A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a new feature that I call End Signs. Just as a reminder, the concept is that I take a look at recent headlines and then tell all of you how I would spin that into an end of the world story. This isn't intended to scare anyone with grim reminders of how dangerous a place the world has become. It is meant to be a fun exercise in story creation.
The next two news items make that all too easy. Israel hits several Syrian military positions with air strikes. While that is nothing new, Israel engages in this sort of minor armed actions with regularity, what makes it scary is the
current level of unrest in
Syria. What if Syria had an atypical response and invaded with a large force?
A war between Israel and Syria wouldn’t constitute the apocalypse. However, throw in another event, like the Israeli army killing a Palestinian teen and now you have a series of incidents capable of escalating the long simmering hatred of all parties involved into a global conflict.
In fact, I can picture a Tom Clancy novel starting off with these two events. Both incidents, one after another, create high-conflict scenes that would establish a heart-pounding pace for the story.
But then, the idea of World War III starting in the Middle East is a no-brainer. Oil fields.
Centuries of racial hatred. People with quick tempers that are easily ignited to violence. Practically, any news story from this region can be pasted into the pages of a novel and sound quite realistic.
In our high-tech world, it isn’t easy to make a plane vanish. We have radar that tracks the paths of thousands of aircraft each day. Starting a novel with an incident like this is sure to snare the reader’s attention. At first,
they’re going to continue to read in order to find out what happened to the missing plane. Then once they find out that this is just the prelude to the end of the world, they will continue to read to see how it all turns out.
That’s right. The apocalypse starts with the loss of an international flight. Within a month, three more have disappeared out of the skies. Six month’s later, no flight is safe. Even entire formations of military jets have begun to vanish. These are not terrorist hijackings. These are not incidents of catastrophic mechanical failure.
This is how the inter-dimensional invasion of Earth begins.
How about we call it Limbo and cast Denzel Washington as the military strategist who has to figure out a way to conduct a war with another dimension? And we can get Hugh Jackman to play the burnt-out vet who leads a strike team into Limbo in order to destroy the dimensional gate, knowing that it’s a one-way trip for him and his team.