Shell-Shock: A novel by installments
Here is an unconventional move. I am considering publishing a novel by installments. This has been done in the past, but is not the current norm. But I am not sure if it has been done while the novel is still in the process of being written. That would be a bold, and perhaps risky move.
What if the writing flounders? What if there is writer’s block? What if I want to re-write what I’ve written, re-work scenes, characters, story lines? All very risky to publish it while in vitro, so to speak.
But, on the other hand, considering the state of the world, the urgency of the times, and moreover, the rapid unfolding of current trends, if I wait until the novel is finished, proof-read, reviewed, edited, etc, before releasing it to the world, events could have passed it by, and what might have been prophetic, or at least prescient, becomes, or at least appears to be, mere reflective hindsight. Most importantly, perhaps, is that foresight is more valuable than hindsight, and the people should be warned, as well as inspired and rallied to action.
So, I am thinking about it. I will not promise at this point to continue to publish installments before the novel is completed, although I am seriously considering it; but I will start with offering a prologue, by way of introduction.
(And if there is interest, please feel free to send contributions or donations, because this writer, like most, has an income that does not exactly amount to that of Donald Trump – nor one ten-thousandth of it. But that is an aside, and unimportant.)
I hope you enjoy what you read. More importantly, I hope it sparks thought, discussion, and above all, action.
The Transitional Time:
Between the End and the Beginning,
Lies the Time of Transitions
The History of the Collapse of Modern Civilization
We could say that there were many factors which led to the final collapse, and of course, there were many factors. But in the end, the chain of events which spiraled into this terrible culmination, and the collapse of modern civilization, could be said to have begun with this tipping point.
For a number of identifiable reasons, most of them identified by thoughtful observers well in advance, the global economy had become extremely unstable. (A crisis of over-production, combined with deregulation, the financialization of the economy, globalization, the off-shoring of production and profits, the evisceration and liquidation of the middle class, soaring inequality, and a kleptocratic billionaire class, were, of course, the central factors – as is now universally recognized, in hindsight.) But however one views the causes, when the collapse of the global economy finally came, a global depression hit the world like a tsunami, and things began to fall apart.
The result was chaos, panic, devastation, widespread suffering, fear, mistrust, paranoia, the further retreat into narcissistic, bunkered self-isolation and alienation, escapism, voyeurism and magical thinking, along with blame, hatred, the inflaming of old animosities, conflicts and hostilities, hunger, even greater soaring poverty and inequality, frustrations reaching a boiling point, and very quickly, riots in the streets, looting, and ultimately, in short order, revolution in the streets.
But the problem was not revolution, nor even a wave of popular revolutions springing up across the planet. The problem was a lack of resolve.
When revolution broke out, rebellion, or even dissent against a corrupt and unjust, ecologically suicidal order became viewed by the ruling elite as treason, and the crackdown began. The hounds and the goons were unleashed, and fascism arrived, in full-fledged form. Not the old fascism of goose-stepping soldiers wearing Nazi uniforms, but the new fascism, draped in the robes of smiling civility, virtue and nobility, or so it aimed to clothe itself, and parading as the salvation of freedom and democracy – both of which, of course, it was intent upon destroying.
The predictable backlash to the popular revolutions, and the repression and fascism which followed, was not the real problem. The problem was that the people buckled and submitted – at precisely the critical time when they needed to be their most bold, and unshakable.
The newly secured global corporate elite, with their henchmen firmly in control, now pushed back every advance that had been made by the people over the previous 200 years – and further, the past 800 years, since the birth of constitutional law and the Magna Carta.
It was a new feudal age, and a new and more brutal age of empire than the world had ever seen. All motion for positive social change was halted in its tracks, including all efforts at ending our assault on nature, and halting our full speed drive towards our own extinction.
Now, business was firmly in the driver’s seat, as it had been for a long time, but with a posse of goons and a fascist architecture to support it, to make sure no one got in the way of profits.
The business elite made a killing, both literally and figuratively, and the business of killing the planet was simply an externality, and an unfortunate consequence which could not be helped. The race to extinction, or at least to the collapse of human civilization, was on, and it would not take much time at the newly accelerated pace.
The eventual outcome, which came very quickly, and with frightening speed, was not only the death of the oceans, but also, and more critically for humanity, the collapse of agriculture and world food systems.
As crop failure, famine, hunger and starvation swept the planet, two other horsemen appeared: death and disease. War, or the intensification and spread of the already well-established pattern of permanent war, followed swiftly behind.
Between the sickness and mass deaths caused by famine, disease and war, the cogs and the infrastructure, the supply lines and networks of industrial civilization began to sputter, to seize, and finally, to collapse.
The fascist coup of the corporate elite had done this, we could say. But that, really, if we are to be honest with ourselves, would be to miss the point, and to pass the blame. The people failed themselves, because they caved in, when they should have stood firm.
The spirit of great hearts and great courage, such as the spirit of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., should have, and could have guided them, and led them to victory. But it was the spirit of fear that won out in the end. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The people thought they had problems before. Now, with the collapse, their problems really began. At least in the short term, the meek did not inherit the earth. They inherited a wasteland. Now, the best, and the worst of humanity, became vividly clear.