LAYING NEW TRACK: ATOMS AWAY!

Drugs. They fog the mind. June will be the Month of Haze for me with these teeth extractions and pain pill/antibiotic numby numbs.
But avast! This morning the brain exploded from a good night’s sleep to a writing ‘frenzy’. By that I mean my two weeks of every other day, few hundred words of typing turned into a 1,800 word writing ‘fest’. Why the guotes? Well, I was up at five thirty. Minus meds I do 1,000+ per hour. I got the 1,800 after three hours of typing/staring. Not bad. A few more weeks to go bleh. Good thing I’m not on a publishing deadline.
Now, on with the show.
Today’s wordage went into my first atompunk novella. Want the title? ATOMIC NIGHTWATCH. What’s it about? The bane of existence…nuclear power and its horrors. I mean its ability to give us power. Yeah, right. This is a ~punk genre, so that means alternate history. What’s the divergence? No big atomic bomb. No Hiroshima. No Nagasaki. The government listens to Einstein…sort of. They don’t bomb the Japanese Empire. They irradiate their water supply with a secretly placed small atomic generator. Success! Right?
But millions die over the decades from poisoning. The US then allows a company to SELL the generators to the public. Great! Right? Eh…
The generators leak. The generators melt down. People die. Towns die. Americans flee many states. The company just keeps turning it out. Why? By the Sixties, it runs the US. Atomic jets. Atomic space station. Atomic trains. Riots. Starvation. Denial.
Enter the hero, an actual nice guy in a terrible world. I won’t give his name, but I wanted someone positive but not ignorant. A smooth brother who sees the bleak world but manages to find the upbeat. A people person. I’m not, at least not often enough. So he is refreshing to write. Sad to say, guess who his boss is? I’ll let you figure it out.
So, I like to say we read fiction to get away from fact in order to better process the facts of life. So, why atomic power if you hate it. Two reasons: one good, one bad.
Bad: I live in Salem, New Jersey. I live in the projects surrounded by trees and a farm field. Seems scenic and it is. Salem County is old and historic if on hard times. But we excel in natural country beauty. Cowtown and rodeo down the road, Revolutionary War history, quiet. Great for birdwatching and biking. However, go to our best spots for solitude and birds on Money Island Road, visit Fort Mott in Pennsville and pop a quarter in the shiny viewscope. Visit Hancock House in Hancock’s Bridge. What do they have in common?
From each spot, you get a vista killing view of the Salem Nuclear Facility in all its ugly gray concrete anti-glory.
Power supplying? Yes but to Canada, or so I’m told. Yep. How a toxic fake volcano sending electricity to our Northern Neighbor benefits us, I don’t know.  Oh. It’s a job creator. True. But the MiB is a job creator too, but do you want the job? OK. I know people need work so I never fault them. But this blight on our natural wonder affects us. For one, despite its ‘safety’ factor, the island is shut down too often for problems. Nervous? I am. Jehovah willing the problem never gets too bad it can’t be fixed. Sigh. Second, anybody aware of the waste in nuclear power generation. Living here has made me so, researching for Night watch has made it worse. The splendid deathliness of the Salem River (lovely but you can’t swim in it. Undercurrent, you see. Swim equals die) has been the victim of it. Mercury. For decades you couldn’t fish the river for the mercury. But they kept claiming it was low level! Now people fish and the fish are coming back. Blessed osprey and eagles are coming back. Hope it lasts.
Good: read my blogs and you will inevitably have to hear me talk comics. They’re not for kids, mostly. One of my favorite characters is Firestorm. Two men merge into one nuclear powered hero. Fusion. Or fission. Either way I’m happy. Firestorm was recently in the popular Flash TV show. I was more happy to see Firestorm (and I’m a BIG Flash fan). But the hero has nuclear power, force fields, controls his atomic density, matter transmutation, etc. Whoosh! My hero will have one such atomic power. Correction. He will have one atomic weapon, and suffer for it.
Why? Because as much as I live Firestorm and how writers in the 80’s wrote about disarmament and unstable nuclear creations, I don’t want safe nuclear. I don’t want to advertise a bum industry. So I do not wish to offend workers who need jobs, only the power itself and the bureaucracy that let it blossom. Fukushima still leaks y’all. Scary. Nuclear submarines. Scary. And they still want to expand it, make more giant ugly potter’s vases of doom.
I may post the first bits of Night watch somewhere for feedback. It’s more sparsely written than my steampunk, a rough draft. I’ll let you know when and where.
Maybe we’re in atompunk. At least down here, I am…

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2 thoughts on “LAYING NEW TRACK: ATOMS AWAY!

  1. Would you believe that until this post I didn’t know that the ‘~punk’ bit meant alternate history. I feel like I just found out about music so popular people don’t even like it anymore 😉

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