Most chilling Apocalypse novel

Orionblamblam

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It's more than social media, though. It's more the difference between a cubicle drone who drafts things in CAD and a Amish farmer who dropped out of school in eighth grade and has three kids before he's old enough to drink.

It's been a number of years since I read "Machine Stops," but what struck me at the time was:
1) People worked not physically, but in producing online video content. "Lectures" and such.
2) People did not physically interact much, but mostly through video screens.
 

Jemiba

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Please, stop that discussion ! AFAIK, no one of the participants is living in a country, that has made vaccinations
mandatory, so at least this measure is voluntary, which in itself is a political statement by those countries. Probably
many of you are old enough, and coming from countries, where certain vaccinations were given (often to children !)
without possibilities to object. If Covid is regarded as just another form of harmless cold, or a dangerous pandemia,
that has led still yet to about 4.4 million deaths, and made governments closing down public life, may still be private
opinion. But if you mind such measures, you have to tell your government, which makes this whole discussion a
political one, and so inappropriate for this forum.
And, BTW, wasn't the original theme "the most chilling Apocalypse novel" ? So, the only appropriate way, in my
opinion, to bring in Covid here, is to name a novel about Covid. Anybody already knows one ?
 

Orionblamblam

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So, the only appropriate way, in my
opinion, to bring in Covid here, is to name a novel about Covid. Anybody already knows one ?
"One?"

Stephen King might be writing a novel about the coronavirus.


Fourteen Days More…: A Novel about COVID-19


Finding hope in the pandemic: Pathologist pens first novel about COVID-19


Why I wrote a novel about COVID-19


WATCH: Children’s novel about Covid-19 set to launch today


And so on and so forth. It takes maybe thirty seconds before any newsworthy event becomes fodder for literary exercises. Not to say that any of them are actually any *good,* but they exist.
 

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I'm surprised by the number of books on this thread that I own.

Ice by Anna Kavan. The setting is nominally a rapidly accelerating ice age, but like the rogue planet in the film Melancholia, it's a metaphor for the author's own state. In this case, heroin addiction. Imagine Joy Division's 'Exercise One' as the soundtrack.

There's the terminal beach of Wells' The Time Machine.

Olaf Stapledon could be quite brutal. His Last and First Men (probably an inspiration for Memo Kosemen's All Tomorrows) presents billions of years of human evolution, finally culminating in a utopia only for it to decline into degeneration and extinction. He repeats the point in Last Men in London and then in Star Maker, he relegates the whole human saga to one paragraph rather like Carl Sagan's cosmic year in Cosmos in which our history is just a sliver.

British New Wave sf took entropy as its almost universal theme in the magazine New Worlds (a history of the subgenre is even called The Entropy Exhibition). JG Ballard's surrealist dystopias such as The Drowned World (now eerily prescient).

If that gets you down, Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time stories may show an utterly decadent society, but it sure looks like fun.

Illustration by Dick French for The Drowned World.
 

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Orionblamblam

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As an aside: "Star Trek," which of course has many novels, is technically a post-apocalyptic story. The 20th century ends with the Eugenics Wars, the 21st starts off with Colonel Green's War, and the mid-century pops off with World War III.

One of the few works of post-apocalypse where the apocalypse is largely forgotten, in much the same way we've stopped giving a damn about the Black Death and the Napoleonic Wars. Because no matter how bad it gets, if enough people survive with enough resources, and with a substantial profit motive (see: Zephram Cochrane's reason for inventing the warp drive and hauling Earth out of the abyss), things will get better and better.
 

Justo Miranda

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I've read some of these books (Alas, Babylon by Pat frank, 1959) but haven't been able to connect emotionally with the authors' intentions, I just didn't find them realistic enough. On the other hand, the film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfume:_The_Story_of_a_Murderer_ (film) really managed to horrify me. It was not because of the story (based on the well-known biography of a Spanish murderer) but because of the hyperrealistic setting of the society of the time. It is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.
 
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jeffb

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As an aside: "Star Trek," which of course has many novels, is technically a post-apocalyptic story. The 20th century ends with the Eugenics Wars, the 21st starts off with Colonel Green's War, and the mid-century pops off with World War III.

One of the few works of post-apocalypse where the apocalypse is largely forgotten, in much the same way we've stopped giving a damn about the Black Death and the Napoleonic Wars. Because no matter how bad it gets, if enough people survive with enough resources, and with a substantial profit motive (see: Zephram Cochrane's reason for inventing the warp drive and hauling Earth out of the abyss), things will get better and better.

As a related aside: I still haven't figured out yet exactly how Zephram Cochrane was planning to make money out of a faster-than-light drive when he was living in a post apocalyptic world?
 
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Orionblamblam

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As a related aside: I still haven't figured out yet exactly how Zephram Cochrane was planning to make money out of a faster-than-light drive when he was living in a post apocalyptic world?

It's unclear just how post apocalyptic it was. Note that he didn't say he "took trains", but that he "takes trains." As opposed to flying. So trains and aviation are still functioning infrastructure at the time (and it's established that the US is sending manned missions to Mars and beyond at the time). And the total death toll of World War II is remarkably light. Apparently the currently accepted timeline has the war lasting from 2026 to 2056 and killed six hundred million; as global thermonuclear wars go, that's incredibly protracted and incredibly low in the death tolls. It could well be that those numbers are also concentrated in, say, India or China or the Middle East, as that's roughly where Khans empire would have been. The rest of the world, including the US, could have been simply plunged into a depression, rather than bombed into radioactive gravel, with only a relatively few cities nuked (San Francisco seemed to survived completely intact).
 

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Greg Bear's "Blood Music" and "Forge of God" were pretty good.
Recommend Blood Music also, horrific tale of nanotechnology gone wrong. I always wanted to see a movie of BM, but the ending would be very bizarre.
 

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Surprised Caliphate hasn't come up yet.
 

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Hands down, The Book of Revelation, aka The Apocalypse of John - after all, it's the oeuvre that started the whole genre. Even though it's more a far out short story than a novel, the utter misery and global carnage packed into just a few pages is truly staggering. Each time you think things really can't get any worse, guess what - they do, by a lot. Of course, it's also the original source of a lot of common doomsday memes, like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I have no idea what John was on when he wrote this doozie, but man, I sure wouldn't want to partake in that...
There's a theory that Revelations was written as a joke, so that the Christians could have a good giggle over a story which trash-talked Rome, an empire which wasn't exactly the best of friends with the early Church. The references are there if you know where to look and what you're looking for. The question to ask is possibly not what John was on when he wrote it, but how many times he wet himself laughing over the private jokes he was putting in.

That being said, props to the first Christian film company that does a REALLY good job on the CGI necessary to bring this one to life.
 

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As a related aside: I still haven't figured out yet exactly how Zephram Cochrane was planning to make money out of a faster-than-light drive when he was living in a post apocalyptic world?

It's unclear just how post apocalyptic it was. Note that he didn't say he "took trains", but that he "takes trains." As opposed to flying. So trains and aviation are still functioning infrastructure at the time (and it's established that the US is sending manned missions to Mars and beyond at the time). And the total death toll of World War II is remarkably light. Apparently the currently accepted timeline has the war lasting from 2026 to 2056 and killed six hundred million; as global thermonuclear wars go, that's incredibly protracted and incredibly low in the death tolls. It could well be that those numbers are also concentrated in, say, India or China or the Middle East, as that's roughly where Khans empire would have been. The rest of the world, including the US, could have been simply plunged into a depression, rather than bombed into radioactive gravel, with only a relatively few cities nuked (San Francisco seemed to survived completely intact).

Hmmm.

The war started in 2026 over the issue of genetic manipulation and Human genome enhancement, and lasted until approximately 2053. It resulted in the death of some six hundred million Humans. By the end, most of the major cities had been destroyed and there were few governments left.

Most of the major cities suggests (to me) 80% of cities with current populations over 5m. That's way more than 600m globally based on current numbers. Would maybe make sense if the global population had already shrunk considerably from its current levels.

Interestingly, if you destroyed most of the world's current major cities (with current pop. of 10m+ inhabitants) you'd account for ~600m people in total while simultaneously decapitating a lot of national governments. Spaced out over 30 years doesn't make much sense though, unless your agenda was specifically to wreck (and keep wrecking) the global economy every time it looked like getting on it's feet again. San Francisco + San Jose is currently 9.7m (SF on it's own is 4.7m) so too small to bother with and not a major economic center.

But I can't imagine that wouldn't at least cause a massive worldwide economic collapse, famine, etc.

Maybe "apocalyptic" is too strong a description for the state of the world in the ST universe.
 

Orionblamblam

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Maybe "apocalyptic" is too strong a description for the state of the world in the ST universe.

Probably wisely, Star Trek never delved too deeply into the back story. Because a cop show set in 1990's Los Angeles is hardly likely to spend a lot of time yammering on about the Thirty Years War or the Justinian Plague. And the bulk of what is "known" about the major wars in ST's past come from beta canon (the novels), and that can be over-written in a heatbeat.

However, a few things can be pieced together:
1: Earth culture by the time of TOS is heavily slanted towards American Standard. Star Trek: TOS is often wrongly accused of having a very multi-cultural bridge crew... but it doesn't. It has a multi-*ethnic* bridge (and ship) crew, but everyone speaks English clearly and has standards that basically align with Good Americanism. This implies that the United States has had an outsized influence on the world through the 23rd century.
2: the pilot episode of ST:TNG includes Q producing a replica of a post-apocalyptic "courtroom," complete with drug-sniffing soldiers and floating hangin' judge. The humans crew who see this recognize it, so apparently it's accurate, and does indicate that things turned to Mad Maxian crap after WWIII.

Put the two together: The US survived and thrived. Somewhere else... didn't. There's a mix of European and Asian ethnicities and cultural influences in the courtroom, so perhaps what we're seeing is a region populated by Europeans, conquered by the Chinese, bombed into gravel. Possibly Paris? How else to explain why the French in the 24th century speak with English accents and spout Shakespeare? Because they were largely wiped out and then colonized by the English, who then went native... kinda.

The US after WWIII had an impressive economic depression. But somewhere else, likely much of Eurasia, went straight down the crapper. Had the Vulcans not been wandering by at that moment, or Cochrane's ship kerploded in the silo, then Earths reconstruction likely would have taken far longer. Imagine WWII ending up with all of Europe including Britain, Scandinavia and Switzerland being as bombed out as Dresden, and the US looking at that mess and saying "y'all are on yer own."
 

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However, a few things can be pieced together:
1: Earth culture by the time of TOS is heavily slanted towards American Standard. Star Trek: TOS is often wrongly accused of having a very multi-cultural bridge crew... but it doesn't. It has a multi-*ethnic* bridge (and ship) crew, but everyone speaks English clearly and has standards that basically align with Good Americanism. This implies that the United States has had an outsized influence on the world through the 23rd century.
2: the pilot episode of ST:TNG includes Q producing a replica of a post-apocalyptic "courtroom," complete with drug-sniffing soldiers and floating hangin' judge. The humans crew who see this recognize it, so apparently it's accurate, and does indicate that things turned to Mad Maxian crap after WWIII.

1. Well no. The Star Fleet "Academy" is located in San Fransisco. Crew members spend a number of years training there so naturally they have all been 'Americanized' ('California-ized'?) to a greater or lesser degree. That doesn't imply that the US came through the War better or worse than anyone else.

2. Yes, they all recognize the court room scene. But again, that doesn't imply it isn't a US court room scene.
 

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As an aside: "Star Trek," which of course has many novels, is technically a post-apocalyptic story. The 20th century ends with the Eugenics Wars, the 21st starts off with Colonel Green's War, and the mid-century pops off with World War III.

One of the few works of post-apocalypse where the apocalypse is largely forgotten, in much the same way we've stopped giving a damn about the Black Death and the Napoleonic Wars. Because no matter how bad it gets, if enough people survive with enough resources, and with a substantial profit motive (see: Zephram Cochrane's reason for inventing the warp drive and hauling Earth out of the abyss), things will get better and better.

As a related aside: I still haven't figured out yet exactly how Zephram Cochrane was planning to make money out of a faster-than-light drive when he was living in a post apocalyptic world?
Maybe he just wanted to get to the stars?
 

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As an aside: "Star Trek," which of course has many novels, is technically a post-apocalyptic story. The 20th century ends with the Eugenics Wars, the 21st starts off with Colonel Green's War, and the mid-century pops off with World War III.

One of the few works of post-apocalypse where the apocalypse is largely forgotten, in much the same way we've stopped giving a damn about the Black Death and the Napoleonic Wars. Because no matter how bad it gets, if enough people survive with enough resources, and with a substantial profit motive (see: Zephram Cochrane's reason for inventing the warp drive and hauling Earth out of the abyss), things will get better and better.

As a related aside: I still haven't figured out yet exactly how Zephram Cochrane was planning to make money out of a faster-than-light drive when he was living in a post apocalyptic world?
Maybe he just wanted to get to the stars?

In the movie he says he's doing it for the money. IIRC, the plan is to make a zillion, retire to Fiji and spend the money on booze and scantily dress broads (hardly dystopian:D).
 
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To return to the main theme of the thread, I'm going to cheat a little here and add a couple of movies:

Children of Men - Alfonso Cuarón's *amazing* adaptation of the P.D. James novel of the same name where humanity has lost the ability to reproduce, and:

Soylent Green - The possibly prescient tale of an overcrowded Earth at the end of it's ecological tether which is based (loosely) on the novel "Make Room! Make Room!", by Harry Harrison, and which stars Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson in his last role.

Both terrifyingly apocolyptic futures.
 
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Orionblamblam

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1. Well no. The Star Fleet "Academy" is located in San Fransisco. Crew members spend a number of years training there so naturally they have all been 'Americanized' ('California-ized'?) to a greater or lesser degree. That doesn't imply that the US came through the War better or worse than anyone else.


The fact that San Francisco survives intact to the 23rd century is a hint. Other regions of the US are mentioned and, while not shown, the fact that such cities, states and regions still exist and do so with their environments and local cultures intact is also indicative that the US didn't get wholly trashed. I *believe* that references have been made to important artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum surviving into the future, and if D.C. got nuked, the NASM would, sadly, be one of the first things to go. And, shoot, what's the point of nuking the US if you don't nuke D.C.?

The Ferengi make pilgrimages to Wall Street in NYC because of course they do. Hard to do, of course, if NYC got pasted.
 

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1. Well no. The Star Fleet "Academy" is located in San Fransisco. Crew members spend a number of years training there so naturally they have all been 'Americanized' ('California-ized'?) to a greater or lesser degree. That doesn't imply that the US came through the War better or worse than anyone else.


The fact that San Francisco survives intact to the 23rd century is a hint. Other regions of the US are mentioned and, while not shown, the fact that such cities, states and regions still exist and do so with their environments and local cultures intact is also indicative that the US didn't get wholly trashed. I *believe* that references have been made to important artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum surviving into the future, and if D.C. got nuked, the NASM would, sadly, be one of the first things to go. And, shoot, what's the point of nuking the US if you don't nuke D.C.?

The Ferengi make pilgrimages to Wall Street in NYC because of course they do. Hard to do, of course, if NYC got pasted.

Maybe they rebuilt. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thriving cities today.

Edit: Isn't there another branch/campus/what-have-you of the NASM out west somewhere?
 

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As an aside: "Star Trek," which of course has many novels, is technically a post-apocalyptic story. The 20th century ends with the Eugenics Wars, the 21st starts off with Colonel Green's War, and the mid-century pops off with World War III.

One of the few works of post-apocalypse where the apocalypse is largely forgotten, in much the same way we've stopped giving a damn about the Black Death and the Napoleonic Wars. Because no matter how bad it gets, if enough people survive with enough resources, and with a substantial profit motive (see: Zephram Cochrane's reason for inventing the warp drive and hauling Earth out of the abyss), things will get better and better.

As a related aside: I still haven't figured out yet exactly how Zephram Cochrane was planning to make money out of a faster-than-light drive when he was living in a post apocalyptic world?
Maybe he just wanted to get to the stars?

In the movie he says he's doing it for the money. IIRC, the plan is to make a zillion, retire to Fiji and spend the money on booze and scantily dress broads (hardly dystopian:D).
Been too long since I saw that flick - besides, I’m an original Trek kinda guy.
 

Orionblamblam

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Maybe they rebuilt. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thriving cities today.

I don't know that they're the same cities they were before they got some canned sunshine. San Fran gets nuked to oblivion, *maybe* the Golden gate gets rebuilt, but the Transamerica Pyramid?

Edit: Isn't there another branch/campus/what-have-you of the NASM out west somewhere?

According to the documentary "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," the NASM Udvar-Hazy facility opens up directly onto the boneyard at Davis-Monthan.

Checks out.
 

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Maybe they rebuilt. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thriving cities today.

I don't know that they're the same cities they were before they got some canned sunshine. San Fran gets nuked to oblivion, *maybe* the Golden gate gets rebuilt, but the Transamerica Pyramid?

Edit: Isn't there another branch/campus/what-have-you of the NASM out west somewhere?

According to the documentary "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," the NASM Udvar-Hazy facility opens up directly onto the boneyard at Davis-Monthan.

Checks out.
LOL. Completely checks out... :D I love that documentary!

Sadly, that's probably where I'm remembering it from. :rolleyes:

No, I was thinking they could have rebuilt D.C. and NY because you're right, they might rebuild a damaged Golden Gate, but I don't think they'd bother with the Transamerica Pyramid. Trying to remember if you ever actually see D.C. or NY in any of the subsequent series... Does L.A. get a mention?
 

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No, I was thinking they could have rebuilt D.C. and NY because you're right, they might rebuild a damaged Golden Gate, but I don't think they'd bother with the Transamerica Pyramid.

In reality, TaliBuddies 1.0 knocked down the World Trade Center and a few other buildings... and *none* of them were rebuilt. Nuke a whole modern city and the likelihood of anything being rebuilt as it was is minimal. The city may get rebuilt, will probably use much of the same layout for roads and sewers and such (assuming no ground impact cratering), but the actual skyline? Completely different.

Trying to remember if you ever actually see D.C. or NY in any of the subsequent series... Does L.A. get a mention?

I don't think so. London is shown in the second JJVerse Trek movie, if you stoop to considering those things as actual Star Trek movies.

New York City is mentioned a few times. The TNG episode that re-introduced the Romulans had a frozen New Yorker; when her family is looked up, there are briefly shown birth records of several generations of New Yorkers during and after the period of WWIII.

There's the two-parter VOY episode where the crew wanders the streets of circa 1997 Los Angeles. Note that this is taking place during the Eugenics Wars or shortly thereafter, and Los Angeles looks perfectly normal.

Note: Play whackamole in New York City (or any other city) with megaton class nukular whoopass, and you're not rebuilding.

Dc3ZaHiX4AA_Blc


Dc3ZcO-WsAAL6me
 

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In reality, TaliBuddies 1.0 knocked down the World Trade Center and a few other buildings... and *none* of them were rebuilt. Nuke a whole modern city and the likelihood of anything being rebuilt as it was is minimal. The city may get rebuilt, will probably use much of the same layout for roads and sewers and such (assuming no ground impact cratering), but the actual skyline? Completely different.

Yeah, but that's largely architect egos, they never rebuild something else if they get the opportunity to build their own design. Personally I always thought they should have rebuilt the towers, the message to the country and the rest of the world would have been much stronger, but nope. Always makes me sad now when I see a movie made in pre-2001 NY.

I think whether or not they rebuild a city comes down to whether or not there's an economic imperative for a city in that location. If there is, they rebuild, if they can, because that need is still there. If there isn't, everyone just moves on to where there is.

Also, newer nuke designs, as I understand the art, are much cleaner now. Possibly rebuilding over the top isn't as difficult as it might have been with earlier designs.
 
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Yeah, but that's largely architect egos, they never rebuild something else if they get the opportunity to build their own design.

Point being: the San Francisco of the 23rd Century is basically 20th century San Francisco with added stuff. There are recognizable landmarks remaining, stuff unlikely to be rebuilt just for giggles or ego. Thus: San Francisco at least is unlikely to have gotten pounded. Similarly, the Eiffel Tower is shown standing in multiple Trek scenes; I suppose the French - or their English overlords - might have rebuilt it if it had gotten nuked. That structure seems particularly unlikely to withstand a nearby nuke popping off.


I think whether or not they rebuild a city comes down to whether or not there's an economic imperceptive for a city in that location. If there is, they rebuild, if they can, because that need is still there. If there isn't, everyone just moves on to where there is.

Major cities get nuked with corresponding major population loss, there's not going to be much incentive or ability to rebuild. If, say, NYC got nuked off the map, taking the entire population of NYC with it: what possible reason would there be to spend the trillions needed to rebuild it?
 

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My very basic understanding of these things is that the biggest effector of contamination is the type of detonation with surface and sub surface detonation being the most contaminating of methods while aerial detonation is less so. IIRC, the Hiroshima weapon was detonated at 500' so the blast effect was possibly greater but contamination less so. Taking the line that it is harder for any enemy to deal with mass casualties rather than the victims just being dead and shifted into mass graves.

Added. https://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/?p=83796

Aproximately 2,000' rather than 500'.
 
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Re Star Trek, we know from a certain bearded XO that there are 600 million dead and that infrastructure such as the Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge* and trains survive. So perhaps the ECON used "neutron bombs" to deplete the population while leaving buildings (relatively) intact for an invasion that never materialized (presumably because of counter-attack that was far more effective than the ECON were anticipating)?

*Stupid Breen!
 

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Yeah, but that's largely architect egos, they never rebuild something else if they get the opportunity to build their own design.

Point being: the San Francisco of the 23rd Century is basically 20th century San Francisco with added stuff. There are recognizable landmarks remaining, stuff unlikely to be rebuilt just for giggles or ego. Thus: San Francisco at least is unlikely to have gotten pounded. Similarly, the Eiffel Tower is shown standing in multiple Trek scenes; I suppose the French - or their English overlords - might have rebuilt it if it had gotten nuked. That structure seems particularly unlikely to withstand a nearby nuke popping off.


I think whether or not they rebuild a city comes down to whether or not there's an economic imperceptive for a city in that location. If there is, they rebuild, if they can, because that need is still there. If there isn't, everyone just moves on to where there is.

Major cities get nuked with corresponding major population loss, there's not going to be much incentive or ability to rebuild. If, say, NYC got nuked off the map, taking the entire population of NYC with it: what possible reason would there be to spend the trillions needed to rebuild it?

I think it's hard to say that it's that cut and dried. A large proportion of the population may get taken out in an attack, but the cities get rebuilt and repopulated anyway. Not just the examples I gave before of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but Tokyo, Nagoya and the other laundry list of 20 odd Japanese cities and their populations that were fire bombed to ash by LeMay. They all got rebuilt.
 

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On nuclear apocalypse
It depend on Time and need what to attack

The Soviet main US Targets in 1960 were: Washington D.C, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
While USA had long target list (SIOP) were a least 3 Nukes had to "delivered" on Enemy targets
This was because Soviet lack of ICBM what later let to 1962 Cuba Crisis.
from here the USSR increased their Stockpile to Level that Nuclear War would be, The end of World.

In My 1961 Nuclear War scenario (what i posed in Alternate History Section in SPF)
The Soviet fire hand full R-7 and R-16 on USA follow by bombers and Submarines, simultaneous USA their arsenal under SIOP.
While Europa, USSR and China got annihilate, Survive USA with narrow margin.
The East coast Washington D.C and New York got hit by each two ICBM warheads
Follow by bombers that use a gap in air defence and attack other cities at east coast like Boston or Philadelphia
Chicago "the lucky City" survive because the R-7 explode after launch while, the R-16 impacted in lake Michigan.
Los Angeles was hit by two ICBMs, later nicknamed "Lost Angeles" ( "Last Vegas" that was hit by L.A. fallout)
Seattle and Vancouver were hit by Soviet Bombers

After War the decontamination and rebuilding former cities took decades.
In mean time other cities became more dominant and Important as destroyed ones.
Like Chicago that became the cultural, financial, and media capital of USA.
Greater San Diego, San Fernando and San Francisco took over role Los Angeles had before WW3.
While Detroit, Metroplex and St Louis got increase in population from refugees from East coast.
Even Washington D.C. got replaced by Charleston D.C. and 1976 by new planned city Jefferson D.C. in Colorado.

I think in Star Trek universe happen similar to San Francisco after there WW3...
 

Orionblamblam

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I think it's hard to say that it's that cut and dried. A large proportion of the population may get taken out in an attack, but the cities get rebuilt and repopulated anyway. Not just the examples I gave before of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but Tokyo, Nagoya and the other laundry list of 20 odd Japanese cities and their populations that were fire bombed to ash by LeMay. They all got rebuilt.

Japan and Germany were bombed into gravel and then rebuilt. But they got rebuilt in large part with American dollars. Look at East Germany, though: a good deal of it was *still* a wreck when reunification happened. Now, in a global World War III where *nobody* is an economic powerhouse like the US after WWII... who's going to do the rebuilding?

It'll *eventually* happen, but in a lot of cases, especially radioactive ruins, cities will simply be abandoned.

In Babylon 5, there was no World War III, no nuclear apocalypse. However, San Diego was nuked by terrorists... and then permanently abandoned. Even though the rest of the US/North America/Da World was intact, the city was simply left to rot.

And then, of course, there's Gotham City...
 

uk 75

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The Star Trek Original Series history of the world is an amusing glimpse of 1960s concerns about the future.
Most memorable are the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s which cover a large part of the world and one of whose dictators, Khan, escapes in a sleeper spaceship, another popular 60s idea.
A later ruthless would be dictator called Colonel Green unleashes a later war.
As if that was not enough Spock lists casualty figures for an apparently different World War 3.
Later versions of Star Trek try to sort out this strange history but as with most things Trek I am happy to leave it at the original TV series.
Space 1999 which is a Brit attempt to do sort of Star Trek in the 70s by hurling the Moon out of Earth orbit refers to a nuclear attack on Switzerland in the 1980s.
Dr Who the British Sci Fi come Soap Opera TV institution has steered clear of World War 3 so far.
A despot named Lee Kwan is mentioned in a list of Earth dictators. His name seems very similar to a 60s.PM of Singapore.
 

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The Star Trek Original Series history of the world is an amusing glimpse of 1960s concerns about the future.

Star Trek: TOS is a good example of why, if you have a hope in hell of your sci-fi stories having any sort of lifespan, you should avoid the near-ish future. I imagine most of the people working on TOS figured it would be as forgotten as any other sci-fi series inside of ten years. This was of course before incessant re-runs and mass popularity via syndication, so it was reasonable to expect that Trek would be forgotten by the Nineties. But more than fifty years later, here we are, with ten major motion pictures, six sequel series (TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, LD) and a host of fan-films and anti-fan series and movies.

"Demolition Man" had it worse. A movie from 1993 posited Los Angles completely up in flames by 1996, with cryogenic "prisons" Yeah, that very quickly didn't happen.
 

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Demolition Man seems to have gotten more right than Star Trek (can you imagine anyone going to Alpha Centauri over the weekend in their own hyperspace runabout versus being a gig economy worker in a capitalist corporate dystopia where all fast food consolidated into Taco Bell?), but all science fiction is just a reflection of the historical context of its era, so that's to be expected.

Star Trek is "expansion into space liberates everyone from material needs and catapults us into a utopia" because it's pretty optimistic about the future, because it's a utopic science fiction about expanding into space, which itself is pretty utopian. TNG and Blade Runner are basically opposite sides of the same coin: one says we will overcome the problems of the present day and be better for it in the future, the other says the problems of the present day are ultimately the problems of the future, just different within context.

Demolition Man is a dystopian look into a city-state's future dominated by corporations, strange and petty laws (robo-fines via voice recognition for saying "ass" in real life lol), and aversion to physical and emotional violence ultimately unable to police itself from its own creator I guess? It's not particularly smart because it's an action movie with Sly and Wesley Snipes (and that's obviously the focus), but it has some moments of humorous and poignant comment that wouldn't be out of place in a world where a online bookstore is snapping up department stores and supermarkets like a new age Standard Oil.

Since Demolition Man is 30 years newer than Star Trek it will predict things better than Star Trek though, and feel more modern, like how Event Horizon is pretty modern. Even the Matrix sidesteps the one possible pitfall with the opening twist. One day they will be just as quaint as TOS I guess, but they're still pretty fresh for now, like how Star Trek was still pretty fresh in the '70's and '80's.

And then you get the really rare gems like Outland which remain fresh despite being almost as old as Star Trek (and despite remaking an older film). Personally I can't wait to use lever action shotguns on Io to break up a steroid smuggling dope ring.
 
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Orionblamblam

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Demolition Man seems to have gotten more right than Star Trek

Yep. The world John Spartan wakes up into is one of woke weaklings reveling in their uselessness. As the alt-right free cis-hetero-normatative patriarchal mansplainer in the movie states:

I'm the enemy. Cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kind if guy who wants to sit in a greasy spoon and think, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, butter and buckets of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in a non-smoking section. I wanna run through the streets naked with green Jello all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to. Okay, pal? I've seen the future, you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sittin' around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake singing "I'm an Oscar-Meyer Wiener".

There are questions in need of answering in the "Demolition Man" universe. The claim is made that the event that allowed the San Angeles culture to be so completely upended was a major earthquake. OK, fine. You *assume* that it's just a bog-standard but big California earthquake. But the only way to really explain it was that the quake was the seismic shock of a massive asteroid impact on the far side of the planet (or possibly Yellowstone going off). The quake that shook down south-central California was actually much weaker than it was pretty much everywhere else on the planet. San Angeles was able to rebuild (likely via the use of slave labor, expended when no longer required), while at least the rest of North America was essentially scraped clean of any meaningful human population. There's no other way to explain how you can have such a rich society of fantastically helpless people and have them *not* overrun by the first drug cartel to come along.

"Demolition Man:" Secret Apocalypse.

"Demolition Man 2," set decades later, would have had John Spartan setting out across the cursed wastelands of America in search of other civilization, eventually running into the vast walls of Mega City One where the Washington/NYC/Boston corridor used to be.
 

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There are questions in need of answering in the "Demolition Man" universe.

Boy, you got that right. Where did the investment come from? You don't build a woke utopia like San Angeles without lots and lots of money. And it's mostly public investment as well otherwise the above ground San Angeles would look like the below ground version with only pockets of woke utopia. Whole thing winds up looking like a very expensive gated community - that runs from San Francisco to San Diego.

Frankly, the Robocop future seems more likely.
 

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