The apocalyptic reality of Dan Brown´s Inferno

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Dan Brown´s works do not leave indifferent anybody. The enigmatic ambiguity with witch reality and fiction combine in his stories, are source of both admiration and criticism of the author´s career.


His last novel is Inferno. Should you have the intention of reading it, you can comfortably continue with this post: I won´t reveal any important content.

Inferno is about “the beauty of Italian art, history and literature…, while raises (to the reader) provocative questions about the role of science in our future” [1], specifically the role of natural resources consumption, climate change and global demography and economy.

To address the novel´s story line, Dan Brown uses some data explaining the rest of the events. These are some data supposedly published by the World Health Organization regarding the trend of several environmental aspects in the latest centuries. This is the graph:

Source: Anthropocenejournal

¿Reality or fiction?

Notice that the Inferno´s graph is non-dimensional, none indicator has units, it is just a graphic representation. So, it is logical to ask oneself if Dan Brown went again to an indetermination to play with the reality and fiction.

So, let´s compare some indicators with reliable and accepted official and real sources, which bring these graphic representations:

  • Mean global temperature in years and decades [2]:


  • CO2 Concentration [3]:


  • World population, data and tendencies [4]:


  • Motor vehicles [5]:


  • Water use [6]:


  • World GDP [7]:


As you see, I have not unveiled nothing but proved and public known facts, nor Dan Brown recurs to any enigmatic ambiguity: Inferno is based -at least in this aspect of the story- in real events: the apocalyptic reality of Dan Brown´s Inferno.

I hope the rest of the book´s story were the fiction part that Dan Brown inserts in its works…

Just one book´s quote [1]:

”The darkest places in hell are reserved to those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis”

Dante Alighieri

[1] BROWN Dan.2013. Inferno, first edition. Planeta. Back cover.
[2] IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
[3] THE KEELING CURVE. 2014. 1700-present. Consulted 17 jun 2014.
[4] UNITED NATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS. 2012. Population division, population prospects and projections section. Consulted 17 jun 2014.
[5] UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. World Motor Vehicle Registration Trends: 1960-95. Consulted 17 jun 2014.
[6] UNITED NATIONS. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2014, Water and Energy volume 1. Consulted 17 jun 2014.
[7] WIKIPEDIA. 2012. P World economy. Consulted 17 jun 2014.

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