Post-Apocalyptic

IMG_4345On a pretty little island off the coast of Maine, you would not expect to find a graffiti-scarred, overgrown and abandoned concrete edifice — but on Peaks Island you will find Battery Steele.

It’s there because of World War II.  It’s a huge, sprawling gun battery site, pointed out to the open sea, apparently to be used if German U-boats or the Nazi fleet threatened the Portland, Maine harbor.  It is a massive concrete installation with a long tunnel that probably stored ammunition and other supplies.  At one time it must have been powered with overhead lighting and been bustling with activity.

IMG_4334The war ended almost 70 years ago, and the threat of Nazi attack was fleeting.  The government long ago abandoned Battery Steele. Owned by the Peaks Island Land Preserve, you find the installation by walking down a meandering path through a bog, ultimately to reach this grotesque, gray intrusion into the natural landscape.

It is a very creepy place with a strong post-apocalyptic feel to it, like a setting from The Road Warrior.  The sweeping gray concrete walls have proven irresistible to graffiti artists.  Without lighting, the long central tunnel is pitch black and looks like the pathway to hell.  The resulting, unsettling sense of lawlessness has you looking over your shoulder, half-expecting to see the Humongous and his gang of psychopaths come charging out of one of the concrete doors.

On our visit yesterday, there were no rampaging gangs, and the birds chirped and the insects buzzed.  Still, we couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.IMG_4341

The Book Of . . . Enough Already!

Last night Kish and I decided to watch a movie on HBO On Demand.  We ended up picking The Book of Eli.  We both like Denzel Washington, I like science fiction.  Why not?

Only a few minutes in, I thought to myself, “I’ve seen this movie already,” even though I hadn’t.  And that is because the ugly future, post-apocalyptic, lone hero movie has been done to death.  How is The Book of Eli different, for example, from The Road Warrior?  Something horrible has happened, civilization has crumbled, and the animal nature of the remaining humans is being acted out in the most gruesome fashion.  A lone guy appears, fights and beats and kills dozens of subhuman survivors, and then helps to set humanity back on the road to civilization.  They even share religious themes.  The only difference is the explicit Biblical aspect of The Book of Eli.

Apocalyptic themes have long been popular in science fiction books and science fiction movies.  On The Beach, A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Road, and The Stand come readily to mind.  Isn’t it about time that authors and screenwriters start looking at futuristic movies involving an Earth that falls somewhere between Star Trek and cataclysm?