Being obsessed with Post-Apocalyptic Society, I gravitate towards stories of "what-ifs?" and the dangers of the collapse of the known world, and all of its repercussions. Call me a nihilist, but in my heart of hearts, I believe we're going out one of five ways:
1) Mass Pandemic. An unknown, highly contagious and lethal disease ( a la Captain Trips in "The Stand"). When I first read it, the idea seemed pretty far fetched. Didn't we conquer Smallpox? The Black Plague? But since then, we've had both the Avian and Swine Flu reduce the public to a frightened mass of germaphobes.
2) Nuclear War. Trigger happy politicians with too much power and not a fraction of the sense to use it. Sure, I'd like to believe that as a highly evolved and global society, we have the common sense not to set off a nuclear warhead. But I'd also like to believe that people are generally good, and we all know that's a load of horseshit. Good ol' Dubya and his "Weapons of Mass Destruction" put that bone chilling fear in all of us that The End was imminent unless the U.S. of A. did something about it. Israel. Russia. North Korea. Al Quaida. Since Hiroshima, we've had a hair trigger cocked and ready to fire.
3) Robot Overlords. Yeah, I'm talking Terminator. And before you laugh and dismiss the idea as science fiction, consider the strides that have been made in technology in the last decade alone. Flat screen Plasma and High Definition television - coming soon to 3D for home theater systems, iPhones and Terabyte hard drives, increasingly intuitive processors - each new and improved feat of technology rendering its predecessor obsolete. AI is not only possible, but probable.
4) The Zombie Apocalypse. OK, perhaps not the George Romero decayed corpse version, but a hybrid of #s 1 & 2 - More akin to 28 Days Later, or Resident Evil. Mankind tinkering too much in genetics and biochemical warfare - a realm we don't fully understand, but fuck-all to the consequences - we're happier than a pig in shit that we've managed to clone a living, breathing, warm blooded animal. Ain't we special?
5) Epic Galactic Destruction. You know. Meteor the size of Pluto plummeting right for us, shift in the Earth's axis, the end of the Mayan Calender, and let's not forget Alien Invasion. No "We Come In Peace" - no we're here to rape and pillage, and drain all of the planet's resources. Or, we're going to vaporize the whole damned thing. (Make sure you have your towel, boys and girls.)
I know you're all bursting with optimism after that rant, and perhaps I'm a *little* out of my mind to suggest such a lurid fate for humanity - after all, this is Real Life, not some big budget summer blockbuster with all the bells and whistles, and a disproportionately handsome guy or gal to save the day. But in my opinion, its not all bad... and at least in those circumstances, there's a Big Bad to blame.
What I find captivating about "Under The Dome" is the subtlety. This book is a behemoth, weighing in at close to 5lbs and over 1,000 pages in hardcover. And yet, after only two days, I'm well past the halfway mark. The story is enthralling, the characters fully fleshed out, and the writing engaging and satisfying. I've no delusions that Mr. King will win a Pulitzer Prize for this, his most recent work, but I appreciate the dexterity in his story telling, woven with a study of morality and small town mentality that would make even Mr. George Orwell proud.
Entertained, I hardly noticed how rapidly those old rusty gears in brain were gaining momentum, and I've found myself frequently pondering our society, our politics, our declining grace and morality. The futuristic farce of Huxley's "Brave New World" isn't quite so funny anymore. Are we that far at all from the numb, medicated and over sexed masses? Is Orwell's Big Brother watching? Squelching the truth and freedom with the Thought Police?
We're so hardwired to the media, so ready to soak up any outrage or scandal, we perpetuate it. Reduced to the common denominator, no more than drones waiting to receive the next instruction on who or what to be. Don't believe me? Riddle me this: Why is a total douchebag like Glenn Beck so popular? Why, in times of peril, do we latch onto some half-cocked egomaniac? Does "Adolf" ring a bell?
Rhetorical questions, I know, I know. ::mentally chastises herself:: But the real question that scares me, the one that defines all of us - What are we, human beings, capable of?
Of course, I hope to never find out. But a big part of me knows that someday I will.
And just in case, I'll be ready. (Having a bit of a Sarah Connor complex, I foresee my son growing into a free-thinking, fair minded leader. A little self-defense couldn't hurt either...) I don't plan on building a fallout shelter anytime soon, and damned if I know if there's a generator attached to the house. But no worries, dear readers! When it comes to the End of Days, I think I've got survival-ism in the bag.
I got my Boomstick right here, baby.
***NOTE: Sorry for missing "SuperNerd Saturday" - I hardly realized it was Saturday at all! Well, technically speaking, I suppose its Sunday... anywho, will suss it all out tomorrow, after several cups of coffee. Cheers!***
Listening to: Muse - Apocalypse Please