Friday, December 21, 2012
How will the world end?
Despite what the wide-eyed True Believers would like, the world is not going to end today or any other single day. No civilization has ended in a day. The real destruction of the world as we know it will come around a lot more slowly.
And that's going to make it a lot more painful.
This Choose Your Own Apocalypse blogfest came along at just the right time. While I'm busy with my next Civil War novel, I'm thinking of what I'll do next. One possibility is a series of loosely connected post-apocalyptic novellas. That got me to thinking how are world could fall apart.
First would come the Lean Years as the current worldwide economic meltdown worsens. This leads to various wars and civil unrest that stir the pot even more. Environmental degradation picks up pace and soon coastal areas are flooded by rising sea levels. This causes large-scale migration and that, compounded with a cash-strapped governments not being able to control the outbreak of diseases, leads to the Plague Years.
Now the world governments are really backed into a corner, and they do what they always do in such a situation--they start a war, actually The Wars, several major conflicts between groups of constantly shifting alliances. Thinks 17th century Europe with 21st century weapons. Not pretty. A few places will get nuked, biochemical weapons spread more disease, and the breakdown of civilization begins in earnest.
Then comes the World Revolution. This isn't one revolution but several. The people have had enough and a bewildering array of political and religious groups try to take over. The weakened governments fall after taking out large numbers of their own citizens. Countries fragment and the revolutionary groups end up with little patches of territory. Having widely different belief systems, they start fighting against one another, ushering in the Feudal Times.
But we're not done yet! In a world left with virtually no infrastructure or reliable long-distance trade, things like electricity and gasoline become rarities to be fought over. The new feudal states begin to collapse because of their own infighting, local revolutions, or simple starvation. A vastly depleted population is left living in fortified villages or scavenging the remains of the civilization they destroyed through their own ignorance.
And that leaves us at page one of my first book. . .
Now I just have to write it!
This photo of the Namibian ghost town Kolmanskop is courtesy Harald Süpfle via Wikimedia Commons. To learn more about this eerie ghost town and to see more photos, check out an article I did on Kolmanskop.