< Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse: June 2005

Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Omega Man

First things first: Charleton Heston, put your shirt back on you damned dirty ape! The Omega Man opens up with Charleton Heston preparing for his role as future leader of the NRA as a gun-toting 'zompire' killing machine.

The zompires' (zombie/vampire-type things) behaviour closely mirrors that of the very villains they claim to loathe so much (the 'normal' folk), mainly the unwillingness to settle differences by dialogue instead of violence or to work together rather towards a common goal instead of against one another.

The burning of books and the rejection of useful technologies is parallel to the behaviour of the human world leaders who rejected conventional wisdom and peaceful pursuits. Both lead us down the dark path.

I've always enjoyed the use of zombies (not that I use them personally). They are sometimes considered to represent the working class, depicted hilariously in Shaun of the Dead. I sometimes feel that we are governed by zombies, or that our fate is decided (or progress is hindered) by them. By this I mean those who cater only to their base desires with wanton disregard for others. These are the self-interested, apathetic, uneducated voters and non-voters, who would, if given power, cease any and all social programs and arts funding etc. if it meant their own personal gain (or savings). Those who see no value in the historic, the aesthetic, education, helping others, building communities etc. are the real zombies in my opinion. The zompires in The Omega Man share many of these traits. I haven't read all the way through yet, but Ish from Earth Abides carries a hammer along for a while... a symbol of this building spirit of which I'm speaking(I think!).

There are some interesting juxtapositions in this film... the lawless inhabiting a place of law, the zompires accusing 'normal' humans the same sorts of acts they partake of and Charleton Heston being compared to God/Jesus.

Pretty conventional Christian symbolism here... they hammed up the Jesus stuff at the end, blood of Christ, died for our sins etc. The little girl asking Charleton if he was God was a little over the top.

On a side note... in the old days, in war, the invaders would typically smash the symbols of the old regime. Statues destroyed, flags burned, prominent citizens executed etc. In this film (and in the modern US too) the invaders haven't crashed the gates in the traditional sense, yet they are in power. And they haven't destroyed the old symbols. They have instead reduced those symbols (e.g. Lady Justice) to meaninglessness.

See you on Monday!

P.S. Where the heck did he get fresh sausages (alright maybe they had been frozen) and fresh grapes (alright, it was California after all)? And why couldn't the man who just ran a mile in three minutes and fifty seconds not catch up to Lisa? And why didn't he just pick off the Family one at a time? He sure had enough guns 'n' ammo.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

On a lighter note...

One of my favourite post-apocalyptic stories is a comedy series from the BBC called Red Dwarf. It's not really conventional post-apocalypse material though... humanity isn't hit with a catastrope, at least as far as we know. Instead, the main character, Dave Lister, who works on a mining space ship (the Red Dwarf)is put into stasis (essentially frozen in time) as punishment for having had an unquarantined cat.

But for Lister the plot thickens... He is brought out of stasis by the ship's computer three million years later, the time it took for a lethal radiation leak to wear off. For him, it lasted only an instant. For the remainder of the crew it really wasn't much longer, it's just that they didn't survive :)

Dave Lister becomes the last human being, whose only companions are Holly (the ship's computer), a hologram of his dead roommate Arnold Rimmer (who he couldn't stand) and the creature that evolved from his pregnant cat. They set course for Earth so that Lister can pursue his dream of having a sheep and a cow and breeding horses on Fiji.

This could only ever have been brought to TV in the UK and is one my faves. My description really doesn't do it justice but I have the DVDs of the first two seasons if anyone would like to see them.


Apocalypse Now. And again. One more time...

Just finished with 'The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion' and 'The Star'. Both are good stories. I just hope that if something like this ever happens that it's closer to 'The Star'... at least we'd be granted a second chance.

If there's anything that astronomers have shown us it is that we are, astronomically speaking, of no significance whatsoever and that it is only a matter of time before catastrophe falls upon us. The universe is cold and uncaring. Since space is mostly empty it's unlikely such catastrophic events would occur within the timeframe of human civilzation.

Even if humanity does hold out to near-forever, avoiding or destroying approaching comets or meteors, we'll still have to contend with Sol going nova. Burnt to a crisp.

So, for there to be any distant future, we'll have to look to colonization.

But that's a long way off... think happy thoughts for now.

Oh one last thing... if this did happen, which do you think will occur: chaos or serenity or a little of each?