Saturday, May 28, 2005


I regularly have apocalypse dreams. I think this is a hazard of having been a teenager when Reagan was elected president--I was sure nuclear war was imminent and the end of the world was nigh. But maybe at some point all teenagers feel like the world is going to end, for one reason or another. Then again, maybe it's just me ... In my latest dream, we're all going to live underground in sealed-off bunkers connected by a maze of tunnels, and our food supply is provided by Simon Delivers, in those friendly green tubs. My sister is part robot, if you can call having a gumball machine as a head robotic (Ian, you know where the gumball machine comes from).

Some of my favorite sci-fi stories are about apocalypse and its aftermath. Kate Wilhelm's Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang is one I just recently read, and although it was written in 1977 (and won a Hugo), it's suprisingly relevant today. It's about post-apocalyptic survival through cloning. The book is not as well known as some other Sci-Fi classics, but I'm interested in the philosophical struggle of living post-apocalypse more than the special effects of the apocalypse itself, and Wilhelm delivers on the philosophy. Robert C. O' Brien (who also wrote The Secret of NIMH, which is way better than the Disney movie) has a great apocalypse/coming-of-age book called Z for Zachariah that haunted me for years after I read it. There's also a newer YA apocalypse novel by Minnesota writer Wil Weaver that came out in 2001--Memory Boy-- that has the added geek factor of a recumbent bike that becomes a family's only vehicle. Just recently I reviewed a photography book for Rain Taxi called Waiting For the End of the World, a bizarre catalog of real post-apocalypse bunkers around the world, that was both comical and disturbing to read.

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