The first question most people ask me when they see the title of the first novel in my new science fiction series is: What does Nemecene mean, Karen? Well actually, many times the question they pose even before that one is: Karen, how do you pronounce the title? So let me explain what the origin of the word is first and then its pronunciation will just flow as naturally off your tongue as water to the ocean.
A clue is evident in the subtitle The Epoch of Redress. According to Merriam-Webster, in geological terms an epoch is a division of time less than a period and greater than an age. It is a particular span of history, especially one considered remarkable or noteworthy, as marked by an event, by a distinctive development, or a memorable series of events. For example, we currently live in the Holocene epoch which began approximately 12,000 years ago and includes the growth and impact of us humans on the earth’s ecosystem. It is marked by the end of the last glacial period and is therefore considered an interglacial time span in the current ice age.
Climate has been relatively stable over the Holocene epoch, but all that changes in the futuristic world that the Nemecene characters belong to. The recent atmospheric evidence of sustained human impact on the ecosystem and evolutionary significance on living species has warranted a proposal to the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London to adopt the name Anthropocene to reflect the influence of human activity over the past few centuries. Nemecene: The Epoch of Redress offers a science fiction perspective on our struggling ecosystem and a warning for geoengineering supporters to heed.
In 2048, an event changes the course of our planet forever and ushers in a period of extreme change in Earth’s climate (If you are curious as to what that event is, you’ll just have to follow the Nemecene series to find out. As the author, or course, my evil plan is to leave you in suspense). Our blue planet’s nemesis, the human race, leaves behind the old epoch and enters a new “cene”, where Earth decides to right the wrongs inflicted against her over the course of the Antropocene timeframe.
Science causes accelerated global warming, death to our oceans, and extreme sea level rise. Earth enters an epoch of redress that I have appropriately named Nemecene and have brought it to life in a science fiction series to bring awareness to our water crisis and our futile attempts at controlling that which we cannot possibly understand through ineffective and fundamentally dangerous geoengineering practises.
Nemecene is thus pronounced as nemesis, with the “sis” replaced by a suffix “cene” pronounced as “scene”.
But all is not doom and gloom, so don’t despair. Humanity adapts, albeit in smaller numbers, and the characters still manage to have fun, be silly at times, and lead fulfilling lives. I feel that bringing some entertainment to a serious environmental issue helps soften the heart a little in our desensitized world of televised calamities and violence, and allows the characters to reach through our hardened exterior so that we can openly reflect on the likely future for our children’s planet.
In closing, my hope as a science fiction author is that Nemecene: The Epoch of Redress will be the first novel in this compelling series which will bring a sense or urgency to our environmental efforts and that Nemecene the word will be the catalyst for change.