Skip to comments."Alas, Brave New Babylon" new fiction by Matt Bracken
Posted on 08/26/2013 6:20:36 AM PDT by Travis McGee
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My goal was to keep it at under 11K words. It’s a quick arc of story, with a fast windup and delivery into the message phase.
“How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,That has such people in’t! “
Shakespere’s “The Tempest” Act V, Scene 1
Kipling predates Huxley, though... 1919.
There’s a lot of exits it could be, but that part of I-81 put him close to the Appalachian Trail, giving him every possible survival advantage, including his trail supplies and a month of freeze-dried food. Water is so plentiful in those hills you barely need a canteen or water bottle.
Many thanks, Travis. Outstanding, as usual. :^)
Thanks, I spent more time on this story than any other short piece ever, including two road trips to the NC/SC/GA border area and the Appalachian Trail.
I noticed that myself a few years ago.
The poem was published in 1919; the book in 1932.
I don’t know when the phrase originated.
Before - Huxley wrote the novel in 1931, Kipling the poem in 1919. It's a reference to a line in Shakespeare's The Tempest.
I’m trying to set my literary bar high enough with pieces like this that even liberals and LIV’s will find it compelling. The plot in the first 2/3 is just a windup, to get the reader up in the tower with the historian, looking back. My target audience is not our choir, but the other side. As soon as I see that Salon or Daily Beast etc is mentioning “Alas,” I’ll put the .99 cent anthology in the Kindle free run for five days to encourage maximum downloading by the folks who need to read it the most.
If nothing else, I want people to think about how 100% dependent our entire system and society is on a freely running electrical system, forever with almost no prolonged, widespread stoppages. A simple “Carrington event” solar flare could trigger everything described in the story.
No, you don’t eat the berry. You let it ripen and harvest the seed, dry it and plant it.
You don’t eat the seed potatoes, either, once they turn green.
As for the Jerusalem artichoke, I’ll take your word for it. The ones here were highly touted to the farmers and the back-to-the-landers in the 70s by the local Extension as an alternative food. I’ve never dug them up. I vaguely recall someone giving us some tubers once, back in the day. Tasteless. Sort of like water chestnuts, IIRC.
I have them lining my drive. Pretty flowers.
It is fragile. But at this point, even if we could do something to revert to a more lotec way, most would refuse. And your scenario happens anyway.
You are a great and vivid writer Matt. Keep it up. Someone will listen. And maybe survive because of it.
I wrote and rewrote this story so many times, I had mentioned ham radios etc in other versions, but the story grew too long, and my primary objective was brevity. Before, I had the narrator mention that if anybody was running ham or HF radios on their own power, he had no way of knowing it. It didn’t really add much to the story, so I dropped it. But yes, hams could still be operating, if they wound up in a safe location, with food, and could make their own power. But to non-hams, they might as well not exist, unless some rumors were passed along. In time, hams might develop their own news programming based on the reports they heard and shared.
Thanks for sharing it; my goal is to get the other side to read it.
Yep, the military is falling fast too. Witness Hasan and Manning, two soldiers in good standing until their treasons.
If enclaves are to survive and re-establish civilization on this continent there will have to be conscious efforts to gather the skilled together, for survival and improvements.
The kids of today are often very surprised by the machinery our founders had for use, run by pedal or water wheel energy output.
Many electrically driven tools can be rigged to work via an exchange of driveshaft, to accommodate a water driven driveshaft.
An old old mill near me once had seasoned black oak drive shaft running the grinding, until an iron one could be purchased in my grandfather's youth. The location is even IDed as Flourville! The same wheel driving the grinding shaft-drive can be used to run machinery like lathes, drills, and saws.
Enclaves would lend to gathering various technical skills together to thrive as a community, which would eventually lead to forms of government and law enforcement.
I don’t know what a potato seed looks like, but I’ve got some seed pods that are green and about 1/2” in diameter - like an unripe grape tomato.
Cold and dark.
I've heard suggestions putting them in a brown paper bag also helps.
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