Mark A. Carter

DOOMSDAY THEME in Science Fiction:

World famous Canadian Science Fiction writer Mark A. Carter revisits The Doomsday Theme and holds it up to scrutiny after all these years.

Back in 1981, I wrote and defended a Master of Arts thesis entitled: The Doomsday Theme in Science Fiction: a critical survey of the literature. It was something I simply had to write to get my paranoia about the end of mankind off of my chest. The literature was out there. I fully believed at that time that it was not a matter of if but of when.

And my most salient conclusion was that Science Fiction is predictive. But I fudged part of my conclusion because I couldn't admit the truth. I concluded that human kind has a 50 / 50 chance of survival. But what I couldn't admit at the time was that I saw no hope for us at all. Yikes. And my paranoia has returned or rather the validity of my thesis keeps recurring.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad." - Aldous Huxley


Image courtesy of Lars von Trier from his Science Fiction film: Melancholia.

Copyright © 2011 Zentropa, Canal +, arte France Cine´ma, and Sveriges Television.

Over the past thirty years I have blandly gone about my nebulous existence expecting the end to occur at any time. And frankly I'm surprised that we're still here. I expected us to get nuked in the eighties under Reagan. And only recently has information reached me that we almost did. I have always expected the Earth to get creamed by something. In my 2007 Science Fiction novel Hephzibah of Heaven, I wrote about asteroid Lucifer colliding with the Earth and ending all life. The film Melancholia (2011) by Lars von Trier reiterated the futility of such an event. And increasingly of late, we seem to have more than the usual number of rocky visitors or is it that we simply have more cameras everywhere catching these space rocks as they burn through our atmosphere? Or is this uptick the preamble to a major hit?

The SARS scare, the bird flu scares, the Ebola scare and the very real but utterly swept under the carpet AIDS epidemic that continues to kill millions around the world every year convinced me that the powers that be had turned to bio-weaponry to wipe us out and we wouldn't see ourselves surviving the twentieth century. Then 911 occurred and things turned to terrorism as the more likely excuse for human decimation on a potential scale that we had not seen before. But that never gelled either.

But the question that I began to ask is this: Would the powers that be inform us if the end was neigh? I doubt it. They would be safe in their deep, hardened, fully supplied bunkers hiding like cockroaches well in advance of the cataclysm, and remain there for years, if need be, while we faced the horror of atomic devastation, or killer asteroid, or solar flare and the nuclear winter that followed. Why? Well, we are expandable. We are the hoi polloi, the average people, the riff raff, the toilers, the workers. And besides, the world is overcrowded anyway. So, to the powers that be, we are better off gone. And while they are underground all snug in their beds, like The Night before Christmas, we would perish like insects hitting the electrified grid of a bug zapper. I don't know about you, but that pisses me off. Perhaps it pisses you off too. And we voted for these guys.

Over the past few months I have visited Suspicious0bservers every morning to watch Ben Davidson touch upon the latest Cosmopoetic, Geopoetic and Homopoetic happenings in his 4 Minute News. And his occasional mentions of a celestial kill shot sends shivers through me because, as in the Science Fiction film Knowing (2009) by Alex Proyas we do indeed receive the lethal kill shot that fries Earth. Do I smell burning hair? To me, knowing that Science Fiction is predictive continues to be unsettling. If a giant meteor or planet doesn't collide with us, then our sun will simply have indigestion one day, send a coronal mass ejection in our direction, and it will be adios muchachos. As banal as scientists and Science Fiction writers make it sound, and everyone keeps saying it of late, as in the Science Fiction film Armageddon (1998) by Michael Bay, where the NASA official says: "It isn't a matter of if. It's a matter of when," the futility of our demise saddens me deeply. And it alarms me. And it raises the question: What are we doing about it? Is there anything we can do about it? And where the Hell is our space program when we need it to get us out of Dodge if and when disaster beckons?

Is it my imagination or are we still in the sixties in terms of our space program? Being able to put a mere handful of astronauts into space at one time just doesn't cut it when the survival of billions is involved. Sure we have faster computers, but we have returned to capsules. Where is the innovation? Where are the alternative technologies that we once talked about to propel thousands of people into space at a time? This Chinese rocket technology that we use to launch everything into space has been around for ten thousand years. Give me a break. It's great for sky rockets and for warfare, but it is limited when it comes to propelling anything substantial through our atmosphere. I cannot believe that NASA is the only program going out there and that a return to capsule technology for the future Orion mission is as good as it gets. It is so incredulously stupid that I cannot believe it is true. Personally, I hope it is part of the magic trick, part of the scam, part of the redirection to distract us from the truth. And the truth may very well be that a spaceship is being built in secret by the rich and the powerful, the politicians, and the Illuminati to whisk them away before an Extinction Level Event occurs.

The truth may be similar to what I wrote in Hephzibah of Heaven. The following is an excerpt:

The construction of spaceship Noah was the best kept secret of the middle twenty-first century. Noah was an ark. Its purpose was to store every major life form on Earth considered suitable for reintroduction into Earth's biosphere, out of harm's way, in case disaster struck on a global scale, in case the planet faced an Extinction Level Event. Ironically, the selection process itself brought about a mass extinction of sorts. It reduced the forty million available species of life on Earth down to one hundred forty-four thousand samples, including its precious human cargo.

For a century, every major country on the planet archived their own biological arks in dark, deep, dry, underground vaults. The Illuminati assumed, if disaster struck the Earth, mankind would survive to reseed the planet from at least one of the vaults. Viewpoints changed after Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter in the last decade of the twentieth century. The Illuminati and their scientists stopped to consider the very real possibility that Earth could be hit by a planet killer, that Velikovsky had been right all along when he wrote Worlds in Collision. Later, they changed could to would. It was only a question of when. In light of an Extinction Level Event, the biological arks distributed around the world no longer made sense. So, the space ark was built. Noah was designed to carry the reduced biosphere of planet Earth in a spaceship. It would carry animals, humankind, and plants. It would carry everything needed to reseed Earth in a state of suspended animation.

Noah was an insurance policy for human survival. Adult humans, modified genetically by viral carriers containing the antifreeze gene, as it was called, rested in a state of deep cold awaiting reanimation.

Inside those freezers were the Illuminati, heads of government, foreign investors in Project Noah, Alpha supermen and superwomen to perpetuate the cult of greatness established by the Illuminati and their strange bedfellows, Beta breeders to be the mothers of the future, technicians and tradesmen, and a company of elite soldiers.

The soldiers traveled aboard Noah because the Illuminati and the politicians requested them. The soldiers guaranteed that the men who were in power would be in power in the future.

Lockheed Martin was responsible for designing, building, and testing Noah. Shepherd was stationed at their Site 10 facility at U. S. Air Force Plant 42, in Palmdale, California. Noah's components were manufactured there, in secret, not far from Los Angeles, within the fourteen square miles of the Mojave Desert controlled by Plant 42.

When the components were ready, they were shipped from Site 10 at the Plant 42 complex. They were loaded aboard C-5 Galaxys, C-17 Globemasters, and C-141 Starlifters, and flown from runway 7/25 to Air Force Flight Test Center, Detachment 3, in Nevada. The Test Center was located within the boundaries of Nellis Air Force Base. Among the ranks of conspiracy theorists and UFO nuts, the Test Center was better known as Area 51, Dreamland, Groom Lake, and Paradise Ranch.

Noah was assembled deep underground beneath the desert floor at Area 51. It was built far from the prying eyes of gawkers with their cameras and their telescopic lenses, and far from the one yard resolution cameras aboard spy satellites passing overhead.

Noah was the most sophisticated spacecraft ever created. It was light years beyond the flying bricks launched by NASA, from Cape Canaveral, used to build the International Space Station. Noah was three football fields long and spoon shaped. Its fusion-driven, electromagnetic, ion propulsion drive was powerful enough to escape the Earth's gravity. The ion drive was powerful enough to escape the Sol system. It was powerful enough to escape the Milky Way Galaxy and to slingshot around Andromeda.

Project Orion and the colonization of Mars is supposedly already in the works. For those brave souls chosen to go there, it would be a one way trip. They are already canvassing for volunteers. I guess we were always destined to become the Martians, as Ray Bradbury suggested in his 1950 Science Fiction short story collection entitled The Martian Chronicles. Or perhaps, as was suggested in the Science Fiction film Mission to Mars (2000) by Brian De Palma, we are merely returning home to a planet that was once as lush as Earth is now but befell planetary disaster long ago.

The point that I made at the close of my thesis was that if our planet is doomed from so many sources, the best we could expect is to have a handful of us survive. Then, at least, all would not be lost. Some of what is us would survive. And perhaps our knowledge might be preserved too, but what knowledge? Much of our insidious and perverse knowledge has led to the destruction of our planetary fauna and flora, and to the demise of our fellow human beings through our boundless penchant for war. Perhaps, as the cyborg states to John Connor in the 1991 Science Fiction film Terminator 2: Judgment Day by James Cameron, we are our own worst enemy.

John Connor: We're not gonna make it, are we? People, I mean.
The Terminator: It's in your nature to destroy yourselves.

And as I concluded in my thesis, the predictive nature of Science Fiction suggests that we will destroy ourselves unless something else does it for us, like our own planet: earthquakes, famine, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and etc. comprising the Geopoetic sources of Doom; or the sun, asteroids, comets and etc. on collision course with Earth for that Extinction Level Event which I dubbed the Cosmopoetic sources of Doom; or aliens who want to take over our planet for its resources, or wish to eat us, or merely to replace us, or who have been monitoring us and have become pissed off with us, as in the 1951 Science Fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise where Klaatu warns that our planet will be destroyed by robot space police like Gort if we venture beyond our own planet with our paranoid and vicious war-like tendencies. Those are Xenopoetic sources of Doom.

Rod Taylor plays the traveller in The Time Machine directed by George Pal based on the 1895 Science Fiction novella by H.G. Wells. Photo Copyright © 1960 MGM.

So, as H.G. Wells wrestled with at the close of his 1895 Science Fiction novella The Time Machine, if you were given the opportunity to survive the oncoming onslaught and could carry three books into the future with you to rebuild civilization, what would they be? What would you bring if given the second chance to make a better world? What three books would you bring to Mars or any other place to start again? Think about it. Talk about it with your friends.

Isaac Asimov had a totally different take on the future of humankind in Foundation (1951) and the subsequent books in that series. He saw us expanding into the Milky Way in a big way. But that positive prediction is fodder for a future rant.

Read: Can a machine think?
Anatomy of The Machine
Artificial Super-Intelligence
Conceptual Breakthrough
Fail Safe or Strangelove?
Future War
IBM Builds Brain
Killer Robots
Robot Takeover

Now you know.

from the imagination of Mark A. Carter - writer

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