Lavinia Greenlaw at the LRB:
In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, David Farrier reaches into the past in order to envisage the deep future. This can only ever be an extrapolation of the present – our knowledge, experience, language and ideas – but Farrier is relaxed about this. His focus is on the way life has been recorded in the substance of the world, the ways we can trace human impact and the ways we, in turn, might be traced in time to come. He wrote this book before the pandemic struck, when past, present and future were relatively sturdy propositions. Now, the past has been uncoupled from a present that refuses to form. It’s not so pleasing to think of a mountain as a ripple in geological time when we feel like a ripple ourselves.
In looking to the deep future, Farrier considers ‘how we will appear to the people who may live in that world’. I wonder if the concept of fossils will mean anything to them.