October 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
Rush is my favorite band in the universe. Not only is their musical ability unparalleled by any major bands of today, the subject material of their lyrics is philosophical, profound, and often deals with fantasy and science fiction. Currently, I’m listening to their concept album 2112, a 21-minute megasuite depicting a man who rediscovers rock music in a dystopian future, only to have his discovery rejected by the priests of the Temple of Syrinx; he then runs off, is shown a vision of the “Elder Race” by an oracle, and kills himself in despair of not living in such a free world. If you’ve read Anthem, by Ayn Rand, this plot should sound familiar, sans the depressing end. In any case, the music and lyrics fuse perfectly in creating the plot of the story. I’d highly recommend spending the time and listening to the track.
Rush has inspired me before; I’ve used quotes from their songs on essays all throughout high school and on all manners of applications. Now, when it comes time to think of a scifi story of my own, they once again pull through. This story would be set in the far future and have the same theme of discovery, but aside from that the message would be entirely different.
It is the year 2504. Earth has become uninhabitable, surrounded by a dense fog of carbon dioxide and methane, its surface temperature upwards of two hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The majority of life is dead of cataclysmic storms and tremendous heat waves. The only exceptions are archaea living near volcanic vents and the colony of ten thousand humans living on the Moon, a colony started by some farsighted scientists which is focused on terraforming the moon so that spacesuits are no longer necessary and the population can increase. Having learned their lessons from the past, the founders of the colony set up an idyllic collectivist society, a society in which the benefit of the individual is subordinated to the benefit of the community. Each member of the colony has a specific job, the people live in peace, and the overall conditions and culture are almost tribal in nature. Unfortunately, these people have forgotten the true horrors of the distant past, and now carry on their society out of habit. There is scientific progress, but a sense of history is lacking.
Obviously, also lacking is a resource supply, since the Moon doesn’t have much to offer on its own. Thus, each month a crew of colonists makes a trip back to Earth to collect things like water, metal ore, and other necessary supplies. Unfortunately, on one of these trips a young explorer falls through a crack in some rock, and a la Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood makes a discovery–more accurately, a rediscovery–of gold, all the gold bullion left behind in the ruins of Fort Knox. Struck by its beauty, he takes a nugget, and mentally notes the location of the mine. As more trips to Earth are required, he continually volunteers, each time taking back more and more gold, until he holds a vast fortune, or what would have been a vast fortune on Earth five hundred years earlier. Eventually, he unveils his riches to the community.
The colony is in awe of this new, shiny metal, and because it lacks the historical knowledge of all the conflicts caused by gold over the years, does not know better than to make any attempt to seize it. A bitter jealously develops, and at some point a good amount of the gold is stolen by the man’s rival and some of the rival’s followers. Naturally, this sets off a violent conflict.
In the midst of this conflict, another resource ship returns, this one bearing another explorer who has fallen through the ruins of the Library of Congress and discovered the history of war on Earth. Meaning to stop the war on the moon, he returns, but is killed in the fighting. Eventually, the moon war is won by the original discoverer of the gold, who establishes a dictatorship and begins to pollute the moon with factories built to produce arms.
This is a pretty depressing view of human nature, I guess. Hopefully we can save THIS Earth so that we don’t even have to resort to the moon.