I have been writing short story fiction on the end of the world for a very long time. Since late 1979, I began a solid railing against this topic on the subject over 30 years ago. Now, it seems that the Internet is booming with end-of-the-world scenarios.
I first started writing my short stories after Hal Lindsey published and released “The Late Great Planet Earth”. One of the very first short stories that I came out with was first entitled “Who Cries for Gabriel?” and later renamed “When Gabriel Blows His Horn”. My original title was “Child’s Play”, but another author beat me to my filing with the Library of Congress.
“When Gabriel Blows His Horn” was a story about a 12-year old boy by the name of Larry Deacon, who battles the evil galactic developer by the name of Dukoth the terrible. I wrote the story in 1980, but it never saw the light of publication. The story however, was a prelude to other short stories that I would devise regarding the end of the world.
My next short story about the end of the world was a time travel story about a scientist who creates a time machine that fits around your waist. More of a “time belt”, my contrivance (rather his contrivance) utilized Cherenkov Radiation that spun around him when he snapped the belt on. The belt served as a miniature particle accelerator, the Cherenkov field spinning at such a rate, that my scientist was able to travel forward and backward through time. My story however, was also a love story as well — my actual hero being a beautiful woman who worked for the state department, who ends up stealing the time belt from the scientist (who is also her boyfriend), and eventually ending up in the hands of the Russians, who were also developing their own version of the time belt, so that they could travel back to World War II, and make changes to the time continuum, thus creating a paradox that embroils the United States in a time war of sorts — one that leaves us as a satellite of Russia. and eventually lead to a catastrophic experiment that destroys the world. It is up to my beautiful heroine to set things right, so that she could return the time belt to her scientist boyfriend and ultimately destroy it, to prevent any future tampering of time.
My next voyage into the end-of-the-world scenario was a short story that finally ended in a published work was written in 1985. It earned a title of honor in an International Literary Contest. That story was called “Shadow Trail”. This story was a science fiction horror story (more like “The Fly” gone berserk). In my story, the world is in turmoil. Astronomers have picked up a very large rock in space, hurtling toward us from the shadow of the moon. We did not see it in time to make very many preparations. It is a planet destroyer, a very big rock. We have no plans to do anything, since we never made any kind of plans for this kind of event. World scientific symposiums are held to figure out what we are going to do. Missile deflection is the best option, so we try it…and fail. A large chunk of the rock is headed for the earth in my scenario, and we don’t know what to do. One scientist in particular posts a very weird concept. He has been working on genetic weaponry for a long time, and has perfected an agent that could be released into our environment, in the hopes of saving millions, perhaps billions of lives. How? Why by enabling us to evolve very quickly, changing our genetic physical structure in an attempt to prolong our species through a nuclear winter — so that we can survive anything — much like a cockroach. What he postulates is poo-poo’ed by the general scientific populace. The government however, is listening and decides to test his theory on a populated area. The decision is made to release his material in an area teeming with insects, just outside Riverside, California. His material turns out to be a scientific success, which is where my short story comes in. A U.S. Navy landing party has just made its way into the city of Long Beach, California. It is hot, fetid, and uncomfortable. The sun beats down mercilessly on an empty city. Or is it?
This short story has given way to a book that I will be working on very soon.
Yes, we all know the world will end — at least for us. We are a species that has no choice except to venture out into new environments. Yet, we stop ourselves at every turn. But, if we die as a species, who do we have to blame for not getting off this rock?
More to come…