The Blood Red Giant
In my present daydreams, there is a great monster who rises from the sea, silhouetted by the red skies of sunset. His wide, hollow eyes look over a city on the bluffs above the sea, but he is staring at me. I am paralyzed by the recognition of his size and the ruthlessness I know he possesses. He will destroy everything I know if I run, and, even if I somehow muster the incredible strength necessary to fight him, I will likely be unable to save much of what I love and know.
There is something fascinating to me about cataclysm in fiction. In all cases, there is a winnowing of the unimportant things that crowd life. Choose what you wish to save, and choose wisely.
Few stories manage to convey the sickening and dire nature of true-to-life cataclysm, and even when they do, stories of cataclysm seem to act more as a form of escapism in which the world is simplified down to a few colossal dangers instead of the endless deluge of anxieties, silent killers, and unexpected endings.
I can’t help but feel that we are naturally ill-equipped creatures for living in an age of constant information. We like monsters, we like asteroids, we like things we can focus all our energy on and universally despise. Are our brains begging us for villains? Somehow, a worldwide evil can seem preferable to an ocean of individualized evils to which we can respond only variably.
Following my dreams, I’ve found myself delving into more apocalypse fiction. It hurts in a different way than the barrage of deception, theft, death, and betrayal that litters all forms of non-fiction media. Or perhaps it is incorrect of me to say that it truly hurts at all: I often find myself returning from a foray into a devastated world other than my own somehow more calm and measured than I was before. Walking through the ashes of another universe acts at times as a supplement to my emotional liver, a cathartic dance through which I can sweat out all the sadness and fear and pain that is implicit to upheaval.
As far as I can tell, passion must be indulged carefully when parsing the problems we face here. Solutions are imperfect, facts are only partially understood. The world seems to demand of us unconjurable patience for nearly every issue that falls before us, lest we fall into foolishness and injustice. Endings don’t always feel like the credits are about to roll, and that must be remembered frequently or else anger and hatred will pull us on a darker trajectory than any of our most haunted dreams would project.
So I scream at the dying sun, bleed out before the dark lord, get in the robot, and then return more ready than before. I can’t help but feel the world depends on it.