Review: The Forge Of God by Greg Bear

I just finished reading Greg Bear’s The Forge Of God, and this is my review.

 

Description :

On September 28th, a geologist working in Death valley finds a mysterious new cinder cone in very well-mapped area.

On October 1st, the government of Australia announces the discovery of an enormous granite mountain. Like the cinder cone, it wasn’t there six months ago….

Something is happening to Planet Earth, and the truth is too terrifying to consider….

 

Spoilers Ahead.

 

This book started well enough with a strange first contact scenario involving fake volcanoes, and their odd artificial lifeforms appearing around the world. One tells a story warning of impending disaster, the others act as intergalactic welcoming committee. It’s not long after that the human characters start to realize they are being deliberately deceived. When confronted with the suspicion, the more positive messengers self destruct. Months before, Europa went completely missing, only to be later found in chunks that will eventually impact on Mars and Venus.

 

Slowly, officials in the government realize they have no power to stop what’s coming, nor to control a panicking populace. The fake cinder cones are destroyed by some countries, but in the end they aren’t the tools of our demise. Their destruction means nothing. Two super-dense objects (one is made of antimatter) are shot down into the Earth’s core, slowly spinning until they meet and annihilate. This is in essence the ticking countdown until it all ends. There is also mention of bombs being planted in deep ocean trenches by the hostile machines.

 

Throughout the book, we get the perspective of several characters, a family man/ astrophysicist, a biologist, a geologist, a journalist, and more. We spend most of our time with the first, mainly showing his love for his family and for his close friend who has cancer. We see the man go from being consulted by the government and helping to decipher the events that transpire, while struggling to keep his family safe. Eventually coming to the realization that no one is safe, and that there is nothing he can do. We watch the man go from calm and collected to sinking acceptance of what is happening.

 

You’d think all is completely lost at this point, until silvery spider-like robots show up. They begin possessing people, connecting them to a ‘network’ in order to collect history records, parts of our culture, animals, plants, etc. Some of the POV characters are taken into this network by the spiders, and apparently they are machines sent by another alien race to help us. They state they are too late to save our world, but can save our history, culture, and just two thousand people with their ships. These benefactors also state that they’ve been following this other race of planet-eaters and rescuing other species for a while.

 

Climatic changes began to take effect around the globe, mainly in the form of wildfires. Relentless earthquakes begin breaking the continents apart, and numerous tsunamis decimate coastlines. There are some incredibly written scenes of the final destruction of Earth in this book, especially those involving some of the characters. Most of them end up perishing in the final moments. The sense of powerlessness against the alien mechanisms that doom the world is a real presence throughout, and each character has to find their on way of coping.

 

At the last moment, the ark-ships escape from Earth’s oceans, taking the precious cargo that will be the last of humanity and all we’ve known. Through the characters we witness Earth from the ship’s view as its seas boil away, continents rupture, and its surface turn to molten rock before exploding. The passengers are told by the benefactors that this is a crime by their Law, and that someday it must be punished.

 

After a while, we learn that the remnants of Europa that crashed into Mars and Venus have effectively terraformed the previously desolate worlds while Earth’s survivors hibernated in the ark ships. We see most of the people settle on either Mars or Venus, growing forests and raising animals. We get to see the family man settled in with his wife, adapting to the new life they have. We end with him mentioning that he will never see his son again, because he has left on a Ship Of The Law to hunt down Earth’s killers.

Finally, the son remembers his days on Earth while aboard the ship, thinking of vengeance in the name of not just himself and other families, but for his dog.

 

I enjoyed reading this one, as I usually enjoy most end of the world stories. Very well written, and the lead up to the end is quite satisfying.

I’m currently reading the sequel, Anvil Of Stars. It doesn’t have the same feel obviously, but I’ll let you know how I like it next post. Stay tuned.

 

 

Advertisements

Review : Hyperion By Dan Simmons

Hyperion by Dan Simmons is the beginning of a series set on the world of Hyperion. This particular book is about seven characters on their own journey to seek resolve. However, the resolve they seek comes through the guise of a terrible creature known as the Shrike.

 

 

Book Description:

On the world called Hyperion, beyond the reach of galactic law, waits a creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all.

On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope—and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.

This novel has a structure in which our seven characters all meet on a ship while traveling to Hyperion, and each gets to tell their own personal stories. I enjoyed getting to each character’s story and motivation for being on the Shrike Pilgrimage. Most of the reasons derive from the loss of loved ones, injustices done, and even manic curiosity. This is also to be the last of the Shrike Pilgrimages, as impending war is spurring the evacuation of Hyperion.

In between each story, the group’s arrival on the planet, and subsequent journey to the Shrike Temple are depicted with attention to details that otherwise might be lost in a larger array of viewpoints. Character interactions, and environmental descriptions are flashed out well. The part of the book in which the group travels via the ship-like ‘windwagon’ over the Sea Of Grass was a unique form of travel, but considering the tall grass is sharp enough to cut apart weaponry, quite necessary.

In a few of the stories, the reader does get a glimpse at the Shrike itself, including its ‘killing tree’. Just to note, a Shrike is a bird known to use the thorns of a tree to impale its prey. The creature in the novel is described as a four-armed, red eyed being covered in metallic spines. The book cover gives a more humanoid appearance, but the creature reads more like something more alien in shape. It also has the ability to appear out of nowhere. The Shrike Temple is situated near a place known as the Time Tombs, which are within an anti-entropic field. Everything inside the field is moving backwards in time, strongly suggesting that the Shrike and the tombs are from the future.

I was expecting to see the final moments of the group meeting with the Shrike, but sadly the novel ends before the reader is given this conclusion. We are shown the final story of the last character (which paints him as a serious threat to the entire Hegemony), and an ending with the others deciding not to kill him and instead sympathizing with him. A group hug actually happens, which I wasn’t expecting, especially from some of the harder edged characters. I felt myself feeling for him too, but I wanted the meeting with the Shrike.

In closing, this book serves well as an introduction to characters, their plights, and the oncoming confrontation with a dangerous apparition. A great read for anyone who enjoys a story with many characters, and an intriguing plot that ties together the fates of many.

I’ve taken a quick look at the other books in this series, and I believe they follow different story structure than this first entry. I’m not completely sure if we ever see all these characters again, but the far reaching plot concerning humanity’s fate may still interest fans of this series.

Back again soon with a review of Greg Bear’s “The Forge Of God”.

Review : The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was an amazing read. Written toward the end of the Vietnam era, it is a very human story of a soldier caught up in an interstellar war.

 

Book Description :

The Earth’s leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand—despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy that they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through military ranks. Pvt. Mandella is willing to do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But “home” may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

This story is one of the human condition, struggling through not just war, but time lost to relativity, and the dramatic changes to a once familiar Earth.

We journey with Private William Mandella as he and his unit suffer the rigors of training exercises on an exoplanet. Some of which cost the lives of several of his teammates. I will say that a few scenes are quite memorable, given the planet’s physics. Also quite detailed are the physical ramifications of space travel, especially considering the speed and maneuvering of the ships. There are special pressure suits and tanks the soldiers enter while traveling long distances, or even during heavier ship combat situations. This is something many science fiction movies have either barely mentioned, or completely ignore. In reality, these considerations are probably not far from reality, lest our passengers be turned to red jelly.

Interpersonal relationships are not neglected in this story, even with so much at stake with the war. Mandella develops friendships, intimate relations, and begrudging admiration for his commanders as time goes on and he climbs ranks. It’s of note to mention that the military ranks in this story are known for near strictly promiscuity, which may be part of a statement on the time in which the book was written; ie: ‘free love’. I’m not sure really, but found it interesting.

Eventually, we get our first alien not in the form of something hostile, but of a somewhat docile herbivore. The soldiers have an unpleasant first encounter when they’re ordered to shoot one. This would be why I said ‘somewhat docile’. The “teddy bears” as the soldiers start calling them, are somehow able to cause a sort of extreme brain hemorrhage to one of the teammates. Apparently, though it’s never explicitly explained, there are clairvoyants in the unit that are able to sense things. Directly after this incident, they sense the creatures aren’t hostile, and that they are only curious. As the soldiers move more toward an enemy alien base, the “teddy bears” continue to follow them.

During their first real encounter with what have been dubbed ‘Taurans’, the unit is suddenly triggered into extreme violence by opperant conditioning with a phrase uttered by one of their commanders. They kill not just their enemies but the friendly herbivores caught in the crossfire. We see this change through Mandella’s eyes as his mind becomes enraged with planted suggestive thoughts, while his rational self knows what’s happening is all wrong but being unable to stop. This is another poignant statement made by the in this book, this time being on what governments are willing to put people through to forward their own gains.

There comes a point when Mandella and his unit are relieved of duty and return to Earth for a brief time. This is when the reality of time dilation sets it. Decades have passed, and not only is his Mother now elderly, but the Earth as a whole has changed for the worse. Most people are unemployed and going hungry, there’s lots of unchecked criminal activity, and money has very little value. The currency has also been changed to represent calories, so that in effect one has to choose between buying things, paying rent, or being able to eat. The government has also began encouraging homosexuality in order to keep the population from growing, as there’s not enough food to go around. Later on, heterosexuality is seen as a disorder by most people.

While on Earth, Mandella meets up with Potter, a woman from his unit to whom he has become close. After his elderly Mother dies from lack of healthcare, he goes to find Potter in a farming plantation where her parents live. They live there in peace for a while, until raiders come through and kill her parents. Having nowhere to go, and knowing no other way to live, Mandella and Potter re-enlist.

Space battles ensue, with the Taurans dealing some devastating blows to the military forces. We get to see that the military has improved upon the original pressure suits, as well as some other tech. Both Mandella and Potter receive amputations courtesy of space warfare; he loses a leg, she an arm. They both end up on Heaven, a beautiful world made for R&R and tourism. We learn many wounded soldiers end up their, some choosing never to leave.

Technological advances are shown in the medical field, as Mandella and Potter are treated and able to regrow their lost limbs. After release from the hospital, they both travel all over the world of Heaven, enjoying every moment they can. Suddenly, they are both separated by new assignments. Knowing that it means they may never see each other again is rough. By the end of either of their assignments, the other could be dead. They both protest this, but are quickly rebuffed by one of the best lines in the book. “The military plans in terms of centuries, not people.”

Mandella survives another four years, soon becoming commander of a ‘strike force’ of born and bred soldiers vaguely resembling Polynesians who dislike him because he is hetero, and doesn’t speak the same dialect. The final confrontation occurs thousands of light years from Earth, wherein they must resort to medieval weapons while fighting inside a stasis field which neutralizes all electromagnetic radiation in anything not covered with a protective coating.

After surviving this battle, Mandella returns to the world of Heaven only to discover that humanity is now a race of clones with a hive mind. Turns out that the Taurans were also a race of clones, and finally were able to communicate with the new brand of humanity. The entire war had started as a colossal misunderstanding.

Mandella receives a hard copy of his record files, his entire military career. It is on top of this file that he reads a note that brings him to tears. Potter has been waiting for him. She has been using a ship to travel back and forth to reduce her own aging. The world she invites him to is one where heterosexuals are free to live as they want, and it’s called Middle Finger. The book closes with a newspaper announcement of the birth of the couple’s baby boy.

An ending I really wasn’t sure would happen, but I’m glad it did. Through the hell of space travel, bodily injury, gruesome combat, and worse, it’s a satisfying ending to a seemingly unending struggle. Definitely suggested reading.

Review: Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

Solaris By Stanislaw Lem

My first knowledge of Solaris came for me in the form of the 2002 Steven Soderbergh film, which I still love to this day. Only years later did I learn that it was based off of the novel written by Stanislav Lem. I could never find the book in my local library, and got caught up reading other books. Until this year, when I finally bought it for myself.

13243831

The back flap of the book reads:

When psychologist Kris Kelvin arrives on the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds himself confronting a painful memory embodied in the physical likeness of a past lover. Kelvin learns that he is not alone in this, and that other crews examining the planet are plagued with their own repressed and newly real memories. Could it be, as Solaris scientists speculate, that the ocean may be a massive neural center creating these memories, for a reason no one can identify?

Long considered a classic, Solaris asks the question: Can we understand the universe around us without first understanding what lies within?

SPOILERS AHEAD!

The start of the novel begins with Kelvin’s launch from another station to travel to Solaris. Unlike the film, the Solaris station is not in orbit, but rather floating several hundred meters above its surface.

The introduction to the other crew members on the station is one of an eerie, too quiet meeting. The third member Gibarian, committed suicide before Kelvin’s arrival. Snow and Sartorius are clearly disturbed, and refuse to explain what’s been happening on the station. They both figure he will see for himself soon enough, and he does.

Kelvin delves into the onbaord library, occupying some of his time reading over the works of the many scientists who have studied Solaris, their theories, observations, etc. He tries to reason with Sartorius who has become agoraphobic in his lab, making little headway and getting no further explanation for why.

Kelvin then catches sight of Gibarian’s ‘visitor’ walking through the corridor of the station and then entering his room. The apparition is described as a tall African woman, mostly naked except for a grass skirt. She also later appears in the cold store lying next to Gibarian’s corpse. Terrified, and concerned he may be ill, Kelvin tests himself with mathematical equations to check if he has gone insane. To his dismay, he hasn’t.

Soon, Kelvin has his own visitor, Rheya, his past lover who committed suicide years before. She acts childlike and has no memory of living on Earth, or her suicide. An odd detail I picked up on was that when she appeared, her dress has no seams, or fasteners to remove it. She has to be cut out of it. Kelvin is horrified by this Rheya, but continues to act as if she were the real one. At least until he tricks her into a small shuttle and sends her away. The screams he hears while it launches away gradually turn to something inhuman. Eventually, he discovers Gibarian’s scribbled notes, and from their discovers certain books describing a pilot’s account that is nothing less than disturbing.

A second Rheya appears soon after, with no memory of what happened to the first. This Rheya eventually becomes more human to Kelvin, and he cannot send her away. We see her come to question her existence, her own half remembered memories, but she is shown to truly love Kelvin. She even attempts suicide, but her strange physiology won’t allow her to die. Whether she is a facsimile, or not, he loves her. As she doubts her own nature while Kelvin intends to keep her, Rheya disappears with little explanation.

The ocean of Solaris itself is an enigma. It is an oily red-black mass who’s movement is compared to muscle contractions rather than currents. It is observed creating large structures known as symmetriads, assymetriads, mimoids, and extensors. These immense intricate creations are thrust from the living sea only to die back into its depths. There is no rhyme or reason known for why it does this, nor how or why it creates the visitors.

Toward the end of the book, Kelvin has a discussion with Snow that struck me. They are talking about the imperfect god concept in how it must relate to the ocean.

Taking a few bits from Kelvin’s dialogue. :

“A god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is … a sick god, whose ambitions exceed his his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that served specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.“

“This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot…”

Then he states:

“No, not the ocean either. Somewhere in its development it has probably come close to divine state, but turned back into itself too soon. It is more like an anchorite, a hermit of the cosmos, not a god. It repeats itself, Snow, and the being I’m thinking of would never do that. Perhaps he has already been born, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while…”

The above statement almost sounds as if it suggest that something grew out of the ocean of Solaris, in essence making the ocean its cradle. There is also the idea that the ocean is child-like entity on the way to becoming a god. Kelvin states jokingly that they’ve all been the baby’s toys for a while.

The end of the novel ends with a unique interaction between Kelvin and the ocean. He leaves the station on a small aircraft and lands on a fleshy mimoid( a hard protrusion the ocean no longer seems to control) and reaches out to the ocean with his hand. It reacts to him and curiously wraps about his hand, even forming a flower-like structure, and then falls away. He is able to repeat this interaction a few times before the ocean loses interest. He seems to feel himself forgiving this strange entity for everything. It is implied that Kelvin stays, even as he knows his reasons may not rational, in the hopes that he will one day see Rheya again.

An incredible read, and several welcome differences from the Soderbergh film. Those changes added more detail to fleshing out what Solaris may actually be, and some of the strange behaviors not seen on film. Though, I think doing those giant structures on film would’ve been amazing to see.

Definitely suggest this as reading material for anyone who loves science fiction. Truly alien stuff in this novel.

Also wanted to post a few pages I found on some amazing Solaris inspired artwork. I don’t want to post any images without permission, but I will supply the links for you to take a look.

Black & white artwork of the ocean structures

http://www.bjarre.org/works/solaris.html

A Deviant Art Artist- Amazing work!

Symmetriade

The-Old-Mimoid

Solaris 4

Old-Mimoid

Solaris-3

Solaris-5

 

Next review : The Forever War

 

 

 

 

 

01/17/2018 – Happy New Year!

A belated Happy New Year to everyone! Here’s to hoping everyone meet their goals for this year!

I’ve been pretty busy growing my small art business in the last few months. This involved setting up shops over on Society6 and RedBubble, as well as marketing sales, etc. Not to mention the commissions in between all that. You can check all that stuff over at angeladeriso.com

Among the gifts I got this Xmas, were giftcards for certain chain stores, or ones that I have free reign to spend where I like. Books are one of my favorite things to buy, and I can’t do this too often or I go broke. Those costs add up. However, through Barnes & Nobles, you have the option of buying used books for very reasonable prices. As low as $1. It was this method I used to buy some science fiction classics I have yet to read. There are two books relating to the subject of biology, which is also one of my passions.

I’m going to post reviews of each book as I finish them. I’ve already finished Solaris and The Forever War, both great reads. My reviews will be up shortly.

Here are the titles in the queue.

 

As for my own writing is concerned, I’m currently done with 4 chapters. I’m going to make a deadline for myself this year to finish the damn thing, so I can work on other ideas, and put efforts toward getting published. I’m thinking it may be a good idea to have a few books ready before knocking on the door of publishers, that way you have a few more cards to deal in the transaction. I don’t know, but only time will tell how I feel about that.

 

In the meantime, stay tuned for book reviews, and maybe some snippets of my work.

~Lynn

 

 

 

 

 

Random Character Chat 1

Before I start with some new content, I’d like to share an awesome web comic I found recently.  http://falsepositivecomic.com/

It is an anthology of fantasy & science fiction accompanied by gorgeous artwork and great storytelling. The stories have a Philip K. Dick feel to them while still being pretty original. Some storylines and characters end up intertwining throughout the anthology. I recommend it, and I’m subscribed and awaiting more.

 

In the meantime, I’ve been fairly busy with my day job, and finding time to get writing or even artwork done is left only so much time during the week. I got the idea to have a few of my characters to have philosophical discussions as a serial feature on the blog. These chats may or may not end up in the novel project they’re associated with, but it gives a bit of insight into the thoughts of the characters themselves and how they interact with each other. Some discussions reflect my own meanderings on certain topics, as well as events the characters may be enduring.

 

So I give you the first iteration of Random Character Chats.

 

This chat occurs between two characters; Daya, a female operative trained since childhood, and Tark, a genetically engineered male chimpanzee operative.

 

Daya:  “Why do you think it is we choose savagery even when we know better? Even when we have all the foresight to see where it leads?”

 

Tark:  *Shrugs*  “Because we’re still animals. The only real difference being that we mask our savagery with subtlety, under the guise of being ‘civilized’. Even as a genetically altered chimpanzee, I’m still given to moments of heightened aggression. Though, I probably have a little more impulse control than my wild cousins.  I think it’s in the wiring. Not much can undo millions of years of evolution, and aggression is a key part of why both our species got this far.”

 

Daya:  “So, in other words, we’re doomed because we’re aggressive assholes?” *Laughs dryly*

 

Tark:  “Yep, pretty much.”

 

Daya:  “Gives me such hope for the future…”

 

Tark:  “Don’t give up, Sunshine. There’s still a slim chance that at some point someone could change the game. Someone who makes a sacrifice to transcend biological constraints, and maybe lead us all to become something better. Hopefully, something with the conviction to heed its own foresight.”

 

Daya:  “That’s a hell of a thought.” *Stares at Tark*

 

Tark:  “What?”

 

Daya:  “You really are the most insightful ape I know.”

 

Tark:  *Grunts sarcastically at Daya*  “Shut it. I’m the ONLY insightful ape you know.”

 

 

That’s all for now. Will get more chats up soon, maybe some artwork if I can. Thanks for reading!

“Goodbye Terra Firma”

Another flash fiction piece created back in October of 2012. Tried to capture a real sense of impending doom for this one. Used a first person point of view to narrate, and much scenery from a disturbing dream I had.

“Goodbye Terra Firma”

1,197 Words

It all started with strange lights in the sky. It was summer and I was at camp with the other girl scouts. I’d been trying in vain to get to sleep in my tent with the humid heat and flying bugs. The only bugs I cared for were the fireflies.
I heard a couple of the other girls outside, getting boisterous over something. I brushed the red hair out of my blue eyes, abandoning my attempt at sleeping and came out of my tent to see what all the fuss was about. They were all standing out on the grass, some of them pointing to the sky.

“What’s going on?” I said as I approached the group.

“Look, there’s a line of red lights in the sky!” said one girl.

“Do you think it’s aliens?” asked another girl.

I just stood there unable to voice any question or opinion I had. The sight of these neatly organized lights made my body tremble with an apprehension I’d never felt before.

The lights were red stars in the sky aligned in two rows stretching across the whole sky. Little did any of us know that these rows of light encircled the globe.

A year later, very odd things began happening. I remember being on the beach shuffling my bare feet in the sand, and feeling the sea breeze on my face. I had been enjoying that day until I saw the beached dead carcasses of whales and dolphins onshore. A week later the news reported no definite cause for the deaths.

Throughout the years, more and more animals beached all over the world. Following that, more types of sea life began dying in great numbers.

I still can’t forget the time I watched small marine creatures crawling en masse out of the seawater. They were fleeing from something in spite of the fact it meant their own death to do so.

Our best scientists looked to our seas, did surveys on the dying multitude of species, and ran every test they could. Nothing obvious was wrong with any of the species, but an external element was killing them.
A microorganism of unknown origin was finally found in the samples taken from the corpses. It was nothing like any Earth native species. It consumed everything indiscriminately, and multiplied in vast numbers.

I was just out of high school when all seafood was declared contaminated because of some alien parasite. I was so young then, and even this bit of news did not strike enough fear into many of my age group. We should’ve been so much more afraid than we were.

Our government tried using chemical and biological weapons designed to destroy the alien microbes, but they failed miserably.
There was an interview with a government scientist on the news. He looked tired and forlorn. “Nothing we can make can beat them.” He said.
I could see the fear in his eyes, even though he was trying to hold it at bay.

Evolution usually takes millions of years, but these things don’t play by those rules. Before we knew it, these microbes were evolving into larger, more complex animals within a few decades.
Everything else was falling prey to them. We were afraid to swim in our own oceans.

Just before my twentieth birthday, I was driving over the bridge in my hometown when I saw a group of people standing off to the side. They were staring at something in the water.
I stopped off, and got out of my car. As I approached the group, no one spoke a word, they just watched.

“What’s out there?” I asked. My question was immediately answered the second I reached them.

Fleshy, leaf-like things the size of buildings, were emerging from the sea in all directions. More of them were unfurling as we stared down at them. The alien plants, if that’s what they were, looked like the fins of a fish with a crooked spine.
Long fleshy fans of turquoise arched out of the sea for miles.

One of the older men in the group turned to me and said, “I never would’ve thought something like this could happen.”
His face was one of shock and disbelief, and he had a dazed, far away look in his eyes.

“Neither did I.” I replied, my mouth suddenly dry.

The old man turned back to the sea, and added one last thing. “I suppose it’s not long now, before we go just the same.”
He then lifted a bottle of liquor I hadn’t noticed before, and took a heavy swig.

I think that was the moment when I realized deep down that our species didn’t stand a chance.

When everyone started developing sores and other symptoms, the fanatical among us began preaching about biblical plagues, and the rapture. They’d been claiming the end of times scenarios for some time before then. No one believed until it was too late. Not that belief would have saved anyone.

I am watching as unseen alien microbes waste the plant life of my world, and as the animal life begins to succumb to the same fate. It is terrifying, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

We are being devoured from the inside out. I might’ve told you the world itself was dying, but that is not the case.
This planet is being wiped clean. Basically, that’s what terraforming entails; molding one environment to suit the needs of a colonist species. It just so happens that our “colonists” much prefer the extermination of virtually all native flora and fauna on their new world.

We are just one in the struggle of the billions of life and death battles in the universe. Our single demise does not mean much in retrospect, and we simply don’t contend in the face of astronomical statistics.

I still can’t believe that I am to be one of the last minds to reflect on the things that made this world unique. I am nearly 60 years old, and I don’t have much time left. I know from watching the others that death isn’t going to be easy.
Everything humankind has ever done, and all its potential will become little more than ruins. Millions of people have died, and whatever is left won’t last much longer. I have no choice but to accept the same fate. There is simply no alternative.

I would’ve liked to live longer, to watch my grandchildren grow, and maybe travel the world. Those poor children will never see our world the way it used to be, and sadly, they too will succumb. They might’ve become great inventors or philosophers. Now they will never have the chance to fight for those human aspirations.

It is brutally unfair, but then, so is the nature of life. If there is any silver lining to this crisis, it is that we die making way for another form of life. That doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

When the last of us are gone, it won’t be much longer before new life crawls out of the sea, and whoever began this great process will come down from the sky.

*******

~ Lynn