Armageddon

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“There are still wars, of course. New wars brought about by the different claims on land that used to be empty, but now are the only places suitable for habitation. Most of these are in the tundras of the north; Siberia, Outer Mongolia, Alaska, and around the Hudson Bay. There are refugees everywhere. Greenland is fully inhabited once again, but now by a thriving, excitable Mediterranean populace, and they are defending it assiduously from some rather half-hearted Caribbean invaders, totally grid-locked and spaced-out amongst the floating ice-bergs.

“The longest running war is still the Arab-Israeli conflict. There is little hope of it ever being settled. The whole of the Middle East is full of refugees from Africa, trying to make their way north to more temperate zones, where they are blocked by the last remnants of Balkan and Russian militia. They hate the dry rocky deserts, everywhere there are stones underfoot, and there is no prospect of finding any space to settle and cultivate that isn’t already occupied by Arab tribes or fenced off by the Israelis.

“The latter are now more or less besieged, trapped behind the monstrous Wall they had built around themselves to keep everyone else out. Israel is now hemmed in, bombed to bits and dying on its feet.

“The Mediterranean sea is slowly encroaching from the west; the Gaza Strip was overwhelmed some years ago, with Palestinian refugees streaming down into the fierce heat of Egypt. America, Europe, China and Russia kept their distance, bunkered down in their own lands, trying to deal with their own problems of catastrophe and lawlessness. They would not intervene for fear of total, and final, World collapse.

“Unbelievably, despite the chaos and destruction, Oodles is still making money! The communications satellites are still circling the Earth, and the mobile aerials, wi-fi hotspots and fibre-optics are the first things to be installed in the hastily constructed new cities of concrete, steel, plastic, canvas or corrugated tin.

“With their embedded terminals, it is the only way the Ordinaries can get any news of the outside world, though it is heavily censored and manipulated to avoid panic. It is the only way they can keep in touch with their friends and relatives, increasingly dispersed around the globe, as they are herded into the new cities and refugee camps. Goods and supplies are flown in by drones, a constant buzz in the skies above, giving them little incentive to move from their shoddy apartments, tents or caves, until the next emergency, environmental catastrophe, or military crisis. What is left of the local Governments hastily try to keep one step ahead and start construction projects further north, or less readily, further south.

“Lots of people are lost in the process, by war, catastrophe and disease. But the Ordinaries are subdued and de-sensitised by the continual flow of mock experience via the Substitutes, virtual dramas, and computer-generated thrills, beamed direct into their heads, and they reject any opposition or revolt in case they lose even that. The World population is diminishing rapidly through warfare, disasters and people’s lack of desire to procreate. Subconsciously, they know there is no future for their children. Their desires are projected inwards to the ersatz Oodles experience. It is too late for them to right the wrongs that have been perpetrated in the name of “Progress”, “Consumerism”, “Growth” and “Free Enterprise”.

“But we are determined to put a stop to it, even if we die in the process. Someone has to stand up to Oodles and its web of lies, false promises, and insidious control. We will destroy the local “Cloud”, come what may. Hillsy and McGill are making explosives from the recipes I downloaded from some long-forgotten archive on the Web, and Hodges and McGilly are out rounding up the rest of the Rebels and telling them of our plans. Tom and Maddie, of course, are nowhere to be seen, probably mooning about on the Heath, but they are our future, and we will take them with us. May the Cosmos give us speed.”

(PKD’s Blog #4)

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