The whalers of the plains shadowed us for a while after the attack. Today they got close enough that Martialla and Lucien threw a couple shots at them to encourage them to go away, which they did. I wonder what their motivation is for attacking us and everyone else who comes out this way. If they live off hunting wooly elk rhino buffalos what are they hassling us for? Maybe they want our vehicles. They look to have plenty of vehicles but where do they come from? Stealing perhaps. Where does any of their shit come from? I suppose it’s entirely possible they have no motivation other than being violent jerks like everyone else around.
Martialla suggested that it might be a religious thing. Maybe this area is their scared land. “Remember the bomb place?” she said. I do, I do remember the bomb place. In our goodwill tour we visited a community where they worshipped a missile silo. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that from Beneath the Planet of the Apes? Yes, yes, it is, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t know if there was actually a nuclear missile in there or not, but these literal mutants were like the fictional mutants underneath ape town in that their religion is based around nuclear annihilation. Makes sense if you think about it. A nuclear missile is more powerful than a lot of the gods from old myths. All Zeus could do is throw lightning bolts at people and turn into a duck and bang their wives. I’d take my chances with that over a cobalt bomb.
I had a college boyfriend that used to get high and watch the Planet of Apes movies and freak out about how it was sending and anti-ape message. When he was high he we convinced that’s why all the apes were going extinct, because people were killing them so they wouldn’t take over like in Planet of the Apess. One time when he was high I reminded him how that’s not true and how he knew that when he wasn’t high and he freaked out even more and started crying. That would make an interesting movie plot, multiple personalities are bullshit (like getting bullets out of people with a hot knife apparently) but there are for sure people who act different when they’ve been drinking and or under the influence of substances. A movie where somewhere becomes a different person in that circumstance could be cool.
Lucien heard us talking about Unexploded Bomb Town and said “Are you guys talking about the Atomic Priesthood?”
“Uh . . . what?” I said reasonably and smartly.
Lucien went on to make the claim that the US government (he’s always blaming things on Americans) when they started putting atomic wastes out in the deserts put together a bunch of scientists to figure out how to make sure people in the future didn’t mess with it. Atomic waste takes thousands of years to become inert and countries don’t last that long, so the US would be a distant memory but the waste would still be there killing everyone unless they knew about it. Seems like too much foresight for the government to me, and on top of that I think it’s treason to admit that the US might ever end.
Treasonous foresight notwithstanding, Lucien claims that one idea an anthropologist proposed as creating a religion around the atomic waste site because religion is the one thing that does last for centuries upon centuries. Hundreds of countries have come and gone through the march of time but Count Popeula and his Pope minions are still doing Pope stuff after two thousand years.
The proposed atomic priests would preach and do rituals and stuff about how the devil (or whatever) was in the ground where the waste was so you should stay away because religion. The atomic pope would be responsible for passing the rituals down the generations “creating and nurturing ritual-and-legend, whereby the uninitiated would be steered away from the hazardous site”.
Even Martialla laughed in his big blue face at that one but he swears that it’s true. This would also be a good idea for a movie. The crazy think tank comes up with this idea to create a religion to protect the future generations but what actually happens is they create a secret cabal that a couple generations down the line triggers a nuclear war because they want the world to crumble so they can fulfill their purpose. I imagine the atomic priesthood wearing extravagant red and yellow robes with that atomic symbol on them. That would look great on a movie poster.
Hugh Jackman would stumble on the plot and he’d do his shirtless best to stop it without wearing a shirt, but the end of the movie would be all the bombs going off and the Atomic Priesthood people would be in a state of ecstasy as everyone is annihilated. Then you have a sequel where it’s post-apocalypse times. Although now that I think of it have there been any successful movies like that other than Mad Max? Waterworld was a flop and a half. The Postman was a studio-ending flop. Tank Girl was a joke. I can’t even think of any other what were made. Maybe post-apocalypse is not a successful genre. Makes sense maybe, I sure don’t like living in it.
Anyway, if we ever get down to the southwest we can check and see if the Atomic Priesthood became a real thing and is skulking around. Which ironically is the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to exist for. If they exist.
I remember enjoying The Postman novel when I read it, a decade or more ago. Never saw the movie, but it’s a little sad that Hollywood will probably never option a David Brin book again.
Also, I think Atomic Pope could probably run a year or three as an IDW or Image comic.
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I thought the movie was “okay”, like Waterworld I think it gets more hate than it deserves. It wasn’t much like the book regardless.
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