Over the last decade, terraforming and geoengineering have become increasingly visible in the multiple discourses of popular culture, in news media, in policy discussions on climate change, and in discussions of resource extraction and energy systems. There has been a significant year-on-year increase since 2006, from approximately 40 articles to 150 in 2008, up to 540 in 2013, as collected by the LexisNexis database.  In the IPCC’s 2014 report, "Mitigation of Climate Change," geoengineering—specifically carbon management and sequestration and solar radiation management—is explored as a possible emergency solution to catastrophic climate change.  George Monbiot suggests in Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life that stepping back and allowing whale populations to recover might result in a trophic cascade with consequences that "could be seen as a benign form of geo-engineering."  Naomi Klein opens This Changes Everything with an epigraph taken from an article by Kim Stanley Robinson  and claims later in her book that "science fiction is rife with fantasies of terraforming—humans traveling to lifeless planets and engineering them into earthlike habitats. The Canadian tar sands are the opposite: terra-deforming." 
Terraforming and geoengineering have also appeared with increasing frequency in film: James Cameron’s Avatar (2009)  explores resource extraction on the alien moon Pandora—an instance of terraforming that Patrick D. Murphy describes as "terragouging," whereby "whatever necessary would be done to facilitate extraction of raw materials for earthly consumption."  In Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013), Earth is threatened with an inverted instance of terraforming in which aliens from Superman’s homeworld attempt to transform Earth to suit their desires, at the expense of all life on the planet.  Ridley Scott’s The Martian (2015) is a classic SF story of ingenuity and resilience in which the astronaut Mark Watney, marooned on Mars, creates a closed self-sustaining system for a brief while in his attempt to survive until a rescue mission can be mobilised to return him to Earth. 
These contemporary narratives draw from a rich body of SF dealing with terraforming and geoengineering. Indeed, “terraforming” was coined by SF writer Jack Williamson in his 1942 short story, “Collision Orbit,”  and its meaning has since solidified to refer to the transformation of planetary landscapes to render them habitable for humans. Michael Dumiak, writing for the popular science magazine Cosmos, explains that "[t]erraforming Mars is basically a radical application of human-induced climate change."  Climate change—the transformation of Earth’s planetary landscape—is an instance of geoengineering, or terraforming on Earth. Martyn J. Fogg argues that it is preferable to distinguish between geoengineering, terraforming, and the manipulation of solar systems, or astrophysical engineering.  Another concept that chimes with Monbiot’s notion that the impact of ecological systems on global environments can be considered a form of geoengineering is Robert H. Haynes’ notion of “ecopoiesis,” "[t]he creation of a self-sustaining ecosystem, or biosphere, on a lifeless planet […] a new word which means 'the making of an abode for life.'" 
Stories of terraforming and geoengineering are especially resonant in the contemporary context of climate change as narratives that have the capacity to engage with key themes, issues, and concerns regarding the transformation of the global environment. Terraforming and geoengineering narratives are stories of the “Anthropocene,” a term coined by Paul J. Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer to refer to a geologic period—which they date to the industrial revolution—whereby the global effects of humankind’s transformation of the environment become noticeable.  The terraforming tradition records the development of environmental concerns throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, offering a body of thought about ecological themes that can be brought to bear against thought about climate change. Over the course of the terraforming tradition, the form has been used to scrutinise, comment, and reflect on the transformation of planets and how this might necessitate new forms of relating to the shifting concept of nature. It also invites reflection upon new forms of being human and new societal permutations in a parallel effort to think about the idea of nature, how humankind relates to nature, and how we might live in the world and make of it a home.
SF narratives of terraforming and geoengineering offer a resource for thinking about drastic re-organisations to society. The tradition is far less enthusiastic about the potential for terraforming and geoengineering to avert or mitigate destruction on Earth and far less sanguine about the ability of organisations and governments to manage such large-scale endeavours in ways that would expand freedom and move towards an equitable distribution of resources, even if the tradition does not dismiss the possibility that some terraforming and geoengineering approaches might offer ideal technological fixes to climate change. What makes these narratives important is that they contextualise the implications of terraforming and geoengineering by situating these endeavours in the context of environmental, evolutionary, and cultural history, and they afford reflection and discussion about a host of issues relating to climate change.
Scientific Romances and Early Pulp SF
Although the first stories that deal with terraforming or geoengineering appear in the early twentieth century, stories of weather control have explored cognate territory. James Rodger Fleming, in Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control, explores the history of cloud seeding and fog generation and explicitly connects these efforts to contemporary research and experiments in geoengineering as a form of climate change intervention, reversal, or mitigation. For Fleming, the history of weather and climate control serves as a warning against blithely trusting in geoengineering as an appropriate technological fix for climate change. Instead, the lessons that cloud seeding teaches us are that a "trinity of understanding, prediction, and control undergirds the dominant fantasies of both science and science fiction," and that the story of such scientific endeavour outlines "a tragicomedy of overreaching, hubris, and self-delusion."  Fleming opens his history by exploring stories of weather and climate control, including SF dealing with terraforming and geoengineering by Jules Verne, Jack Williamson, Hal Clement, Arthur C. Clarke, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Crichton, and Kim Stanley Robinson. Although this article does not expand on weather control per se, it is important to note that stories of terraforming and geoengineering are informed by the widespread and longstanding interest in the theme in the scientific romances and pulp SF of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The earliest stories of geoengineering and terraforming include H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds (1898), which features an early instance of inverted ecopoiesis, whereby the invading Martians aggressively transform Earth’s ecology into one resembling that of Mars—a case of areoforming.  That Wells drew a comparison between the invading Martians and the genocide of the Tasmanians in the early nineteenth century, along with the extinction of species such as the dodo and bison, makes explicit the critique of cultural and environmental destruction that Wells was engaging. Alfred W. Crosby, in Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900, describes his concept of "portmanteau biota," a collection of organisms—plants, animals, and bacteria—that makes possible the colonisation of other lands.  Crosby investigates the case of New Zealand and the imports that British settlers brought to the island, which instigated a demographic shift in the colonists’ favour, thus enabling a measure of control over indigenous peoples and ecologies.
Han Ryner’s “A Biography of Victor Venturon” was first published in French in 1909. This story ironically describes how, in the "year 14,500 of the Social Era," Earth had entered a new Ice Age. The renowned Victor Venturon details the causes of this climate change in his book, The New Prometheus, and proposes to move Earth nearer to the sun by flattening the planet through a global project involving "[i]mmense earthworks." His proposals are rejected and he is mocked, but the Earth is struck by a comet which produces the desired effect, albeit at the cost of the lives of half the human population and the destruction of many cities. The collision, however, comes late and the Earth is brought too close to the Sun. Venturon is given the task of arresting the Earth’s approach, which he does with "great heliofluidic cannons."  His achievement in the wake of the doubt that was cast upon him is taken as a lesson:
It teaches us the three anthropological virtues, which are: first, faith in the practical results of science; secondly, hope for the immortality of life in general, and the admirable resistance of our species in particular; and thirdly, love for humanity. 
These anthropological virtues speak to the priorities of the Baconian scheme: "[t]he end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible."  Venturon’s biographer calls for a faith in science that Fleming sees as dangerous because of the risk involved in the global-scale adaptation of Earth, itself exacerbated by the lack of understanding of the planet’s processes and the long history of failure when it comes to weather and climate modification.
Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men drew from J. B. S. Haldane’s speculation about the terraformation of Venus in his 1927 essay, “The Last Judgement,”  and inspired Wells’s future history The Shape of Things to Come (1933).  Stapledon’s ironic reworking of Haldane’s speculation sees the colonising species of human engaging in the genocide of the indigenous Venusians. Both Wells and Stapledon greatly influenced the development of SF motifs that were taken up in the post-World War II era and beyond. Other scientific romances and early pulp SF dealing with terraforming and geoengineering themes include Octave Béliard’s “La Journée d'un Parisien au XXIe Siècle” (1910),  Stapledon’s Star Maker (1937),  Edsel Newton’s “The Flaming Cloud” (1931) and “The Hour the Conqueror Came” (1931),  I. R. Nathanson’s “The Antarctic Transformation” (1931),  Laurence Manning’s The Man Who Awoke (1933) and “The Living Galaxy” (1934),  and John Russell Fearn’s “Earth’s Mausoleum” (1935). 
Terraforming in 1950s SF
Although Williamson coined “terraforming” and wrote stories that touched upon the theme throughout the 1940s, collected in Seetee Shock (1949) and Seetee Ship (1950),  the term already had a capacious sense by the time it was reworked within the sf pulps. Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore’s Fury (1950) dealt with a civilisation that had retreated to the relative safety of their undersea cities after Venus’s dangerous life-forms had repelled them from the surface.  The ruthless Sam Reed reignites the colonists’ desire to conquer Venus’s landmass and embarks on a project to transform the planet according to his vision. Jack Vance’s wry short story, “I’ll Build Your Dream Castle” (1947), deals with the terraformation of asteroids that have been brought into Earth’s orbit and explores themes of corporate social responsibility and justice.  Some of the stories that make up Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (1950) deal with the failed colonisation and terraforming of Mars, offering cautionary tales about the hubris that is imagined as humankind’s inheritance projected into space. 
Robert A. Heinlein’s Farmer in the Sky (1950) is the first novel to feature terraforming as its central theme.  Heinlein’s novel projects homesteading and the colonisation of America onto space while simultaneously warning against drawing neat parallels between the colonisation of the two locales. Unlike Kuttner and Moore and Bradbury’s treatment of Venus and Mars as phantasmagoric spaces, Heinlein portrays Ganymede and its colonisation in terms that invoke population bionomics, ecological relationships, and the material limits of living and transforming another planet. Heinlein establishes a tradition of terraforming narratives to which other writers would contribute—Gregory Benford, for example, pays homage to Farmer in the Sky with his own novel, Jupiter Project (1972),  and Heinlein himself would later expand on the same themes in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966). 
Other works of the 1950s continue this tradition: Arthur C. Clarke’s The Sands of Mars (1951),  Isaac Asimov’s “The Martian Way” (1952),  Walter M. Miller’s “Cruxifixus Etiam” (1953),  and Poul Anderson’s “The Big Rain” (1954), The Snows of Ganymede (1955), and “To Build a World” (1964)  are all concerned with exploring the problems involved in developing a new culture that is cognisant of the realities of living in a radically different environment with stringent material limits. The societies that develop on other planets negotiate between utopian and dystopian orientations—Anderson’s portrayal of repressive societies in his stories draws from the Cold War paranoia that became increasingly prevalent in pulp SF throughout the 1950s. Critiques of imperialism in the tradition of Stapledon’s Last and First Men are also present, with Anderson alluding to the genocide of cetacean-like Venusians in his short story “Sister Planet” (1959),  while Clarke would present in “Before Eden” (1961) an instance of the careless genocide of Venusian life-forms via an unintentional act of ecopoiesis: the toxins, bacteria, and viruses present in the thoughtlessly discarded litter left by the first expedition eradicate the aliens that they had just discovered. 
Terraforming in Countercultural 1960s SF
Perhaps the most well-known of terraforming narratives, Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965) ushers in a new tradition that departs from the conventions established by the SF pulps and novels of the 1950s.  Its influence on contemporary real-world thought about geoengineering is highlighted by the SPICE Project’s (2010–2014) allusion to the novel: this collaborative project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), investigated the feasibility of solar radiation management via the injection of radiation-reflective particles into the stratosphere.  Ecology is central to Herbert’s novel, functioning as an organising principle for the novel’s themes and plot that helps to structure its representation of cultures, economics, and politics. In Dune, the conflict between the dream of bringing physical and spiritual vitality and material abundance—symbolised by the spreading growth of plant life on the desert planet—is balanced by the destruction of an older form of spiritual cohesion and reciprocity with the planet—symbolised by the threatened disappearance of the deep desert, the sandworms, and the superlatively valued spice melange, and the rise to power of the city that becomes the centre of the interplanetary empire in Dune’s sequels, Dune Messiah (1969) and Children of Dune (1976).  Dune brings together themes of social engineering, migration, and the terragouging of planets and makes explicit the relationships between different domains, whether technical, linguistic, sociocultural, or political. Different approaches to terraforming in the novel are encapsulated in ecological images that stage a struggle between visions of the future.
Terraforming narratives of the 1960s and 1970s follow Dune’s lead in incorporating ecology into their structure, and they reflect more often on the controversial foundations from which new societies on other planets are built. Along with Anderson’s “Sister Planet” and Clarke’s “Before Eden,” such stories include Cordwainer Smith’s “When the People Fell” (1959),  John Brunner’s Bedlam Planet (1968) and The Dramaturges of Yan (1972),  James White’s “Major Operation” (1971),  and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Word for World Is Forest (1972) and The Dispossessed (1974).  Roger Zelazny’s “The Keys to December” (1966) exemplifies the ethical critique of terraforming that began to emerge with greater insistence during this period. 
“The Keys to December” is the story of Jarry Dark, a human modified by General Mining to facilitate the terragouging of the ice planet Alyonal, which is destroyed in an unanticipated nova. Valuable wards of General Mining, Dark and his companion Sanza are dispatched to terraform Alyonal II over a period of thousands of years. They use a stasis machine to sleep away the centuries, waking intermittently to observe the changes to Alyonal II and the evolutionary adaptations that indigenous life-forms undergo to cope with the radical climate change Dark and Sanza initiate. One of the indigenous life-forms displays the hallmarks of intelligence and culture; Dark teaches them how to talk and attempts to convince General Mining to desist in terraforming the planet. Sanza is the first to remark that "'[w]e may be doing a terrible thing […] [c]reating men, then destroying them. Once, when I was feeling low, you told me that we were the gods of this world, that ours was the power to shape and to break.'" Terraforming is a trope of creation: of worlds, societies, and cultures. Terraforming narratives often undermine the notion of a divine humanity empowered through advanced technology to exercise complete control over their environment. After Sanza’s sacrifice to save Dark from mauling by a creature of Alyonal II—one that their terraforming efforts had created—Dark begins to defend the indigenous life against General Mining’s terraforming project, initially by appealing to their sense of conscience, then through acts of sabotage. Dark’s motive for subverting the project foregrounds how intelligent life is responsible for a different act of creation: the sentient life of Alyonal II invest him with religious significance, leading Dark to accept the responsibility this deification entails. By ensuring the continued survival of Alyonal II’s indigenous life, he exiles himself from the promise which he shared with Sanza: the anticipation inherent in the fact that, from their perspective, "[t]hey knew they would turn [Alyonal II] to heaven" at the cost of the lives of others. 
The Ecological Turn in Terraforming and Geoengineering Narratives
Terraforming narratives began to adapt yet again to the scientific insights afforded by such events as the 1969 Moon landing and the Mariner and Viking missions. One tradition that expanded throughout the 1970s and 1980s was that of the bodily modification of colonists to enable the habitation of other planets, otherwise known as “pantropy”—a term coined by James Blish in his 1942 story “Surface Tension.”  The theme had appeared in Stapledon’s Last and First Men and Star Maker, Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, Miller’s “Cruxifixus Etiam,” and Zelazny’s “The Keys to December.” Terraforming and pantropy are often presented as two alternatives to the colonisation of space. In many works of terraforming it often functions as a complementary technology: the microcosm of the modification of bodies is supplemented by the macrocosm of the modification of planetary bodies.
Frederick Pohl’s Man Plus (1976) uses the trope of a cyborged protagonist to make credible the demands of planetary adaptation in the context of the new scientific knowledge of the planet.  John Varley’s collection of stories, Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe and Other Stories (2013),  and Bruce Sterling’s Shaper / Mechanist universe extend this trend. Focussing on organic adaptations as opposed to cybernetic, David Gerrold’s Moonstar Odyssey (1977),  Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean (1986),  and Octavia Butler’s Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1987), and Imago (1989, collected as Lilith’s Brood)  offer grotesque biological images of pantropy that explore alternative modes of adaptation which promise to embed societies firmly into pre-existing and new ecological networks.
It is at this time that the terraforming narrative begins a re-consolidation that incorporates the developments of the 1960s-1970s ecological turn. Michael Allaby and James Lovelock’s The Greening of Mars (1984) firmly associates terraforming with Lovelock’s own Gaia hypothesis, a scientific notion which he began to disseminate to the public in the 1970s.  The Gaia hypothesis postulates that Earth is an integrated feedback system in which life plays a crucial role in regulating the planet’s processes. This idea resonates with living world stories published throughout the early twentieth century, a theme that often dovetailed with terraforming.
The Greening of Mars is a utopian novel written in the tradition of Heinlein’s Farmer in the Sky. It promotes a “greening” that opts for ecopoietic models of planetary adaptation as opposed to industrial methods. Frederick Turner, a poet who participated in the 1991 terraforming workshop at NASA’s Ames Research Centre, cites Lovelock’s influence in his 1988 epic poem of terraforming, Genesis.  He has written a novel of terraforming, A Double Shadow (1978), an epic poem about a future America of independent county-states, The New World (1985), and an epic poem of climate change and geoengineering entitled Apocalypse (2016).  Turner has been influential in shaping the image of terraforming in the twenty-first century through his dialogue with scientists and other SF writers such as Kim Stanley Robinson, although Robinson had not read Genesis by the time he completed Green Mars (1993).  Other works of terraforming in this tradition include Pamela Sargent’s Venus of Dreams (1986), Venus of Shadows (1988), and Child of Venus (2001). 
Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars (1992), Green Mars (1993), and Blue Mars (1996) are widely considered to be the most accomplished terraforming narratives of the twentieth century.  The Mars trilogy fully embraces the inheritance of environmental thought that the terraforming tradition nurtured over the course of its history. Other works such as The Martians (1999) and 2312 (2012) extend his thinking about terraforming, while The Wild Shore (1984), The Gold Coast (1988), Pacific Edge (1990), Antarctica (1997), Forty Signs of Rain (2004), Fifty Degrees Below (2005), and Sixty Days and Counting (2007)—the final three adapted as Green Earth (2015)—make connections between ecological thought about terraforming and that of climate change and geoengineering. Robinson’s work has inspired others to engage in dialogue about the ethics of terraforming and the responsibilities that are demanded by the full implications of ecological relationships. Brian Aldiss and Roger Penrose’s White Mars (1999) is perhaps the most direct engagement with Robinson’s trilogy.  White Mars outlines a strong non-interventionist orientation that argues against terraforming, and as such it recalls the political faction known as the Reds in Robinson’s own Mars trilogy and their desire to leave Mars as unspoilt as possible.
Terraforming and Geoengineering in the Twenty-First Century
There have been an increasing number of terraforming and geoengineering narratives published after the success of Robinson’s Mars trilogy. Gardner Dozois’ Worldmakers: SF Adventures in Terraforming collects twenty short stories published throughout the twentieth century, thus making salient a tradition that has only recently gained widespread public attention in the context of geoengineering and climate change.  Norman Spinrad’s Greenhouse Summer (1999) explores the corporatisation of geoengineering processes and the Machiavellian politics that arise as nations attempt to ameliorate the effects of climate change in ways that cause undesirable consequences for others.  Linda Nagata’s “Goddesses” (2000) explores geoengineering as a form of mitigation in the light of the increasing toxicity of the environment and climate change.  While many discussions of mitigation suggest that geoengineering offers an appropriate technological fix, Nagata’s story highlights how geoengineering can function as an alibi for avoiding much-needed economic and societal restructurings that would have far-reaching implications for mitigation. Karl Schroeder’s Ventus (2000) explores the connection between cybernetics, ecology, and philosophical thought about the environment and the human projection of anthropocentric values onto nature.  Liz Williams’s Ghost Sister (2001) similarly interrogates the anthropocentric basis that encourages schemes for terraforming. 
Jack Williamson returns to the theme with his collection of novellas, Terraforming Earth (2001),  which emphasise the plasticity of biology, ecology, and geology in the context of sweeping spans of time, again recalling the expansive future histories of Stapledon. Similarly, Robert Reed’s powerful story, “A History of Terraforming” (2010), looks backward over the terraforming tradition and records—through the life story of one who eventually attains the highest position of authority and respect as a terraformer—the movement from industrial to ecological approaches to terraforming, and the concomitant responsibilities that this places upon those wishing to adapt environments for their own purposes.  Ian McDonald has returned to the terraforming theme that he touched upon in Desolation Road (1988) and other works with his diptych concerning the power struggles of corporate families in Luna: New Moon (2015) and the forthcoming Luna: Wolf Moon (expected 2016).  McDonald, too, speaks back to the terraforming tradition by alluding to Herbert’s Dune and Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress while challenging their assumptions regarding the necessities that societies are called upon to accept in order to adapt to unforgiving environments.
While scientific speculation about terraforming and feasibility studies into geoengineering often ignore the implications of adapting other planets, research projects such as the SPICE project have partnered with social scientists to investigate the social and ethical dimensions of geoengineering.  Terraforming and geoengineering stories, however, have long explored the ramifications of technical transformations to the environment, and they are able to stage scenarios with the scope to imagine an array of social, technical, economic, and political modifications to society. This range enacts at the macro-level of the SF tradition what Stapledon achieved at the micro-level of the text. Taken as a whole, texts in the terraforming tradition speak to each other. They challenge the assumptions and consequences of the organisational structure of societies and the ways they relate to nature, and they attempt to reimagine the assumptions of earlier stories in accordance with different conceptions of society and nature. In doing so they offer critiques that encourage thought about alternatives that would promote modes of engagement with nature that move beyond sustainability to explore the bases of humankind’s relationship with the external world and with beings within that world.
Terraforming narratives incorporate reflections on sustainability and, further, lead us to reflect on the meaning of nature, culture, and the environment in ways that prompt us to begin the first steps to reconceptualising our relationship to a nature that has interlocking global and local implications and effects. The terraforming tradition scrutinises the social implications of adaptation in ways that could inform how we conceptualise contemporary, real-world attempts at geoengineering, allowing us to factor in issues of disregard for local communities that are important to consider in the contemporary context of climate change. Terraforming and geoengineering stories can be seen as establishing scenarios for thinking about the impact of widespread change, whether that change is societal, cultural, technological, or a confluence of all three. They are therefore important reservoirs of knowledge—archives that could help inform individual and policy orientations and action. Given the recognition of considerable popular resistance to terraforming, joined to calls for social research and engagement on the part of those exploring options for geoengineering, such an archive represents an important body of philosophical thought about the practicalities and ethics of relating to and adapting to planetary environments.
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