A sun of a different color? "Tribes of the Orange Sun," one of the most fascinating among recent sci-fi books, considers an earthlike planet orbiting a faraway star similar to, yet different from, our sun. The story examines space colonization as a solution to over population and environmental problems.
Planet Earth
Tribes of the Orange Sun

Tribes of the Orange Sun | Pale Yellow Sun | Sci-fi Books
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This page provides information on earth (numbers about planet
Earth and its dominant species), followed by commentary
by Gene Shiles, author of "Tribes of the Orange Sun." (A
description of this most intriguing among recent sci-fi books
is given later).

Planet Earth - Size

Earth is a slightly "flattened" sphere; its radius is about
3964 miles (at the equator, where it is widest). Water
covers roughly 71% of the surface. "Dry" land is therefore
about 57 million square miles in area.

Planet Earth - Population of the Dominant Species

Planet Earth - Among the most alarming of the information on earth is the recent growth of world human population - and the consequent over population and environmental problems.

For most of human history, up to around 10 thousand years
ago (generally accepted by science, although some place
the time a few thousand years earlier), Earth's human
population remained stabilized at around 8 to 10 million.
Since then it has grown, at varying rates, to reach its
present level of over 6,200 million (6.2 billion). This
growth started when people began to grow crops and
domesticate animals, which initiated the change from a
hunter/gatherer subsistence (natural food supply) to a
technology-driven food supply (agriculture). We note
that about 620 (or more) humans are alive today (most
supported by agricultural technology) for every one
human who was supported by the natural food supply
of early non-technological Earth.

Planet Earth - Currently food is plentiful in many places on planet Earth. Will over population and environmental problems cause scarcity? Will overpopulation problems include mass starvation?

The more recent "explosive" growth (doubled in the 40-year
period from 1960 to 2000, from about 3 billion to about
6 billion) is due to much more than just advances in
agricultural technology. Among other factors is the
decrease in the death rate due to advances in medicine
and sanitation.

Planet Earth - Density of the Dominant Species

Using the numbers above, we can calculate the average
density of humans (in, for example, people per square
mile) on Earth's land. With 6.2 billion on 57 million
square miles of land, the density is about 109 per square
mile. This number is somewhat deceiving, though, since
much of that land area is not "liveable" (too cold, too
dry, too wet, too mountainous, etc.)

For "primitive" Earth, let us use the number 10 million.
The density then (before agriculture, back when humans
lived off Earth's natural food supply) was about .18
people per square mile (or about one person per 5.7
square miles). Again we must mention that not all land
was liveable; not all land was suitable for hunting and

Commentary on Planet Earth

109 people per square mile may not look like an over
population. That could be, using for example 3 people per
average house, about 36 houses per square mile. Again,
not all land is "suitable"; let us add 50% to this, giving 54
houses per "suitable" square mile. With about 650 acres
to the square mile, this is about 12 acres per house.

As stated, this doesn't look like over population; but those
3 people per house must be fed. So much of that 12 acres
must be in intensive agriculture (if we are going to assume
that the whole "suitable" land area of Earth is populated in
this uniform way).

Modern cities are much more dense than 109 people per
square mile. But cities are never self-sufficient. Cities
require, for their very existence, that large areas
elsewhere be dedicated to agriculture. In modern "global"
society, agricultural land need not be adjacent to each
city; but that land must be somewhere "on Earth," and it
must be suited to agriculture.

Planet Earth's Growing Human Population

Is over population on Earth a serious problem? One might
look at some information on planet Earth; Just a few examples:
Thousands, mostly children, starve to death every day in
different places around the world. Forests everywhere are
"disappearing." The global unpolluted fresh water supply is
in danger. Illegal immigration is a big problem for the
United States.

Planet Earth - Trees are part of Earth's natural glory, but will environmental problems caused by human over population lead to their demise?

Science and technology, and, yes, politics, may "handle" these
and other such over population problems in the short term even
if human population continues to grow. But what kind of world
will our great-great-grandchildren inherit? Eventually over
population must be controlled, but the longer society waits
the more draconian must be the method and the greater must
be the price paid in terms of environmental problems and
human lifestyles.

Is space colonization an alternative?

A Recently Published Book

"Tribes of the Orange Sun," published in November, 2001,
looks at planet Earth two hundred years in the future. Population
has grown to 24 billion. Science and technology has kept
up with this over population (fed the people) and struggled
with the environmental problems - but human lifestyles
have changed dramatically. (Note that growth to 24 billion
in 200 years requires a slowing of the current growth rate
- to a doubling in 100 years instead of 40 years).

This most compelling of sci-fi books also assumes that
the same science and technology has developed the means
to send large numbers of people to other solar system(s).

The book considers much information on earth as it describes
the possibility of earthlike planets and how they might be
similar to, and different from, our planet Earth.

Is space colonization the way to solve the over population
problem once and for all?

*Click here on synopsis to read a short description of
the story "Tribes of the Orange Sun."

*Click here on exerpts to read a few paragraphs from
several chapters in "Tribes of the Orange Sun."

*Click here on Chapter 1 to read a full chapter from
"Tribes of the Orange Sun."

*Click here on new synopsis to read a short description of
the soon-to-be-published story "Pale Yellow Sun."

Click here to go to the "Tribes of the Orange Sun" home page.

Gene Shiles, author of the sci-fi books "Tribes of the Orange Sun" and soon to be published "Pale Yellow Sun."


Gene Shiles is a scientist and former
university professor. He has taught
in the fields of Physics, Mathematics,
Astronomy, Electronics and Statistics.
(PhD, University of California)
He lives in Minnesota, and has a cat
named Panther.

Planet Earth - One of the most compelling among recent sci-fi books, "Tribes of the Orange Sun" considers space colonization as a possible solution to Earth's over population and environmental problems.

Click here on planet earth or on "book"
at left to Browse (read pages to see if
you like it) and/or purchase "Tribes of
the Orange Sun" at publisher's online

Links to other online bookstores are given
at the bottom of this page.

To examine space colonization as a solution to planet Earth's over population and environmental problems, this most compelling of sci-fi books considers a faraway earthlike planet orbiting a sun of a different color.
       SYNOPSIS, "Tribes of the Orange Sun"

    Future scientists, struggling with over population and
    environmental problems, devise an ambitious plan to
    manage further population growth. Earth Government 
    hastily implements the new plan for space colonization; 
    the only alternative, forced control of the population,
    is not politically attractive.

    Adam Hampton, the newest member of the population
    project's organizing team, objects to an excessively
    optimistic use of old and some very new technologies.
    He suspects that the plan is fundamentally flawed,
    that the lives of the many young volunteers are at
    risk. But, in the beginning, he cannot point to anything
    specific. He can only watch and wait while three of his 
    best friends - and millions of others - begin what they 
    believe will be a great adventure and a new life.

    The eager volunteers reach their destination, a faraway 
    earthlike planet, but events don't go as planned. They 
    must soon fight for bare survival against an ancient 
    menace - a menace that had plagued growing populations,
    man and animal alike, since life on Earth first began.

Is this a story about a new planet? Or is it really about
our own home planet? Read "Tribes of the Orange Sun."

Planet Earth - The science fiction novel "Tribes of the Orange Sun" looks at space colonization as a tentative solution to Earth's over population and environmental problems.

Click here on planet earth or on "book"
at left to Browse (read pages to see if
you like it) and/or purchase "Tribes of
the Orange Sun" at publisher's online


To order by phone, call toll-free:  (877) 823-9235
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
ISBN # 0-595-20319-1

The book is also available at other online bookstores.
Some examples:

Click here on planet earth to go to the Barnes and Noble online bookstore.

Click here on planet earth to go to the Amazon.com online bookstore.

"Tribes of the Orange Sun" can also be ordered at
Barnes and Noble "brick-and-mortar" bookstores.

Click on planet earth to go back to the top of this page

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