Tag Archives: apocalypse

The pre-apocalypse

My writing group noted that my new story, though a different setting, is also a post-apolcyalypse tale, or at least post-disaster. One colleague included my novel in that theme, even though in my novel things are good, but about to get worse. It’s pre-apocalyptic, she said.
Something in that. My faith is that humanity will persist, but a lot of bad things are going to happen. By the standards of the past they already have. Like my mentor Philip K Dick, I’m less pinpointing details of the great shift, just exploring scenes after upheaval, where people have adapted to far different norms of environment and behavior. I no doubt absorbed this from my family history, for my parents fled war and Soviet occupation, and my own late 20th century life, where we took on huge social changes, and where the rest of the world changed vastly more. I greatly admire writers like Jim Shepard and Harlan Ellison, who change up place and time each story yet keep consistent in their approach and style.
Perhaps I’ll be more sensitive to this strain of pre-apocalyptic. I hope it will give me a way to glide across genre. I would enjoy writing historical.  Continue reading

Surly fearful white people in the Age of Global Browning, part 1

Twenty years ago my friend W___, a Westerner and a conservative, talked to me about the growing resentments of his fellow Western conservatives. He foresaw them going off the deep-end and putting their considerable armories to work to change the course of our nation’s politics and culture. This was in the early years of President Clinton’s administration, and the very fact of him was provocative enough to these people, not to mention the recent attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. “They’re angry,” W___ told me. “They’re going to explode.”
Sure, why not. Twenty years ago, despite our recent victory-without-nuclear-winter in the long Cold War, apocalypse was the meme of the day. Harold Camping said the Rapture would be in 1994, nerds put software-driven armageddon six years later, and Terence McKenna and the Mayan Calendar pointed to 2012. What had once been Yugoslavia had collapsed into “ethnic cleansing,” and Rwanda would soon follow suit. The Handmaid’s Tale was a bestseller. We weren’t so interconnected then, multiculturalism was a suspect and derided concept, and “militias” were getting ready for guerrilla acts against the government.
Then came the Oklahoma City bombing. Continue reading

The (Beginning of the) End of Patriarchy (Happy New Age)

After the Newtown massacre last month — yes, remember Newtown? Twenty-six dead, twenty of them children? You’d be forgiven for forgetting. Our news media certainly have, now that the dead are buried and lawmakers moved on to arguing about money again — Sorry.
After the massacre I tried to use the — is it horror, or dread, or just the sinking feeling for a parent of all that time and effort and love robbed in a moment? Maybe we don’t have the word in English yet, like schadenfreude (though from what poor bastards would we borrow it?). But if you’re a parent and very likely if you weren’t, two weeks ago Friday you knew what it meant.
Again, sorry. As you can see, it’s hard to write about. It wasn’t just the walls of emotion that were hard to scale. There really seemed nothing to say. Easy enough to blame America’s culture of guns and the nonsense of the gun-show loophole, but the Newtown killer borrowed his mom’s guns and there’s absolutely no policy prescription for that. Short of banning automatic weapons, banning them and taking them away like I would a hot poker from my three year old — except gun people are addicts to a drug that can kill others. Just try to take away their fix by force and might of law. The insane hunting of first-responders will soon seem normal, the anarchy of The Dark Knight Rises as quaint and dreamy a social vision as Flash Gordon.
And that’s what unclenched my thinking. Continue reading