Me a survivor, or not
The last few weeks I’ve been reading a number of books by Canadian author S. M. Stirling. I have finished the Nantucket trilogy and have now started on its companion series which is called Emberverse, whatever the hell that means. Emberverse? Whatever.
I don’t care what they’re called. All I know is that this sort of stuff really stokes me up. In the Nantucket trilogy, the entire island of Nantucket is transported back in time some 3,000 years. Just the island of Nantucket, not the rest of world (what would be the point, if everything else in the world went with them). All their technology is intact, but virtually useless at first. It’s a struggle to survive and prosper.
How can I not love this? I’ve always had a jones for this sort of thing. I think it goes back to one of my earliest childhood memories — watching “Gilligan’s Island” with my babysitter. Though really, the cartoon was way cooler since the professor rigged up all sorts of awesome shit with coconuts and other island crap. I think they even had cars. Though not cars like in “The Flintstones,” which as a kid, impressed the hell out of me. Fred’s feet were like … amazing. Imagine the calluses on those suckers.
Anyway, Fred’s feet aside, I admit that part of why I enjoyed the Nantucket series is that a big hero in the series is a kick-ass, black, lesbian Coast Guard captain, who quickly hooks up with another kick-ass, white native lesbian from a tribe which built Stonehenge in England. Basically, between the two of them, they whip everybody into shape, swinging their katanas in a bloody swath through their enemies. Not that they are bloody-minded, of course. I mean, they are lesbians, after all, with the requisite love of humanity, equality, democracy and all, katanas notwithstanding.
Near the end of the series, it kind of bogs down in war crap and skips around too much.
The heroes of the Emberverse series thus far (I’m only on book two), is a Wiccan high priestess and an ex-Marine. The villain is a university history professor. Hah! The set-up is that when Nantucket was sent back in time with their technology intact, the rest of the world suddenly lost their technology. All electrical systems and engines ceased to work, and even gunpowder stopped working.
I love this stuff. Oh, not the warring and so forth. What I love is the idea of losing our comforts, our way of life, and how we might cope. So that makes me a sucker for shipwreck stories, pioneer stories and a particular type of doomsday scenario stories.
I find myself drifting off in speculation as I read these sorts of things. I’m like, yeah, the first thing to do is find water and gather up all the available food and begin rationing. Don’t forget about finding shelter. Next, make sure of a workable sanitation system to avoid dysentery and for god’s sake, secure the local library since the info there will be priceless and … blah blah blah.
And I daydream about how to build up the new society and such. And when I’ve exhausted all the possibilities and solved all the problems, I always come to the same conclusion –
Damn! That’s way the hell too much work. I’d never survive it, and if that’s what it would take to make it just from one day to the next, then screw it. I want to go in the first wave.
If the nukes fall, get me a sun lounger and some sunglasses so I can expose myself to the radiation in comfortable relaxation. Drown me in the ocean rather than washing me up alive on some godforsaken, flea-infested deserted beach. Should this oh-so-lovely technology disappear, please let some crazed followers of a cult whack me on the head quickly before my canned goods run out.
But that’s reality. And these books are fiction, and if I want to imagine Hedon and I as uber-cut lesbian heroines strutting through an urban warzone, whacking off the heads of the evil-doer street gang members, then I guess I by-god can.
Oh, we’d also re-invent trebuchets and catapults. Cause we’re just that damned awesome.