Books... BOOKS

Apocalyptic Review

Apocalyptic Review Cover Image

John R York

April 21, 2023

What Next?

I put off writing this month’s blog because I thought, perhaps, the end of the world was upon us. So why write a blog if there's nobody around to read it? If you’re one of those people who don’t watch the news on TV or pay any attention to the numerous news sources on the Web, then you may not know that things have been going to hell in a handbasket lately.

I keep reminding myself that we've always been on the brink of apocalyptic disaster throughout history. I do a lot of historic research for my novels, so I know this is true. I don’t mean World-War-nth bad, but pretty bad, depending on where you live I suppose. I mean, there are plenty of conflicts going on throughout the world right now: Ukraine, Nagorno Karabakh, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, and others. It seems likely that China, Russia, North Korea, or Texas could declare war on the U.S. at any moment bringing an end to life as we know it.

I wonder if this is why Florida recently joined many other States in passing a law that allows everyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit or any training? I guess you never know when we might have to start defending ourselves from some enemy or other. But if everybody is carrying a concealed weapon, how do you know who the bad guys are? It makes me kind of nervous and I just hope I don’t piss anybody off these days.

And what the heck is going on with all the mass shootings? There have been 160 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year. That’s more than one a day. One news source reports that there have been 11,523 people who have died by gun violence as of April 10 - this year! Half of those were by suicide which is kind of depressing. I just read that guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S. Wow. Okay - yes, I know. Guns don’t kill, people kill. So I should probably say, the leading cause of death for children and teens are people shooting them with a gun. It appears that many people who've decided to kill other people are doing so with weapons designed to be used in warfare - weapons that do a lot of damage to the human body, more so than regular weapons. I'm just hoping nobody decides to shoot me regardless of what kind of weapon they decide to use.

Why do so many people want to harm others? It seems a lot of people are pissed off these days about all kinds of things. There are the big issues, of course, like abortion, gun control, gender orientation, sexual orientation, and the “Woke” thing. But there are also a bunch of less publicized issues that get some people pretty riled up. I saw something on the TV yesterday that I never really thought about before. There’s a women’s movement declaring that they're pissed off about having to pay sales tax on feminine hygiene products and paying more for a shaver than men do. I get it. There’s a lot to be pissed off about, but pissed enough to kill someone?

Maybe all this anger is why there’s an increase in road rage incidents, and why homeowners are starting to shoot people who accidently pull into their driveway, or knock on their door, or accidently get in the wrong car.

True story - I got in the wrong car a couple months ago. Another person's car was parked next to mine at the grocery store. It was exactly the same car as mine - a white Mercedes 300. I obviously wasn't paying attention, so I blithely got into this car and pushed the start button, but nothing happened. Hmmm. I suddenly noticed a stethascope hanging from the rearview mirror. Hmmm. I don't own a stethascope. Holy bat guano! I'm in the wrong car! I guess it happens. Fortunately, nobody shot me for my lapse in attention.

I think we all know that the Democrats are pissed off at the Republicans, and the Republicans are pissed off at the Democrats. But that’s not unusual. What bothers me, though, is that the disagreements no longer seem to be limited to heated debates about the pros and cons of differing solutions to public issues – you know, democracy at work. These days, the side who doesn’t agree with other side is being cast as an enemy of America and everything American. "We've got to get America back. We've got to save America." Back from who? Aren't we all Americans, and isn't America everybody's? There’s even crazy talk by some about some States seceding from America, starting a civil war, putting the other guys in jail.(OK - some of them should go to jail). But don’t you think that’s all kind of scary? I'm thinking apocalyptic.

But those are just the self-inflicted disasters in our world. Mother Nature also seems set on kicking ass over the last few years, as if she’s trying to compete with our human propensity to self-destruct. The weather this past year has been crazy – hot were it’s supposed to be cold, cold where it’s supposed be hot, cold one day and hot the next, tornadoes galore, snow blizzards, and floods. Dogs and cats living together! There was this thing called an atmospheric river, a whole string of them in fact, that slammed into our west coast this year.

I’m thinking these natural events are probably a sign of apocalyptic things to come. We haven’t had a catastrophic earthquake in a while. This might be the year that one or more of the 160 active volcanos in the U.S. start blowing their tops - maybe even the Yellowstone caldera. Hawaii has already seen some of that kind of thing in the last few months. Oh, and we have hurricane season to look forward to here in Florida.

Apocalyptic? Well, maybe I’m being a little over reactive. The sun still comes up everyday here at our house. I guess I'll just keep writing. My next book, though, is about what happens if all the above happens and/or gets worse.

Banning Books

I suppose you've heard about the big brouhaha over the banning of books in schools and public libraries. Yep, it's true. I don't think there have been any book burnings yet, but the heat is definitely rising on this issue. Of course, there are two diametrically opposed sides in this new movement. The Mothers for Liberty have been successful in getting laws passed to ban books in 25 States, by reason of being "sexually explicit", containing "offensive language", or just "unsuited to any age group". The other side in this volatile debate are suggesting the Mothers of Liberty change their name to the Mothers of Repression.

Well, I believe I have a dog in this hunt. I'm sure my books, at least some of them, qualify to be put on the banned books list. My books include material of a (I think tasteful) sexual nature, a bit of cussing here and there, and who's to say if they're suitable or not? One critic wrote that my latest book, Trouble in Choctaw County, was "racially insensitive" to native-Americans. What I'm beginning to realize is that the books being banned, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Catcher in the Rye, Charlotte's Web, and The Great Gatsby, (all of which I've read - and I think I turned out pretty normal) are enjoying a resurgence in sales. If I can get my books on the banned book list, a lot more people might buy them!

At the risk of sounding political, my casual observation on this issue is - people ought to put a little more effort in making sure they don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'll say no more.

Wait. There is one more thing. I'm sure my novel, Journey to Eden, is a good candidate for being banned. It's about interracial relationships, the horrors of slavery, the decimation of native-Americans, and the poor treatment of immigrants. So, if you're motivated to read banned books, I suggest you read that one and then tell all your friends how inappropriate it was. (Wait, damnit - I don't think there's any foul language in it).

Disasters in Waiting

Before I end my apocalyptic review, I thought I should mention a few additional disasters that are out there waiting in the wings. I'm not trying to be negative. I just think we should be aware of the many ways the sky could begin falling at any moment. Here's a list of things to watch out for:

  • The next global pandemic
  • Terrorist attacks using weaponized smallpox (this is actually occurs in my book, The Eighth Day.
  • The emerging takeover of everything by Artificial Intelligence
  • Global warming
  • The de-extinction of the Wooly Mammoth (heard it on Sunday Morning just this morning). I foresee herds of mammoth stampeding through neighborhoods.

I don't want you to think I'm a Debbie downer. These are things I see in the news everyday and they make for future novels. And I just wanted to share....