Via Metafilter, I read this essay by Douglas Coupland that apparently appeared in AdBusters back in 2002. It’s seven days that ends with the earth “not much more tan a waterlogged, barbecued briquette”:
Colossal lightning activity in both hemispheres triggers fire even in those areas most remote from what was once the human civilization. Residue from pesticide and pharmaceutical facilities quickly sterilize most European, North American and Asian rivers: the Mississippi is now a gummy, acidic broth, not unlike hot-and-sour soup, but cut with burnt rubber.
I’m always interested in dystopian views of the future, and it’s an aspect of Douglas Coupland’s writing that I’ve always particularly enjoyed. He seems to have been inordinately affected by growing up during the Cold War.
Coupland’s descriptions of the smell of the air in today’s industrialized China in “jPod” are good examples of that kind of writing. I have no idea if they’re true, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
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