In this week’s Futures, Kurt Pankau returns to give us a taste of a post-apocalyptic world in Water seekers. Based in St Louis, Missouri, Kurt has already written two other stories for Futures in the shape of Papa Bear and Please [redacted] my last e-mail. You can find out more about his work at his website or by following him on Twitter. Here he offers a glimpse into the inspiration behind his latest tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.
Writing Water seekers
In recent business/tech news I’ve heard more than one story about start-up companies selling survival bunkers to the wealthy. I’m not overly fond of the romantic portrayal of the apocalypse as viewed through the eyes of a lone-wolf survivor who gets back to nature once the distractions of the modernity are destroyed. I can see how that sort of a life might be tempting, but humanity doesn’t really work that way. We are a social species. We depend on our communities. Now that we’re staring down the barrel of climate change — as terrifying an existential threat as nuclear proliferation was decades ago — I get a little contemptuous of people who have means and power but would rather hide from this problem than make any good-faith attempt to solve it. And one can’t help but detect a little classism in that mentality. That’s where the idea for this story came from. Here’s a man who has been hoarding resources in order to keep himself safe and protected, not just from the elements but from the ‘rabble’ as well. He has gone to great lengths to ensure that his needs will be met while the masses struggle. And he dies of loneliness. When our protagonists discover him, they’re faced with the choice to view him as an opportunity or a warning.