Archive for the ‘the apocalypse’ Category

New earth on the barrens

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

As part of my quest to read every apocalyptic novel ever published, I’ve just finished Riddley Walker by John Russell Hoban (1980). It was recommended to me by a co-worker, and I can’t believe I’d never heard of it before. In case you don’t know it either, it takes place in England roughly two thousand years after planet-wide nuclear holocaust, and the whole thing is written in a dialect Hoban invented, a guess at what the people of Kent might sound like at such time. (more…)

The meaning of apocalypse

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with the apocalypse. It’s hard not to think about it these days, what with all the apocalyptic movies out – The Road, 2012, The Book of Eli, Legion, etc. – and all the books and media interest in the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, not to mention large-scale disasters, which used to come along once in a lifetime, now happening every few years.

History is thick with cultures and religions that believed in apocalypse, and not just us wacky westerners (google Hopi Prophecy if you’re into that kind of thing). Doesn’t that make it something ingrained in us, perhaps something genetic?


Post-Avatar depression

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

We're blue, too.Several news outlets this past week, including CNN and a local NYC paper, reported a worldwide phenomenon: Many people who have seen the James Cameron film Avatar are experiencing depression.

They’re depressed because they’ve seen a world that is beautiful, in which every living thing is connected and in harmony, and they’ve been reminded how far they are from living that way.

I went to and had a look at the discussion there for myself. And you know what?


Review: 2012

Monday, December 14th, 2009
This is all you need to see.

This is all you need to see.

The only reason anyone would go to see a movie like this is for the special effects. Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow – we all know the plot will suck and the science will be dodgy at best, but who cares, right? Let’s blow some shit up!

That’s why 2012, from the same director, is such an enormous disappointment. I could have forgiven their nonsensical explanation for the end of the world – neutrinos from solar flare activity somehow microwave the earth and boil the core – if only they’d given me more of what I paid for: disaster porn.

We do get to see Los Angeles break in half and slide into the ocean, a sight I can never get enough of. The lumps of burning magma from the Yellowstone supervolcano were very well done, I thought, as was the hemisphere-enveloping ash cloud. And I did enjoy watching a battleship named the USS John F. Kennedy slam into the White House, and St. Peter’s Basilica roll over a dense crowd of worshipers. (more…)

Concern, not alarm

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

photo by scol22My hypochondria is flaring up.

Every morning I turn on New York One, the NYC news channel, just to make sure the world is still there. I get online and check Facebook, my favorite blogs, and the major news headlines. So I heard about the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico early last week, and I felt a little tickle in my throat.

The next day I heard there were a few cases in Texas and California. Slight headache.

And on Friday, I turned on the tv to learn that a bunch of high school students in Queens – some of whom had just been to Mexico – had all gone home with the flu. Like, 75 of them.

I sneezed.


My “go” bag

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Like I'm really gonna get out of here alive. (But what if I do?)

Like I'm really gonna get out of here alive. (But what if I do?)

Living in New York definitely brings home the idea of the impending apocalypse. Any subway at rush hour reminds me that disaster is just one panic away. We handle ourselves well here when disaster happens, and I’m glad to be in the city, but obviously 8 million people can’t just carry on as usual if there’s no electricity, or an epidemic, or a “dirty” bomb, or catastrophic economic collapse. I probably won’t survive such an eventuality, but in case I do, I want to be ready. I have extra water stored, and some stockpiled food. And I have a “go” bag.


Review: On the Beach

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

On the BeachI’ve always been a fan of apocalyptic literature, and I’ve heard Nevil Shute’s On the Beach mentioned often as a must-read in the genre.

The basic plot is that the countries of the northern hemisphere have engaged in all-out nuclear war, a war lasting about a month. Between the nuclear blasts and subsequent radiation sickness, everyone in Russia, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America are dead. The story takes place in Australia, where the eerily calm survivors – there were no bombs for them – are waiting as the radiation creeps southward. Our heroes are an American submarine commander, stranded by the war in southern waters, his Australian liaison, the liaison’s wife, and a female friend of theirs who befriends the submarine commander. We wait and watch with them until the end. (Spoilers ahead.)


Future Imperfect

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

fall leavesHoliday sales were down, for the first time since 9/11. The auto industry continues to implode. Real estate has tanked. The banking industry is in shambles. The stock market is wobbling. Consumer confidence has bottomed out. Unemployment rates are the highest they’ve been in 30 years, and more layoffs are planned in the new year. The specter of the first Great Depression looms large for all of us in the US. Manufacturing is in the worst slowdown since that time.

The conflict in Israel is heating up again. A suicide bomber in Iraq just killed a group of people who had gathered to discuss reconciliation. In Afghanistan recently, men on motorcycles threw acid on girls for attending school.

Honey bees are disappearing around the world. Factory farm methods are promoting desertification. With three quarters of the world’s food coming from only eight different plant species, the world is more vulnerable to catastrophic famine than ever before.

Solar activity is rising. The Yellowstone supervolcano is in “high-threat” for a massive eruption. The earth’s magnetic field is fractured, and may be preparing for reversal.

Arctic sea ice is at a record low. The Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica is eroding rapidly.

Our species is long overdue for a devastating flu pandemic.

I’m learning how to make bread.