A History of American Collapse in Science Fiction

From 1889’s ‘Last American’ to today.

Paul Di Filippo has written a masterful, lively history of the many ways in which science fiction has explored the collapse of the American project, from JA Mitchell’s 1889 The Last American to contemporary novels like Too Like the Lightning, Liberation, DMZ and Counting Heads.

The Last American by J. A. Mitchell from 1889 finds the country a barbaric wilderness shambles, subject to a condescending visit from representatives of the civilized Middle East. The protagonist of M. P. Shiel’s The Purple Cloud (1901) emerges as, literally, the last man on the planet after a noxious celestial gas attack, and happily burns down the world’s great cities for sociopathic fun, including San Francisco. Some of these narratives played up racist fears: Philip Francis Nowlan brought the country low with Asian “Han” invaders in 1928’s Armageddon 2419 A.D., the basis for the Buck Rogers franchise, and Robert Heinlein followed suit with an Asiatic menace in 1949 with Sixth Column. A new plague does the trick of dismantling the country in George Stewart’s pastoral Earth Abides (1949). Omnipotent alien Overlords upset all existing geopolitical realities in Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End (1953). In Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow, from 1955, after a devastating war the USA’s amended Constitution prohibits any large-scale settlements, leaving the country a rural backwater. Edgar Pangborn’s Davy (1964) conjures up a scenario similar to aspects of both Stewart’s and Brackett’s. And of course, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962) looked back to imagine a country divided between the Axis conquerors. Germany and Japan.

While there have been numerous stellar books after Davy that utilize these same bugbears to undo the USA, one particular kind of national collapse rose to prominence in speculative fiction in the mid-1960s: the internal fragmentation or disunion or balkanization of the country, due solely or mainly to systemic or regional or contentious cultural forces. No foreign soldiers, no microbes, no bombs, no bug-eyed-monsters need to be involved. The dissolution of the Union happens strictly due to internal contradictions, forces and factors that compel a splintering or segregation, whether mutually agreed upon by all parties, or unilaterally enforced by some. (And, surprisingly, sometimes the new situation is an improvement.)

This scenario, of course, bears increasing relevance in our culturally and politically divided moment and beyond, and one might predict a growing number of such tales.

Disunion: Visions of Our Fragmented Future [Paul Di Filippo/Barnes and Noble Review]

from: https://boingboing.net/2017/02/07/a-history-of-american-collapse.html

If you’re interested in similar science fiction novels about the coming collapse of the United States, check out ‘Hasten The Day: The First Year of the Balkanization of America‘, and its two sequels, ‘Waiting For The Sun‘ and ‘Wasting The Dawn‘, which together make up the ‘Hasten The Day Trilogy‘. Other post-apocalyptic fiction about a divided America includes ‘The Fifth Horseman‘. For history enthusiasts, I recommend a consideration of how our nation may have been divided a century and a half ago, ‘Look Away: An Alternate History of the Civil War’.

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A devout Dual Seedline Christian Identists, Pastor Paul R. Mullet has made it his mission to bring forth a Christian Identity, and White Nationalism unification. Thru his website divine-truth.org, he and his partners in Yahshua the Messiah, have found common ground in combating jewdeo-Christianity, and have formed a new battle axe for Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Pastor Paul R. Mullet is considered by some within the Dual Seedline Christian Identity Theology as a very powerful speaker and writer, a fast moving up and comer. His tireless devotion to his family, farm, faith and kinsmen are clearly heard within his sermons and writings. He lives with his wife and two children, on a modest hobby farm in southern Ohio, some would say the border of what will be the New America for the white race.

Pastor Paul R. Mullet

A devout Dual Seedline Christian Identists, Pastor Paul R. Mullet has made it his mission to bring forth a Christian Identity, and White Nationalism unification. Thru his website divine-truth.org, he and his partners in Yahshua the Messiah, have found common ground in combating jewdeo-Christianity, and have formed a new battle axe for Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Pastor Paul R. Mullet is considered by some within the Dual Seedline Christian Identity Theology as a very powerful speaker and writer, a fast moving up and comer. His tireless devotion to his family, farm, faith and kinsmen are clearly heard within his sermons and writings. He lives with his wife and two children, on a modest hobby farm in southern Ohio, some would say the border of what will be the New America for the white race.

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One thought on “A History of American Collapse in Science Fiction

  • February 9, 2017 at 11:48 am
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    I believe that the late, great, Robert Heinlein referred to the collapse of the United States and liberal democracy in general through out the West, as “The Great Collapse.” Several of his novel mentions that event as a pivotal part of the story line. Starship Troopers was a dumb down version of the novel for the masses. I encourage everyone to read the novel as Heinlein lectures long on hard on moral philosophy though one of his characters. The whole theme is further expanded upon in his “Lazarus Long ” novels as Long himself was a product of Eugenics.

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