A few years ago, I was dragging myself through another existential crisis and found myself sitting on the end of a wooden pier dangling my feet in the cooling waters of Lough Derg plunk in the middle of Ireland. I'd gone for a walk along the lake-shore with a friend and I'd been moaning on about me and what my future entailed. When our feet were good and cold and I'd cooled down a bit he asked "Well, what would you do if I gave you a million dollars?" he'd worked in HR for a merchant bank before cashing it all in for the Good Life in rural Ireland and this was the sort of question HR chaps use to cut through the anxieties and constraints that normal people shackle themselves with. "I'd give it straight back" I answered before I could think of anything clever to say. As a knee-jerk response it was close to being true because, although I've not made much progress in de-cluttering my life, I am fully aware that more stuff is not any sort of solution and I can't think of what else to do with $million$. Stuff-free uses like going to see Macchu Picchu have no attraction for an Agassist like me.
When I was young, about the time I was reading Heinlein, or a bit before, I ate my way through the works of John Wyndham, a very English author of social science-fiction as opposed to space-cruiser and hyper-drive science fiction. John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was born on 10th July 1903 and you can see why he might have dumped 2/3rds of his name for his nom de plume - not enough room on the spine of his books for the whole clan. Writing in the 1950s, when Armageddon seemed to be scheduled for next Tuesday, a lot of his fiction took a look at various post-apocalyptic worlds. The best of them for a 12 year old born in the middle of that decade was The Day of the Triffids. Here's the plot:
- triffids are three-legged walking plants, probably genetically-engineered by the Russkies, which are cultivated as a source of oil; they have a lethal sting, so need to be kept on ranches
- bloke gets a splat of triffid venom in his eye and needs to be hospitalised
- the night after his sight-saving operation a star-wars scenario goes wrong and everyone who has looked up at the night sky wakes up blind
- bloke wakes up un-blind, hooks up with a bunch of other (good) sighted people and avoids other groups of (bad) sighted people
- most of the white-hats avoid getting killed by triffids, almost everyone else dies as society collapses and escaped triffids stalk (!) the land
Having spent the last nearly 40 years in training, I'm almost ready for Future 3. Bring it on.