Saturday, April 10, 2010

Have You Been Living Underground?

I love getting the NPR updates on my Facebook, because I'll find fabulous gems like this article about the new underground bunker company Vivos. Make sure to watch the video as well.

Seeing these luxury disaster shelters immediately made me think about Philip K. Dick's underground world in The Penultimate Truth. In this novel people dwell in an series of connected pods miles below the surface of the earth. Their purpose in these pods is to produce robot soldiers to go to the surface and continue fighting the war that destroyed everything that lives and irradiated most everything else. Each day these pod societies churn out more robots, only to receive orders to build more robots. All the while, on the surface military fiefdoms have cropped up and the folks who orchestrated the war in the first place have carved out vast empty cities to belong solely to them, while the robot soldiers do nothing more than defend their territory from the encroachments of similar military lords. These Ozymandias-like princes jaunt around the country for pointless meetings in private helicopters and jets, and continue to think up ways to perpetuate this mythic war to the billions of humans dwelling underground. Needless to say a few brave souls in the pods are starting to question their conditions, and that's when things begin to really change. This was a quick read and absolutely fascinating.

In a more wacky fantasy vein there is also Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Simon is a digger in an underground village. His family died as the result of a cave-in back when he was younger and he was raised by his best friend Kamina. The lives of the people in Simon's village are turned upside-down when one day a giant robot crashes through the dome ceiling, revealing that there is both life on the surface and that it's unbelievably dangerous. Simon and Kamina team up with a surface girl named Yoko to defeat the giant robot and save their village, but that's only the beginning of a story that spans the most outrageously epic story you will ever read.

If you're more in the mood for a classic you may want to look at Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth made into a film starring Brendan Frazier. In this novel a professor travels down into different layers of geologic history, and along the way encounters the flora and fauna of the ancient earth. Yes, wooly mammoths and dinosaurs! How can you go wrong? On the other end of speculative time is H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, where in the far future the peaceful, childlike Eloi people dwell in the decaying surface buildings while the pale ape-like Morlocks live in the dark underground.

Any of these works would make good reading while living in your own beatiful underground dwelling.

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