Everything Is Going To Kill Everybody
Three Rivers Press, 2010
I stumbled upon this book while contemplating the ways the world might end for a library display on “Recommended Reading for the Post-Apocalypse,” that is, books on small-scale farming, food preservation, general off-the-grid living, and the like.
Before having read Brockway’s book, I thought myself pretty savvy to various end-of-world scenarios, but I learned a few new ways to be terrified. For example, I knew vaguely about supervolcanoes, meteorite strikes, and greenhouse gas, but this was my first exposure to the hat trick of global disasters that combines all three: the Verneshot is a hypothetical event in which a massive build up of subterranean gas launches a big ol’ piece of continent into low orbit, which reenters the atmosphere elsewhere in the manner of a massive meteorite. Meanwhile, all that built up carbon dioxide that caused the initial eruption is released into the atmosphere, pretty much wiping out whatever’s left. Oh, and there’s also a massive earthquake as the hole vacated by the explosion collapses in on itself. Lovely.
Some scientists dramatically explain the Verneshot as being akin to the Earth “shooting itself in the head.” But perhaps that analogy could be more accurate: It’s more like the Earth chopping off its own hand and then punching itself to death with it. Because bullets are for pussies.
Brockway’s book isn’t exactly scientifically rigorous about the actual possibilities of these events happening, and the sophomoric frat-boy humor throughout should make it clear that he’s going more for humor and sensationalism than trying to produce a technical treatise, but it’s good fun to read, and good grist for the imagination. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing…