With America's economic future looking bleak, now's the time to read up on what to expect after the country fails altogether. Luckily, there are a whole host of stories about the fall of America, and the ravaging of our nation is a crime with many potential culprits. Here's the definitive list of suspects who might take us all down.As presidential candidates took hurried flights and held press conferences, the final fate of this country may be beyond them. Whether it's our excesses in the sciences, the final industry, or the military industrial complex, it's obvious America just doesn't have what it takes. In the words of Patrick Bateman, there is an idea of an end to America, but it is only an illusion... The Magazine: Mechanix Illustrated Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: 1950s illustrator Frank Tinsley was captivated by the end of America, and often drew two-page interpretations of its destructive in the pages of a futurist publication. Who Ended America?: Everything and anything. This popular science magazine featured glorious Tinsley illustrations of how America would bring about its doom. Tinsley was a science fiction writer and author of Captain Yank, and his poignant illustrations spell out the particulars of America's end better than we could.
The Book: The Man in the High Castle Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: Philip K. Dick, in one of his more subdued novels, a slow and cautious build to an open ending. Dick's brilliant idea was to include alternate history within alternate history, the mirror universe version of The Man In The High Castle. It's the book where the U.S. defeated the Axis powers, the mysterious Hawthorne Abendsen book, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Who Ended America?: The same people trying to kill The Spirit - those evil Nazis. The Nazi fantasy is a staple of speculative historical fiction. It had all the best marketing guys behind it, and it's one of the more evil paths humans nearly took. Although Dick is great with the details of his Nazi-dominated world, Robert Harris' marvelously detailed Fatherland is worth a look for those wanting more on the subject.
The Book: Paul Erdman's The Crash of '79 Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: Erdman crossed over from the financial sector (he headed the United California Bank of Basel) to pen a a series of novels concerned with coming economic crises. The way he depicts the collapse of the real estate sector is uncanny, and his view of the oil crisis in later books is just as prescient. Erdman is indeed the Nostradamus of financial industry. Who Ended America?: The book is told as a memoir of the crisis that ended America by a major player in the economy, anticipating the spate of memoirs from ex-Wachovia and Washington Mutual employees. Erdman never got tagged as a science fiction novelist, but with his uncanny economic predictions and background in Swiss banking, he advanced the genre of speculative economic fiction.
The Book: The middle volume of Joe Haldeman's vastly underrated trilogy, Worlds Apart Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: The Vietnam vet satirizes his war experience, and then turned to taking on wild abandoned refugee Florida, based on his many years spent in the state. An abandoned U.S. with a dying populace means that America is re-established in the stars. That way, we'll at least have a White House in space. Who Ended America?: In this case, a viral weapon. The first book in the series features an incredible self-contained novella about a soldier returning to life on Earth. In the second book, with an infected populace, Haldeman's narrator is immune because of acromegaly and travels around like a healer. The whole series is well worth checking out.
The TV Series: Amerika (not the far superior Kafka novel) Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: Proving that Lara Flynn Boyle once weighed over 50 pounds, this 1987 ABC miniseries also featured Kris Kristofferson, Mariel Hemingway, and Sam Neill in a role that may have foreshadowed 1994's Jurassic Park. Costing $40 million, the overlong series was a massive bomb and never re-aired in any form. Who Ended America?: The series was the ultimate Cold War fantasy, and you never actually saw the destruction of America. Naturally, that a was decision insisted on by an ABC executive. People actually feared the real-world consequences of the series, unlike today where Oliver Stone can fictionalize our President's coke binges. Amazingly God's right hand man Ben Stein got paid by ABC for originally coming up with the inspiration for Amerika.
The Book: The Plot Against America Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: Roth's 2004 alternate history in which FDR was defeated by the anti-Semitic Charles Lindbergh. Unlike war-focused alternate histories like Robert Conroy's 1945, A Plot Against America is mostly a convenient excuse for Roth to bring out old themes of anti-Semitism while not seeming like he's mired in past history. The suspension of civil liberties and the environment of fear is, despite Roth's protestations, a commentary on the Bush presidency. Who Ended America?: American intolerance ruined America. And probably all the masturbation in Portnoy's Complaint as well.
The TV Show: Jericho Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: If the history of America's eradication didn't predict doom for this CBS drama based in Kansas, mediocre writing and acting probably did. The show was never overly successful in the ratings, perhaps because soon Americans will simply be able to observe less-attractive versions of TV survivalists out their kitchen windows. Who Ended America?: A conspiracy that raged to the highest levels of government, duh. This led to nuclear attacks on 23 U.S. cities. You can watch the series for free on the CBS website and decide for yourself. According to Thomas Frank, the Kansans themselves could be responsible.
The Book: Liberation: Being The Adventures Of The Slick Six After The Collapse Of The United States of America is a new Brian Slattery book Whose Disgusting Vision Is This?: Slattery is the author of the wonderful Spaceman Blues, and this is his latest, in stores this month. Charlie Jane reviewed it here, but suffice to say, he had his eye on the economic crisis before our president did, writing about the subject when he's not working on full length novels. Though Liberation is overly detailed, it gets those details right. Who Ended America?: A pure economic collapse is foretold, and slavery makes an unexpected comeback. Slattery has group of six criminals fixing the situation. Since we're at the vagaries of the free market now, that seems about right. Now that you know it's coming, you'll want to learn how to properly prepare yourself. Mechanix Illustrated Archive [Modern Mechanix] Brian Francis Slattery [BFSlattery.com]