“We of the Council, convened in full, have decided that man in good conscience can no longer permit this wanton destruction of our fellow creatures, whose right to exist is fully as great as ours,” the decree states. “It is therefore decreed that men, in spontaneous free will and contrition, voluntarily accede to the termination of their species.” The operative word is contrition. Guilt is a force eating people from inside. Citizens are too cowed, too stricken with guilt, to mount any organized resistance to the Council’s diktat. Although not all have chosen to give up on life, everything is in ruins and life expectancy for citizens is low indeed.
Our friend and instigator Dave Lull is well aware of my fondness for the late author D. Keith Mano. He sent me a link to this recent article from the National Review on one of Mano’s nearly forgotten but uncomfortably relevant novels, The Bridge.
Perhaps the scenario evoked in The Bridge is too general in nature to belong to Mano or to any one writer. But anybody who reads Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel The Road and Mano’s The Bridge, published 33 years earlier, will quickly see how much the later novel has in common with the earlier one.
I thought myself audacious (and feared I was prescient) when in my Epsom novels I postulated a near future in which “Extinctionism” was a popular movement. I in fact cherished a hope that I could manipulate Fate by exploiting its reluctance to ever prove me right. But we’ve seen Extinctionism begin to take hold in recent years, and one looks at imagined futures like those of The Road and The Bridge, today, with growing alarm.
The Bridge, writer Michael Washburn notes, is out of print but can be obtained online. It sounds intriguing, but – honestly – I’m afraid to read it. Also, look at the price on Amazon!