An interview between myself and Danny de Gracia. Excerpt follows:
The last few months have revived memories of Cold War nuclear tensions, first with Russian bombers spectacularly challenging our ADIZ in Guam and now with the brinkmanship going on between the divided Koreas. For a perspective on nuclear tension, political leadership in times of crisis (or lack thereof) and Armageddon scenarios, I took the time to connect with the author of the post-apocalyptic thriller As I Walk These Broken Roads
Davis M.J. Aurini.
In Aurini’s book, a future nuclear war gouges out human civilization and leaves survivors in an irradiated aftermath to fend for themselves and put back together what remains of their broken culture amidst bandits and harsh elements. What is now speculative science fiction may soon become reality the way our leaders are running the show. Aurini shares some insights I know you’ll enjoy:
Me: Davis, I understand that you are working on sequel to your post-nuclear fiction, As I Walk These Broken Roads. I can’t help but ask, but the current events that have been going on lately – meteor explosions, comet flybys, Russian bombers over Guam, America actually now in the middle of sequestration, bank runs in Europe, the works – are some of these changing the way you view the world and maybe the ways that human civilization could trend towards the kind of disaster we saw in As I Walk These Broken Roads?
Davis Aurini: One thing I’ve realized is that Broken Roads though ostensibly set a century from now, following a nuclear war is in many ways set in today’s world. The best and brightest men of our generation are adrift – “behave like women, or get fired from your job” the HR harassment industry tells them – so either they suppress their souls or walk away. Culturally we’ve lost our spirit, the mass consumption of Hollywood pap being the closest thing we have to a culture (and no, Iron Man 3 is not a cultural r’aison d’être). Technologically we’re in the same boat as people mistake the latest gizmo for technological progress when we’ve forgotten the fundamental premises. Take replaceable parts, for instance. The charge adapter for the iPhone phone is incompatible with the iPhone 3!
The Broken Roads series ultimately ends with a social and technological upsurge from its equivalent to the Millennial Generation – maybe if we’re lucky we’ll see the same.
Me: We have an interesting inversion going on in the world stage. What used to be formerly among the poorest countries in the world are now developing into some of the most successful and prosperous states, and on the other hand you have the West slipping into fiscal ruin and social chaos. You’re a historian, what’s going on here, exactly?
Davis: We’ve grown fat and lazy. People in the third world have grown up with the philosophy of “Life sucks, then you die.” While the occasional tyrant or dictator gets a following (contrast: American robber barons during her most prosperous years), most people have no time for ideologues. They’d rather act.
Compare to what’s happening in America today: half of the population are asking for communism, despite its obvious historical failures. The other half is asking for “capitalism” – despite the fact that it’s degenerated into garbage entertainment, fast-food, and lobbying.
People in the third world are focussed on improving themselves, their families, their cultures, and the infrastructures of their countries, instead of burning them down to feed entitlements and pie-in-the-sky theorizing – sins which are present on both sides of the political divide.
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