I don’t set out to make my books anything but a fun escape from everyday. But every now and then even I accidentally make a point. Several people have asked that I share the opening to my book Pursuit of the Apocalypse where the main character reflects on what things were like before the apocalypse.
So here it is:
Prelude from Pursuit of the Apocalypse
We probably should have seen the end coming.
As a species, we were practically begging for it.
We had stopped being social creatures long before the world blew up and stopped working together to solve anything that mattered.
There was too much division for that. The gray area had disappeared, and one side refused to listen to the other. There was right, wrong, and no other option. Common ground had become scorched earth in the name of pride.
Everything became black and white. Everything was absolute. If you were pro-life, you were against women voting. If you were pro-choice, you wanted all babies dead. If you wanted more accountability on social programs, you hated the poor. If you tried to help the poor without approval, you were arrested.
If you had money it was because you were greedy and you exploited the workers. If you drove a car, you wanted the world to burn. If you were concerned about icecaps, you were condemned for having a home.
If you thought some people shouldn’t have guns, you wanted the criminals to kill and rape everyone. If you wanted a gun, it was because you had a small penis and the other side had run out of arguments and resorted to third-grade tactics.
Every belief was labeled as extreme. Every ideology was decried as far this or far that.
Everyone else was either a racist, a misogynist, or a homophobe, Islamophobe, or ammophobe.
And everyone was Hitler.
Part of the problem was that everyone was an expert on everything so any chance for debate was quashed by superior credentials such as, “I read it on Wikipedia,” or “the TV station that thinks like I do agrees with me and told me everyone else was too stupid to understand.”
Opinions were treated like concealed weapons, and every time one was offered it was a showdown. Words turned to sticks and stones and hurt people everywhere. People grew afraid of someone who didn’t agree with them. Friendships were called off, family was ostracized, and we all went to our separate corners to gloat and pout.
But even that didn’t help, because the rules of acceptable beliefs within each group became so complex they began to conflict with one another, and it became a choir-to-choir shouting match. Even atheists were trying to prove they were holier than thou.
Irony went completely unnoticed.
There was no pleasing anyone.
In the end it was best if you just didn’t feel anything at all.
– An entry from the journal of the Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warrior dated “after”
You can read the rest of the book here and see how this thinking plays out in the post-apocalyptic town of Tolerance. It’s the third in the Duck & Cover series.