Just how far is Down?

And is it out?

As we head off for Zimbabwe for my younger son doing his re-affirmation of vows thing (basically, they got married here, and now are doing it all over again, with the whole 9 yards for all the people who couldn’t be here.) Heaven help me, I’ll attempt to post the next two Mondays, but their internet access is intermittent. So is electricity. Water relies on boreholes. Sewage and many of the things we regard as normal are… different. Security… varied.

But, at least on the surface, despite indicators suggesting life should be worse than First World survivalists imagine it could be, if things in the First World get a fraction more unstable, life appears… quite normal there. Yes, it obviously isn’t, but really Somalia proved one thing to those predicting the collapse of civilization: We are a long way up the ladder, and before things go so far that the few are supposed to be forced to rebuild, drawing the good and great, purging away the dross in the furnace of that change… well, it’s a long long way. Further than most First World people realize possible to go and still function. Before ‘down’ is out, the real bottom has to be reached. And it never got there in Somalia. Yes, as some of the really nasties are finding out once the fighting gets there, the ordinary people will quietly inform on them, and will welcome a change. But the top hyenas are still surviving, still continuing to wreak havoc, still impeding rebuilding.

Apocalypse is the stuff of sf (and fantasy) and it’s also something traditional publishing is supposed to be facing. If I have a message for the new year from the old year… Down is a long way. And the old order is not out until it’s buried, and you have hammered a stake through its heart. That’s as much true for apocalypse tales, as it is for politics, nations, or publishing (and all of those may be good or bad… depending on your point of view!).

Anyway, here is wishing you all the very best of writing and reading for the New year. May 2013, somehow, see turning points in all that is bad.

And I can’t wait to be back, posting from my Island again.


7 thoughts on “Just how far is Down?

  1. Hi Dave,

    I lived in Botswana for four years, right on the border in Francistown and I was over in Zimbabwe quite a bit. I was there during the last elections and I was totally amazed at the quiet determination and strength of Zimbabweans in general. And through it all, a genuine sense of humor!

    1. I was amazed back in 98 just how well the society worked and how amicable the people were. That still exists, more so than South Africa, but there are real problems.

  2. Have fun, keep safe, and get inspired for your writing.

    And I agree that civilization is probably a lot more resilient than many think. It took centuries for Rome to fall in the west, and we have a lot more flexibility and redundancy. Having said that, I wonder what a Dave Freer post apocalyptic novel would look like.

    1. I’d guess that a Dave Freer post-apocalyptic novel would include lots of fishing and seafood, but I could be wrong.

    2. one of the questions here of course is the scary lurking one of ‘ the bigger they are, the harder they fall’ Zimbabwe can get food from South Africa. The black Zimbabweans living in the tribal homelands grow some of their own food anyway. Not enough, but better than none. Zimbabwe makes a limited, tiny contribution to the world’s economic and food systems. They go belly up, and it affects 99.9% of the world not at all. If the US, or China, or India or even Russia or Europe go pear shaped… the knock ons are vast.

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