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The Holocene Conference on Alternative Geological Viewpoints is, like any gathering of heretics, contentious.

The Eparchaean Unconformists start a full-scale brawl with the Cascadia Subductics; folding chairs are weaponized. Two Geosynclines from Adelaide try to demonstrate banded oxidation by setting the auditorium on fire. A Young Earther sneaks in with a stolen badge and has to be rescued from drowning in the toilet. And everyone, everyone has something you have to hear about oil.

“How long until the next one?” asks Nevit, exhausted, when the last afterparty has been shut down.

“Only ten million years,” says Finke, already making lists.