Anyway. Moving on. This is Gustavo Bondoni's blog post. His story, 'Passing the Torch' is one of many tales in 'Enter the Apocalypse.' Do him a favour and read it, but not before reading his thoughtful blog below, 'Building the End of the World.'
It was a pity he wouldn’t be able to find any other people. A pity that no one would ever know that there had been a survivor in Toronto.
So… The end of the world.
It feels like everyone’s talking about it lately. Some say it will come as a cause of political upheaval in the civilized world (left or right, take your choice), while others are convinced that we’ll be hit by a giant asteroid. Of course, there are still people who believe that it will come about exactly as described in the bible.
As a science fiction writer, I’ve thought about this quite a bit—won’t give spoilers, but my story in the Enter the Apocalypse anthology (“Passing the Torch”) can be used to follow my thinking pretty easily. In a nutshell, I don’t believe that humanity will get wiped out by something we can see and react to.
So, a giant asteroid is going to strike the Earth in two months? No problem, someone will have a good plan ready before the night is done and Jeff Bezos will send a Blue Origin rocket loaded with the equipment needed to move the thing off course up to intercept. The end of the world would be a terrible thing for Amazon sales.
Likewise, nuclear annihilation. People don’t want to die, so the missiles don’t get launched.
The latest Ebola virus outbreak was a good indicator of the likelihood of a disease wiping us out: a few months after the first cases were reported, a viable vaccine was announced. If that was the reaction for an unusual virus which poses a low risk to civilization, imagine how long a real threat might last. Hours, probably.
Global warming? Build bigger air conditioners.
And don’t even get me started about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. NORAD would blow them out of the sky before anyone could even explain what a flight plan is, much less how to file one.
So what will kill humanity off? The short answer might be: read my story. But, hopefully without ruining for anyone, I will attempt to explain the thinking behind it.
I began with the premise that humanity is pretty resilient and that it would pull out all its ingenuity and resourcefulness to avoid species death. And at least a few people would survive, even if they had to catch the next rocket to mars to do so.
What would kill us all off, then?
Something we don’t see coming, of course. But it could be argued that we wouldn’t see a big pandemic coming either, and we’d still find a way past that. So it needs to go a little way beyond that.
I think that in order to wipe humanity out, the catastrophe has to be of a sort that we not only don’t see it coming, but are also unable to identify the fact that it’s wiping out humanity until the process is nearly complete.
So, how to make humanity totally clueless about what’s coming? How to apply the blinders in a realistic way?
That was the easy part. All you need to do is to go outside in any busy city on the planet and watch people for a while. Look at what they’re doing.
And then extrapolate their behavior to its logical—albeit hopefully not inevitable—conclusion.
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