About The Book

ALFIE: Earth's Last Hope

What if after years of extensive exploration of the Milky Way, we find out that the Earth is the only planet able to support life?

Author Ignacio Bunster-Ossa presents an epic sci-fi tale that explores a future where humanity is faced with having to save the only planet it can ever call home.

Housed in millions of pods in geosynchronous orbit, people have learned to enjoy a carefree and everlasting existence. Below, a legion of terranauts, tasked with saving the biodiversity of the planet, travail the continents and deliver to the orbital world spellbinding images of the Earth’s pristine flora and fauna.

Now, Homo-spaciens must guard Nature and over time populate other orbs with the gathered seeds. But all is not well. Resistors are plotting to recolonize the planet, mining exotic biota from deep in Amazonia to finance the operation. The sinful plan comes to life and innocent terranauts risk all to expose the perpetrators. If they fail, the planet’s pristine aura will once again be compromised. But the terranauts are not alone. An alien intelligence is following their every step and secretly intercedes to secure a just, if tragic, outcome. Humanity will never be the same.

In this epic story of good and evil, Author Ignacio Bunster-Ossa immerses the reader into bi-polar worlds: one for people, supported by hyper-advanced technology, and another strictly for wildlife, bio-regulated as Darwin posited in On the Origin of the Species. In ALFIE these worlds collide in the only way they can: over the elemental need to sustain life, drawing out vice and virtue in equal measures.

About The Author

Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa ​

Author Ignacio Bunster-Ossa

Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa is a Philadelphia-based award-winning landscape architect and urban designer. He is the author of “Reconsidering Ian McHarg: the Future re of Urban Ecology,” “Of Leaves, Limbs, and Hope: A Portrait of Philadelphia’s Urban Forest in Times of a Pandemic,” and “ALFIE: Earth’s Last Hope,” a work of science fiction that examines the role of artificial intelligence in advancing environmentalism. 

He periodically teaches and lectures on landscape architecture in leading universities, nationally and internationally. He serves on academic and non-governmental advisory boards, such as the Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology, and Nature Sacred, a non-profit organization devoted to the provision of nature-based public health.

From the Author

​ As a landscape architect trained in ecological planning and design, it is impossible not to ponder what our relationship to nature should be. Four scenarios come to mind.
1: We continue to exploit nature in pursuit of economic progress, endangered species and wildlife be damned.
2: We find a balanced coexistence with nature or, as Ian L. McHarg, a historic figure in the profession of landscape architecture professed in the late nineteen sixties, we "design with nature."
3: We create a New Nature through selective species' protection, animal in-breeding, plant hybridization and genetic alteration, and laboratory-induced life. In other words, we become God.
4: We come to regard nature as precious beyond calculation. Despoiled landscapes are restored, natural habitats are protected, and humanity instead seeks a life-of-plenty elsewhere.
All four scenarios are presently at work. Alarms have been ringing about the first scenario for years, as perhaps most chillingly documented by Elizabeth Kolbert in The Sixth Extinction. The second scenario—acknowledging the need to live with nature—has roots in the 1963 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The United States' Endangered Species Act, enacted into law in 1973, also comes to mind.
The third scenario is as old as the domestication of wolves to breed working dogs, or that of wild maize to make corn. Today, as an example, it takes the form of genetically modified organisms (GMO).
Rooted in the work of Gerard K. O’Neil and his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, the fourth scenario is afoot today via the entrepreneurial efforts of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and their space companies, Blue Origin and Space X, respectively. The goal: to transform homo-sapiens into “homo spaciens.”
ALFIE explores the fourth scenario, underpinned by a conservation ethic in extremis. It also explores the role of artificial intelligence in causing humanity’s leap to a space-faring species—hence the story’s recurring reference to the most famous superintelligence ever imagined.
I hope ALFIE does more than invite curiosity into a brand-new world: that it causes reflection about our “nest” and, in the context of the known universe, draws a greater measure of how precious it is. If it generates discussions about the necessary (if not impending) demise of anthropocentrism, all the better.
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