Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Surviving the Apocalypse

by Sariah S. Wilson

I was all set to write a blog on the perils of having an extremely large baby (which include packages that no longer have enough diapers in them, clothes that are no longer cute and babyish, infant seats that won't contain him, swings that won't push him, constant arm and back pain, etc.) as my 9-month-old is the same approximate size as an average 17-month-old. But then I figured it would be one long whine from me about having to repeatedly explain to people that no, he's not delayed, he's only ____ months old (which I've been having to do since he was born) and then I worried that it might offend someone who would give anything for their baby to be an average size let alone a large one, so I decided to skip it.

One of my current shows that I am enjoying on TV is called "Surviving Disaster." It tells you, obviously enough, how to survive horrendous circumstances (or, as they are also known, disasters).

I have always worried over the end of days. I think I've been laboring under the assumption that the apocalypse would happen, world gets destroyed and ends and then the Second Coming occurs immediately after.

It wasn't until recently as I read "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy that I began to wonder - what if things didn't happen quickly? What if the world/civilization effectively ended and then...nothing? What would I do when ten years had passed and there was no food and no way to survive and people were cannibals and everything was unimaginably bad? I know that Christ would return as was promised, but it made me realize that there may be some post-apocalyptic surviving that could go on for years before the good stuff happens.

I'm also a kid that grew up on "The Day After," which I was required to watch in seventh grade Social Studies. I pretty much accepted the fact that if there was a nuclear bomb 1) I was sure to die immediately or 2) I would die a horrible death in the few days after the bomb dropped. Either way, it sounded like good night, Nancy.

But then I discovered from "Surviving Disaster" that if you're far enough outside the blast radius (hello, suburbs!) and you know enough about a nuclear bomb and what about it will actually kill you, you might have a chance of surviving.

Which made me ponder even further the wisdom of being prepared so that we will not fear.

Preparation doesn't only mean in a physical sense, i.e., food, water, medicines; I think it also means knowing what to do and when to do it when disaster strikes.

I don't want to be paranoid or living in a state of constant stress about what could happen at any given moment, but I like knowing things like if there's a nerve gas attack on a subway and you manage to get out of a stopped train, never go behind the train to escape - always head in front of the train (something about an air vortex being created behind the train that captures nerve gas and holds it there. I don't understand it - I just know I shouldn't do it). Or how important it is to duct tape any air ventilation in case of a nuclear attack or pandemic (around the windows, air conditioner vents, etc.)

I'm not building concrete bunkers in my basement or anything, but it definitely does make me consider things like - if the government did a total lockdown and ordered everyone to stay in their homes for a long period of time (say three months) could we survive? I'm pretty sure that if we rationed our food storage we'd be able to survive for three months. (Even if we had to chew on our uncooked wheat.) I like the feeling of security that it gives me to know that I'm somewhat prepared. (Of course, if our natural disaster is some sort of monsoon here in Ohio that floods my basement, there goes my food.)

As a writer, I also appreciate learning things like how to create a smoke flare using a newspaper, water and a cold compress from a first aid kit, how to hot wire a car, how to make a homemade silencer on a semi-automatic weapon (in case I'm ever trapped in a mall with terrorists) - things I could use for a very cool military type hero or in case I want to write a Son of MacGyver novel.

I've always been interested in the abstract idea of the apocalypse and the breakdown of society (though not personally all that comfortable with the idea of having to live through it), and will confess that some of my favorite books have been dystopian/post-apocalypse (like "The Hunger Games"). Recently I learned that LDS author Ally Condie just got a seven-figure (yes, seven figures as in at least one million dollars) book deal with her dystopian novel "Matched" which I now really want to read, so dear Ally, if you see this, I am shamelessly begging for an ARC and would tell everyone about your book (unlike Savage over there who had an ARC of "Catching Fire" and did not tell me. And which you can see that I'm still not over).

Do you like end of the world/post-apocalyptic fiction? Or do you find it too depressing and tend to stay away from it?


At 12/13/2009 2:38 AM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

Actually, I find post-apocalyptic fiction to have more hope and outlook. It's usually about humanity rising to higher standards in the face of poor ones and that gives me hope.

I'm very happy to hear about Ally's success. I understand she's an excellent writer and I'm very, very happy for her.

At 12/13/2009 2:50 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

I enjoy dystopian futuristic or semi-futuristic society kind of books (my first novel, The Believer, was one of those)--for example, The Alliance, The House of the Scorpion, The Giver, The Hunger Games. A book set in a future dystopia is such a ripe source of creative conflicts for your protagonist--you can create whatever kind of opposition for your hero/heroine that you want! But I do want the book to have at least some kind of triumphant or happy ending. I don't want depressing from start to finish, though come to think of it, I did enjoy 1984, which isn't exactly cheery at the end, but it's a classic so I'll give it a pass.

At 12/13/2009 5:43 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

I love it. The Road is on my list of favorites that I read this year.


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