Today's tea? Hmmm, what does one drink when discussing the end of our world? A nice calming passionflower, perhaps?
Have you read The Road by Cormac McCarthy? (I have). Seen the movie? (I haven't). It was one of the most bleak and depressing books that I have ever read. I liked it, I couldn't put it down, but it left me with a sense of despair. And not much hope.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller is of a similar genre. A post apocalyptic tale of survival. This book, while terribly sad, gave me more hope. Not hope that I would "make it" in a scenario like this, though - I'm pretty sure that I would be gone in the early days :). I give this book 5 stars (out of 5). For the hope and the poetic writing :)
Nine years after a flu-like virus has decimated the population, Hig has eked out an existence with his best friend - his dog, Jasper. his wife, family, friends - gone. He lives in an abandoned (well, everywhere is abandoned now) airport alongside gun-toting, somewhat antisocial, Bangley. They have a strange symbiotic relationship, and do fairly well surviving and protecting themselves and each other. (remember, that come the apocalypse we will all be fighting each other for food and fuel). Hig is a former recreational pilot so he is able to fly a Cessna out and around the vicinity to explore and survey the area. Hig is lonely and keeps remembering a voice that came on his plane radio years ago from a town (city?) a long flight away. Unfortunately the town is too far away to fly to and back from (without refueling) so Hig has never risked it... but that voice continues to gnaw at his mind.... Should he take the chance? Could there be something like his old life out there? What is left in the world?
I see now that I need to make friends with some ex- navy seals.... although you know that I just have to look at someone with the flu and I get it. I will not be one of the survivors :) . But, when I read Stephen King's The Stand so many years ago, I thought that I had some promise.... I think that I will revisit that book again soon. Meanwhile, I'll stockpile my olive oil (good source of calories) and keep my treadle sewing machine in good repair.
If you liked The Stand and / or The Road, you will definitely like The Dog Stars. If you want to know what our world could be like after the bird flu and a blood-borne virus kill most of us, read on :). It is a story of love, loss, hope, and the unlikely friendships that we make when our lives are falling apart.
Why do we read these books about the end of our world? To scare ourselves? As preparation for an uncertain future? To make our (current) lives feel so much better?
Music to listen to while you're drinking that tea :
One of my favourite "End of the World" stories was an episode of Twilight Zone -- Time Enough At Last...... You can watch the whole half-hour episode here: