“‘Listen to me,’ he said, ‘when your dreams are of some world that never was or some world that never will be, and you’re happy again, then you’ll have given up. Do you understand? And you can’t give up, I won’t let you.’”
― Cormac McCarthy, The Road
COMMENTARY by BRAD ROLLINS
Cormac McCarthy bagged a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for his grim 2006 novel about a father-and-son’s trek through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. McCarthy’s characters always inhabit landscapes that are barren and stark and unforgiving. With this book, the hopelessness is just more literal.
The typewritten first draft of The Road sits this very minute not far from where you’re sitting, assuming that happens to be in San Marcos or thereabouts. It is part of The Wittliff’s Southwestern Writers Collection, ensconced in granite on the top floor of Texas State University’s Alkek Library. The Wittliff archivists take great care to preserve all 98 boxes of McCarthy’s papers for future generations. The manuscripts and artifacts are kept in containers made of acid-free material, treated with buffering agents and sealants and stored in climate-controlled catacombs of file cabinets. If you go to see them — the McCarthy papers, that is — you’ll have to wash your hands, of course, and surrender all pens to a vigilant work-study student, lest you accidentally blot out a page of history with a leaky Bic.
These are the trappings of a wealthy nation, a soft and contemplative world, that can go to great lengths to ponder the human experience and even try to catch that divine spark in a bottle, or an acid-free box, for future generations to ponder anew.
But what if the Big One came upon us suddenly and San Marcos and everything else were plunged into a world without electricity and the other crude elements of civilization? One imagines a great many academics would be among the first to starve. But what about the rest of us? What would this new world look like? Americans are ever eager to entertain these questions.
The History Channel’s Life After People documentary drew 5.4 million viewers in March 2008, the most watched show in the cable outlet’s history. A spinoff series ran for two seasons and 20 episodes. And then there’s The Hunger Games trilogy which has been on the New York Times bestseller list, literally, for years; the movie pulled in $408 million at U.S. theaters alone.
The market has spoken and clearly this doomsday thing has legs.
In April, NBC ordered 22 more episodes of “Revolution,” the survivalist fantasy produced by J.J. Abrams, the creator of “Lost”. After the Texas Film Commission helped lure the show to Central Texas from its previous base in Wilmington, N.C., shooting for the second season got underway this month in the Austin area.
On Friday, the massive operation rolled into Caldwell County to film scenes for the season 2 premiere. Locations included an old grain elevator in Reedville owned by San Marcos area resident Kyle Hahn and on Main Street and the San Marcos River dam in Martindale. Hahn, who owns Green Guy Recycling in San Marcos, said he was approached by site scouts looking for rustic locations befitting the back-to-the-frontier-days trajectory of the show.
Season 2 of Revolution is scheduled to begin Sept. 25.
Assuming, of course, the world doesn’t end before then.