Editorial – October 2022: Armageddon Or Bust.

Hello everyone,

There is so much dictator sabre-rattling and even worse across the world right now, you do have to wonder where sanity has gone with specific world-leaders when the world has enough problems. Not just one but a few, some of whom might take advantage of a distraction elsewhere in the world, which has happened last month. It’s more surprising that hasn’t happened yet, but sometimes it can be a waiting game to see the results of the current problem before joining in. A small matter of nations joining together not to mention retaliate if it escalates to a potential nuclear war.

Alas, the worse dictators aren’t considered very sane although not totally insane because they have an understanding of propaganda and how it can be used to mislead or not represent reality, even to their own people. Where the latter is concerned, it can be easily be beaten by comparing to the real reality. Just because something is said, doesn’t mean it is so. General Semantics 101. We need better clarity to ensure such fakery is exposed world-wide so it can’t be used as a tool of war. The physical reality is far worse but not necessarily for one side. It is what happens when the media isn’t watching that can be worrying, more so as most of these countries controls what information gets out on the Internet. There is too much indoctrination to believe the written word. Yes, a lot of it is true and correct but it can be manipulated because of such a belief. Certainly the Net needs a news honesty confirming application looking at all the evidence out there.

Nuclear Armageddon is nothing new in Science Fiction although vastly simplified compared to what happens in reality where international alliances are sought to prevent it, even if its just for supplies. If ever the phrase ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ has bigger meaning now then we are seeing it in practice in picking sides. With dictators collecting on one side, you do have to wonder how long before they turn on each other simply because they can. The toys have changed and updated to the real world but still relies on the WW2 template. Our world will be changed forever whatever the outcome. Oddly, none of which has been reflected in SF. Then again, in SF, writers tend to stop when the initial crisis has been beaten rarely looking at the aftermath. Before anyone mentions book series, they tend to just stretch things out, rarely going beyond the happy ever after which rarely lasts in real life. Nuclear Armageddon solved, let’s find a different problem. Real life doesn’t really stop like that.

The one thing that has kept it at bay in our reality is mutually assured destruction by retaliation. It doesn’t matter how many nuclear warheads each country has, there’s more than enough available to finish off any attacking country several times over. Oddly, there is a thought now that some countries haven’t got the commitment to retaliate, especially if only one tactical nuke is fired and not against them. It isn’t as though the West won’t, its more a desire not to escalate things to the point that they can’t back down or the other side come to that and hitting all targets available. There’s no winner there and even the whims of a dictator might only stray that far when cornered into no other option. The longer that can be prolonged means other solutions can be found. Watch this space as they say.

I’m being careful not to cite particular names or countries because you never know what search engines will be triggered or even who’s monitoring. SFC’s Internet security gets a hammering from some of these countries cyber attackers regularly already without them getting ever more earnest.

Undoubtedly most scenarios have been explored in various war games in our own reality. What it can’t do is anticipate a lunatic hand on the button who has nothing left to lose and not only do such a thing but in what way. It has been hinted that that country’s military might stop it happening but to work that fast in a matter of minutes means a lot of pre-planning. Oddly, this is also considered as one of the reasons why any sentient species out there ends with a nuclear war and we’re just adding to that number if that happens. Not very reassuring.

Of course, some pockets of mankind might survive but with a technology reduced world, contaminated by radiation wouldn’t improve their chances. We’ve been there already. It will also wipe out computer data so treasure books, paper might burn but not all of it and certainly can’t be wiped.

Films have used the scenario of preventing nuclear Armageddon for years and not just in our genre. SF novels, less so. Probably because we would be competing with films and would have to offer something entirely different in terms of solutions. SF works better with a solution that can only work in our genre and there really isn’t any other than looking at the aftermath. The standard scenario is stopping a madmen, often stealing a nuclear weapon and prepared to use it far more than a country’s dictator doing it. It’s conceivable that this could even work in the romance genre which is saying something.

In many respects, the plot is pretty basic so isn’t always experimented with, which is why so many threats of this nature tend to be of a terrorist nature, mostly because who would imagine the leader of a nuclear country doing such a thing? Well, some of the time. Thing is, if this is introduced into new plots now, writers will have at least two dictators to base it off, at least in terms of structure, going through the choices they must be considering. The only way SF could bring it back into the fold is have some extraordinary solution but there isn’t really anything but stop the red button being pressed. The alien intervention scenario would depend on whether extra-terrestrials would want to see an irrational xenophobic sentient species survive or not. Who would you side with?

As I’ve commented in the past, we live in a Science Fiction age now, we can only hope that one of its ‘prophesies’ of nuclear Armageddon and its survivors having a hard time with agriculture isn’t one of its outcomes.

Of course, the other option which is even more devastating without out our co-operation and getting things done now is global warming and hope all of you people outside of the UK get a chance to see the final episode of BBC’s ‘Frozen Earth II’ showing the accelerating global warming thawing the polar caps which is not only jeopardy for the Arctic and Antarctic wildlife but will flood all coastal towns and cities permanently. Think mass population movement for survival or at least for its survivors. Worse, there is no organised preparation for such an eventuality, let any of the other current problems that are contributing to global warming. The NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude won’t make any difference because it will be in your backyard. Afterall, the flood plain will grow on anywhere accessible for the heightened seas to flow through and not just the beach areas. Global Warming Armageddon isn’t restricted to nuclear destruction and even more deadly because it won’t choose who survives.

Earlier generations thought a future generation would have all the solutions and did little to stop global warming. We are now that ‘future generation’ and global warming is the other most likely cause for Man’s reduced population or near extinction. Both will be at our own hands so we have no else to blame for our own stupidity but only rejoice if we can solve it. The causes of nuclear Armageddon might be out of our or most hands, but more action needs to be done to reduce global warming. Not just from us at ground level but from political leaders as well to act responsibly. In the new world that is left after our current dictator crises are resolved, then the actions of countries acting together must continue and find solutions for our global warming crisis before it gets worse than it already is.

A nuclear Armageddon would speed up our global warming and if the first doesn’t destroy enough life, the second will certainly drag out our deaths. Neither scenario, let alone a combined one is anything to look forward to. The only difference to a few generations ago with global warming is we are seeing the results now not hoping it will reveal itself in the future. World leaders take note.

Thank you, take care, good night and hope there’s another day that might be better.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: Where there’s life, there is also death. They live or die hand in hand.

A Zen thought: Half of something is better than half of nothing.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: Looking objectively at the world’s problems and fret. Better now than never.

The Reveal: Humans are dispensable. Nature doesn’t need them for life to continue.

Observation: Isn’t a ‘living zombie’ a contradictory in terms?

Observation: If aliens were on Earth, don’t you think that they might have tried to sell an Interositor or its equivalent on ebay (other auction sites are available)?

Observation: Considering that the spacesuits in ‘Alien’ have cricket pads, did the Nostromo crew play cricket while they were waiting for their cargo to be loaded?

Observation: How can something be ultimate until the next new thing comes along?

A Contemplation: I remembered something one of the SR-71 Blackbird pilots said about two of their supersonic jets rendezvoused in mid-air and sped away from each other recording Mach 6, twice their fastest speed. OK, so what would happen to two spacecraft at near light speed veering away from each other, would they both beat the speed of light? There is a relative answer that I’ll give next month unless you can’t figure it out.

Computer Observation: The latest and biggest upgrade of Windows 11 has made a significant improvement and speed of moving files from directory to directory, not to mention bringing back, albeit only in part, a picture on the directory file icon. So why has Word slowed saving files down when it should be using the same engine?

Feeling Stressed: Resolve to do something nice every day.

 

Killer robot subs with nukes get real.
Killer robot subs with nukes get real.

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