Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm not dead yet

That's all I have to say. That despite my silence in these here parts, I have not gone away and I have not succumbed. Though I am sore afflicted by those who would take my time, my mind -- and I am chief among the assailants, spawning new open commitments on the basis of a moment's thought, beating dead horses, bailing boats already sunk.

But I have been reading, and perhaps even reading what I ought to be reading! The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Earth abides, and now something called The Glimmering. And I made several pages of world-building kind of notes, based partly on what I've been reading. It seems that I am not taking the full apocalypse route, convenient as it is a premise, wiping the slate clean that way. Mine is more of a future history, or the post-decline, with local catastrophe, probably as similar to historical fiction as to science fiction. In the history of Europe and the world there have been many moments of collapse, abrupt change, but never has the effect or the locale been global. To imagine a completely global catastrophe is somewhat grandiose, I think. Even a nuclear war is more likely to produce great gaping holes in the world, and less than optimum conditions everywhere, but life for most will go on, however altered, and forgetfulness and the grind of evolution and planetary history will continue.

So my world offers me the opportunity to imagine a number of outcomes to global and more localized processes. The end of oil, it seems to me, will have its most traumatic effects at the centers of global commerce, and on the mechanisms of globalism itself, travel and telecommunication. Climactic and geological catastrophe are likely to have very different effects in different places, and these effects are likely to be transitory, in the big picture. So that, for instance, in my world a geological event (super-volcano or something) in the context of global warming, could produce floods and famine in one part of the earth, and drought in another, and intemperate temperance in others. My flood-prone Danubian world might go under water -- as it has before, and transportation to and communication with the Karpathian region could become greatly limited, but the weather could be different in a small degree that makes a big difference, and differences in terrain, fauna and flora, could also make for a very different development. At the same time, a small ice age in Poland might occur. (As a writer of fiction, there's only so much scientific credibility to be responsible for). There might also be overlaid some pestilence -- in fact, disease is a likely companion of flood and being cut off from medical supplies, particularly in an age of genetic and other kinds of experimentation. In a little story by Stephen King, the side-effects of a "calmative" turns out to be senility, and when applied globally, results in the stupidification and disappearance of humans. In order to account for the hostility toward the Misabled, we only need to make a connection between pharmaceutical and genetic innovations that resulted in both misability and some kind of plague, or some of the misabled themselves became culpable in producing the plague, but poisoning the water system or engaging in biological terrorism or something like that.

This last idea I like and will incorporate.


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