate, humanity's final descendant.
18th Oct '17 8:46:48 AM HTD
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* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Baxter starts the novel 30 years into the future with civilisation at its apex, yet simultaneously threatened by the damage it has done to the ecosystem that supports it.

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* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Baxter starts the novel frame story 30 years into the future with civilisation at its apex, yet simultaneously threatened by the damage it has done to the ecosystem that supports it.it.
* AbsurdlyDedicatedWorker: The replicator robots have been designed as a precursor to human colonisation of Mars, with instructions to build homes, assemble air and water, grow food and build cars, computers,... for the colonists. No human ever arrives at Mars before their downfall, but the replicating robots keep doing their job even after they lose contact with humans. Until they were told otherwise, their only purpose was to replicate, eventually destroying Mars and spreading around the universe.



* AscendedToCarnivorism: The Antarctican descendants of the herbivorous ''Leaellynasaura'' have learnt to eat meat and become scavengers.



* CorruptChurch: Religion is depicted as the creation of a manipulative woman wielding her dead son's memory as a weapon in a bid to gain political power. On the other hand, religion is shown to have also a positive impact on the tribe since its teachings improve the quality of life of its members and bring unity to them.



* FlyingSeafoodSpecial: Fish that fly with wings are one of the creatures that populate the Earth 30 million years after humanity's downfall.



* GrowsOnTrees: The borametz Trees of New Pangaea are involved in posthuman reproduction by mixing the parents' bodily fluid, and also feed the children with the organic mechanisms in its leafy cocoons.



* InHarmonyWithNature: Zigzagged with the early humans who believed they were living in harmony with nature by hunting animals lightly. In other words, they were driving their prey to extinction by killing the animals at a time when they were vulnerable, by selectively killing off the young, by disrupting habitats and by taking out key components of the food web.



* MechanicalEvolution: The replicator robots sent to Mars tried, incorporated and abandoned many modifications when replicating themselves, creating new kinds of robots, learning and adapting whenever they encounter a new condition.



* PathOfInspiration: Gods, religion, life after death, black magic and human sacrifice are depicted as the creation of a manipulative, emotionally unbalanced woman wielding her dead son's memory as a weapon in a bid to gain political power. On the other hand, religion is shown to have also a positive impact on the tribe since its teachings improve the quality of life of its members and bring unity to them.



* RagnarokProofing: averted. Very little remains of human civilization except fossils and some very durable structures such as an artificial cave or a gorge excavated to build a road.

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* RagnarokProofing: averted.Averted. Very little remains of human civilization except fossils and some very durable structures such as an artificial cave or a gorge excavated to build a road.



* TheSymbiote: The inhabitants of New Pangaea took the principle of cooperation and sharing to its extremes to survive in the dying Earth. The borametz Tree cannot survive without the insects that bring nutrients to its roots, and the mammals who bring it water, food, and salt, and plant its seeds. Even its leaves belong to another plant. Likewise the symbiotes cannot have survived without the Tree, which shelters them from predators and climate, and feed them with its sap.



* {{Xenofiction}}: Only a few chapters are about humans, the rest count as this.

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* {{Xenofiction}}: Only a few chapters are about humans, the rest count as this.this.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: Children with unusual hair colours like blue and green are only one of the products of genetic engineering undertaken by the rich elite to create perfect-looking kids.
30th Sep '17 10:46:34 PM HTD
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* AmbiguousTimePeriod: It's not stated exactly when "A Long Shadow" (the first chapter in the Descendants section) takes place. The characters can only speculate that it must have been more than a millennium since civilisation ended and they were put into cryostasis.



* BlessedWithSuck: The transparent killers (no further taxonomy given) are blind, inefficient and ''very'' susceptible to cancer. All of them die before reaching adulthood. But that's okay, because they catch meat for their siblings.

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* BlessedWithSuck: The transparent killers (no further taxonomy given) invisible mutant frogs of New Pangaea are blind, inefficient and ''very'' susceptible to cancer. All of them die before reaching adulthood. But that's okay, because they catch meat for their siblings.



* {{Invisibility}}: 500 million years in the future, a species of amphibians has a chance to produce a mutant that replaces most of the body’s biochemicals with transparent substances, making it almost invisible and extremely difficult to detect, looking like little more than big bags of water sitting in the desert of New Pangaea.
* InvisibilityWithDrawbacks: All invisible mutant frogs are blind (no transparent retina can trap light), have inefficient biochemistry for having to use transparent substitutes, are extremely vulnerable to cancer for lack of protection from light, heat and the Sun's radiation, and live short, wretched lives in constant agony before dying as a juvenile, never reaching adulthood.



* JustBeforeTheEnd: "A Far Distant Futurity" set 500 million years into the future, when the continents of earth have merged into a hot, flat, dry supercontinent that resembles the surface of Mars, and life is on the decline. "The Last Burrow", "Last Contact", "The Dying Light" and the epilogue also count, for the end of the polar dinosaurs, Neanderthals, Ancient Rome, and humanity respectively.

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* JustBeforeTheEnd: "A Far Distant Futurity" set 500 million years into the future, when the continents of earth have merged into a hot, flat, dry supercontinent that resembles the surface of Mars, and life is on the decline. "The Last Burrow", "Last Contact", "The Dying Light" and the epilogue also count, for the end of the polar dinosaurs, Neanderthals, Ancient Rome, the Western Roman Empire, and humanity respectively.



* MixAndMatchCritters: The world 30 million years in the future is full of these: rat-leopards, rat-cheetahs, mouse-raptors, elephant-men, mole-men, rabbit-gazelles, goat-elephants, duck-billed goats, finch-eagles cormorant-cetaceans and so on.

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* MixAndMatchCritters: The world 30 million years in the future is full of these: rat-leopards, rat-cheetahs, mouse-raptors, elephant-men, mole-men, rabbit-gazelles, goat-elephants, duck-billed goats, finch-eagles finch-eagles, cormorant-cetaceans and so on.
30th Sep '17 8:47:08 PM Theriocephalus
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** Another 3a happens to the intelligent dinosaurs from "The Hunters of Pangaea". It may have been hastened by the decision of the protagonist to kill the matriarch of the diplodocus herd that they depend upon, but at that point she was aware that they were doomed.

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** Another 3a happens to the intelligent dinosaurs from "The Hunters of Pangaea". It may have been hastened by the decision of the protagonist to kill the matriarch of the diplodocus ''Diplodocus'' herd that they depend upon, but at that point she was aware that they were doomed.
26th Sep '17 12:41:35 AM HTD
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* ADogNamedDog: Three of the first protagonists of the story are a ''Purgatorius'' named Purga, a ''Plesiadapis'' named Plesi and a ''Notharctus'' named Noth. Of course none of these characters actually call themselves by names; they are more like convenient labels used by the story to refer to them.

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* ADogNamedDog: Three of the first protagonists of the story are a ''Purgatorius'' named Purga, a ''Plesiadapis'' named Plesi and a ''Notharctus'' named Noth. Purga's nemesis in the first chapter is a ''Troodon'' named Wounding Tooth (which is what ''Troodon'' means in Greek). Of course none of these characters actually call themselves by names; they are more like convenient labels used by the story to refer to them.



* TheFairFolk: The pithecines, who took to living as scavengers in the forest fringe and occasionally hunted humans, their savannah-dwelling cousins, are depicted as the basis of reality of these myths.

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* TheFairFolk: The pithecines, who took to living as scavengers in the forest fringe and occasionally hunted humans, their savannah-dwelling cousins, are depicted as the basis of in reality of these myths.



* HumanitysWake: The Descendants section takes place in the future, about humanity's descendants after the end of civilisation.



* {{Irony}}: Purga survives long after menopause and lives to actually die of old age (which is normally extremely rare in the wild)... thanks to the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs and many others.
-->''And it was an irony that in former times she would surely already have succumbed to predation by now: It was the great emptying of the world that had preserved her life—a few extra months won at the expense of uncounted billions of creatures.''



* MixAndMatchCritters: The world 30 million years in the future is full of these: rat-leopards, rat-cheetahs, mouse-raptors, elephant-men, mole-men, rabbit-gazelles, goat-elephants, duck-billed goats, finch-eagles cormorant-cetaceans and so on.
-->''Thus there were rabbits morphed into gazelles, rats become cheetahs. Only subtleties were changed—a nervous twitchiness about the rabbits, a hard-running intensity about the rats that had replaced the cats’ languid grace.''



* PeopleFarms: The mouse-raptors 30 million years in the future domesticate, protect and farm a species of elephant-like descendants of humans for food.



* RodentsOfUnusualSize: 30 millions after the end of civilisation, the rodent survivors of the crash have diversified into rat-cheetahs, rat-leopards and rat-raptors that hunt rabbit-gazelles and duck-billed goats.

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* RodentsOfUnusualSize: 30 millions after the end of civilisation, the rodent survivors of the crash have diversified into rat-cheetahs, rat-leopards and rat-raptors mouse-raptors that hunt rabbit-gazelles and duck-billed goats.


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* SingleBiomePlanet: New Pangaea, a supercontinent which will reassemble 500 million years into the future.
-->''On this New Pangaea, there were no barriers, no lakes or mountain ranges. Nowadays it didn’t matter where you went, from pole to equator, from east to west. Everywhere was the same. And there was dust everywhere. Even the air was full of red dust, suspended there by the habitual sandstorms, making the sky a butterscotch-coloured dome. It was more like Mars than Earth.''
25th Sep '17 4:26:28 AM HTD
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* AntlionMonster: The rat-mouths of New Pangaea, descendants of rodents, live in underground holes and catch their food by waiting for an unlucky animal to fall into their maw.



* ArtisticLicenseAstronomy: While it's true the Sun gets more luminous with time and that increasing luminosity will mess so much with Earth's climate that will cause the eventual extinction of life and loss of oceans much before it goes into red-giant mode, the Sun that will shine 500 million years in the future, when the last chapter of the book takes place, will not be very different of the current one in size and luminosity and not the ferocious one Baxter describes, at least if stellar evolution models are right. See [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_evolution_%28English%29.svg]]
* ArtisticLicenseLinguistics: Implied with 'Cata Huuk', the in-story name of the Proto-Indo-European town located in present-day Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Possibly the idea is that Cata Huuk was the original name, but this is certainly incorrect. ''Çatalhöyük'' means ''Fork Mound'' in Turkish, a non-Indo-European language.



* ArtisticLicenseAstronomy: While it's true the Sun gets more luminous with time and that increasing luminosity will mess so much with Earth's climate that will cause the eventual extinction of life and loss of oceans much before it goes into red-giant mode, the Sun that will shine 500 million years in the future, when the last chapter of the book takes place, will not be very different of the current one in size and luminosity and not the ferocious one Baxter describes, at least if stellar evolution models are right. See [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Solar_evolution_%28English%29.svg]]


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* BeePeople: The mole-like posthumans have adopted eusociality, where the majority of the population are sterile females, to adapt to living in cramped underground burrows.


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* DoubleMeaning: The ruler of Cata Huuk is known as the Potus. While a passable cognate for ''potentate'', this can be a humorous play on the acronym POTUS for [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent President of the United States]].


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* TheFairFolk: The pithecines, who took to living as scavengers in the forest fringe and occasionally hunted humans, their savannah-dwelling cousins, are depicted as the basis of reality of these myths.
-->''When they had committed themselves to the savannah, Far’s kind had turned their backs on the forest—which had, as if in revenge, become a place not of sanctuary but of claustrophobic danger, populated by these pithecines which, like the sprites they resembled, would inhabit nightmares long into the future.''
* FeatheredFiend: The finches and starlings, having survived and thrived in the wake of humanity, have become ferocious killers to the mammals dwelling under the forest canopy.


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* OneGenderRace: The last of humanity's descendants 500 million years in the future are all functionally female, there are no males any more, and gender is meaningless.


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* ServantRace: At the end of civilisation, humanity was heading to this when the genriched elite inserted a whole extra chromosome full of desirable genes into their kids, which stops them from breeding with unenhanced ''Homo sapiens''. The rich have set themselves up as a separate species.


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* ToothyBird: Some of the marine cormorants, having taken the niches of the dolphins that went extinct alongside humanity, have regrown the teeth of their ancient reptilian ancestors.
24th Sep '17 8:57:11 AM HTD
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* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Baxter starts the novel 30 years into the future with civilisation at its apex, yet simultaneously threatened by the damage it has done to the ecosystem that supports it.



* AnachronicOrder: The second chapter is set eighty million years earlier than the first and third ones, during the Jurassic.

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* AnachronicOrder: The second chapter is set eighty million years earlier than Halfway throughout Purga's story in the first and third ones, during Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, the book takes a side-trip to the ''Ornitholestes'' Listener, an intelligent dinosaur living in the depths of the Jurassic.



* ADogNamedDog: Three of the first protagonists of the story are a ''Purgatorius'' named Purga, a ''Plesiadapis'' named Plesi and a ''Notharctus'' named Noth.

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* CosmicHorrorStory: Baxter's explanation of how human civilisation ends emphasises that we are prey to powerful forces that we cannot control. The undoing of humanity is not nuclear war, global warming or a deadly virus grown in a laboratory, but an enormous super-volcano that disrupts the planet's weather systems enough to cause civilisation to collapse. Humans are no different from the millions of species that have come into being, thrived, then vanished into oblivion. In the eyes of Earth, we are a minor flash in the pan. In the eyes of the cosmos, we are less than a speck of dust. Look at those who have fallen before us; why should we fare any better? Are we really any different?
* ADogNamedDog: Three of the first protagonists of the story are a ''Purgatorius'' named Purga, a ''Plesiadapis'' named Plesi and a ''Notharctus'' named Noth. Of course none of these characters actually call themselves by names; they are more like convenient labels used by the story to refer to them.


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* FuturePrimitive: Millions of years from now, humanity's distant descendants have shed their intelligence and reverted to a simpler way of life.


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* HumanSacrifice: An invention of Mother to remove political dissidents, under the guise of bringing rain. Fortunately only two sacrificial victims are required before the rains come; she was quite prepared to work her way through the entire tribe.


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* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: A Neanderthal known as the Old Man looks after Jahna and her brother when they are cut off from a hunting party in a snowstorm. Does his hospitality result in gratitude, reconciliation with the skinnies? No, his generosity is rewarded by the children's father only with a brutal death.


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* RodentsOfUnusualSize: 30 millions after the end of civilisation, the rodent survivors of the crash have diversified into rat-cheetahs, rat-leopards and rat-raptors that hunt rabbit-gazelles and duck-billed goats.


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* SlaveRace: 31000 years ago, humans co-exist with the last Neanderthals, but despise them, calling them 'boneheads', treat them no better than vermin and have reduced them to pack-animals to haul their sleds.
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