So you can read my books

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Eternity is really long, especially near the end. - Woody Allen

I'm speaking at a Sci-Fi convention this weekend.

For those of you who cannot make it ... which means most of you,

I thought I would give you a bit of my first presentation :




We’re doomed. Hollywood says so. Why?

Pop Culture has long had a fascination with the end times.

21st century Man is like the proverbial kid in the backseat :

“Are we there yet?”

Man becomes preoccupied with the end of things During bad times.

And these have certainly been bad times lately :

earthquakes, tsunamis,

famines, wars,and economic collapse.

Sociology professors say that our fascination with the end times

reflects a hunger for meaning in these admittedly bad times.

We want to know where we are going And how soon we will get there.

And while myths and religions have long talked about the end of the world,

It has only been since the rumblings that led to the first World War

that literature,and later movies,

started telling stories of individuals struggling during the world’s death.

H. G. Wells wrote his famous WAR OF THE WORLDS in 1898.

Scholars call the study of the end times … Eschatology.

Which is fun for the dark little boy inside me

because it Is only letter and one syllable removed from Scatology

Which is the scholarly study of folks fascinated with Excrement.

And sadly, sometimes it’s hard to know the

Difference lately what with Hollywood has been giving us.

And so here we are in 2011.

Some experts said we wouldn’t make it.

Some theologians thought the end would come In 1988.

Why then, of all years?

It marked a full generation passing since Israel became a nation in 1948.

Then, the theologians said the time clock For the

End Times started When Jerusalem was in Israeli hands once more in 1968.

2008 came and went.

Terrible times especially around here in Lake Charles after Rita.

But no End Times

Unless all of this is a bad dream.

And sometimes it does feel like one, doesn’t it?

But the truth is when the end comes :

For you, For Man, For the World,

That time is unknown. The unknown.

Its allure is what gave birth to myth,

legend, and tales told around the campfire.

Man wants to know the unknowable.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Human Nature hates it even more.

Mankind can't abide not knowing.

If Man doesn't have an answer, he will make one up.

And that is why we have myths.

And the desire to make up the answer is why we have science fiction and fantasy.

And the greatest unknown, of course is Death.

We listen to doomsday economic, political,religious jihad news.

We go to the theater and see the world end, only to go outside in the bright light of day,

seeing the cars pass by and hearing the pedestrians chatting away on their cell phones.

Just Hollywood. We're safe. Aren't we?

Not so you’d notice. Jamestown.

Jim Jones convinced his followers that the world was about to end in nuclear horror. They mixed in cyanide with their Kool-Aid and drank it down.

Personally, I believe something stronger was called for. It's a terrible joke for a horrendous reality But …

There is Heaven’s Gate and its herald, Marshall Applewhite,

whose followers believed his tale that

their souls were about to be snatched up by the spacecraft flying in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.

All they had to do get on board

Was die.

No Kool-Aid for them. No, sir. They mixed their poison with good old American Pie,

washed down by vodka.

It is no wonder Hollywood considers us gullible.

But there is another reason why we all flock to End of the World movies such as Armageddon, Deep Impact, When Worlds Collide, I Am Legend.

We want to believe

That somehow, someway,we’ll be able to fix it and make things right.

Science has become our new God. And it will make things right.


Science may be God to some.

But it is a vengeful God.

Man has never made a weapon that He has not ended up using. Even a limited nuclear exchange


5% of the global nuclear arsenal}

would almost certainly ANNIHILATE life on Earth as we know it.

Hollywood responds with THE ROAD




Hollywood tells us what we want to hear :

Something good of what we were would survive.

Hollywood doesn’t seem to get the TRUE message. Which is :

WE want to survive, skippy!

Which is why the end times movies that do the most box office are the ones in which the main hero survives

MAD MAX franchise.

The first MATRIX.

The 1st PLANET OF THE APES movie

{Yes, I know Charleton Heston’s not ecstatic.

But he’s alive and he’s got the babe. And a kicker of a last scene.}

Think INDEPENDENCE DAY : Great last scenes. “Get up and shout” scenes.

Now think CHILDREN OF MEN : “Put the gun in your mouth and pull the trigger” last scenes.

And the box office receipts showed it.

You and I don’t want to spend ten dollars to get depressed! We can stay at home and be that for free!

Oh, and don’t think that the scenario of CHILDREN OF MEN could happen?

Think again, skippy.

The average sperm count has dropped by HALF in the last 30 years!


People in industrialized countries don’t make nearly enough babies.

People in the third world lose many of their young children to poor conditions. It gives you something to ponder.

And then, there is the zombie craze.

Oh, sure, it’s all fun and games until your girlfriend suddenly wants to make a snack of your brains.

But Hollywood knows we are drawn to a story following a small group of friends,

facing a world of devastated, formerly familiar streets filled with throngs of trudging,hungering, walking corpses.

We ask :

What would I do in such a situation? Where would I go? Who would I take? What would I bring?

It is why the TV series, THE WALKING DEAD, did so well for AMC.

But behind all the movies lies the promise that we could survive if we were smart and lucky.

Bottom Line : We could survive.

There would be a tomorrow.

We all have an inbuilt need to associate ourselves with those who survive.

We all have this crazy human need to believe that we will beat the odds when others do not.

There's a powerful scene near the end of The Road,

the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize—winning novel,

where a father and son sit silent together under brooding skies on a wasted, nameless beach,

littered with human and whale skeletons.

They have finally reached the coast after traversing by foot a post-apocalyptic America filled with nightmare dangers, hardships, and traps.

The boy, about age 10, has never seen the sea.

"What's on the other side?" he asks.

"Nothing," replies his father,suffering from malnutrition and despair, after having fought off evils both human and animal.

All along he has urged his son to maintain hope —

to "carry the fire" — but has slowly lost his own.

The boy, who believes there's still goodness somewhere in their dark and dying world,

looks out to the sea and says,

"There must be something."

Wanting to keep his son's hope alive, the man pauses and then answers.

"Maybe there's a father and his son, and they're sitting on the beach too."

Like McCarthy's 2006 book, the film is both depressing and redeeming;

it depicts one of the most loving father-son relationships to appear on the big screen.

And this particular scene speaks volumes for all of us asking a universal question.

What's on the other side?

And that is what good Science Fiction and Movies do for us :

They help us discover for ourselves what we feel is on the Other Side.

In my worldview,there is indeed a Father and His Son waiting for us On The Other Side.

And remember …

"apocalypse" doesn't mean end,

but is Greek for "revelation" --

an unveiling of truth.

Let us keep looking for truth in the world around us and

in that most puzzling world : The one within us.


  1. Good luck Roland. I'm sure you will do great :)

  2. Wish I could go, but a bit far away. Thanks for sharing with us. The end of the world started for me with "chicken little" I continue to be convinced that the sky will fall.
    Lovely picture of gypsy.

  3. Oh, I wish I could be there if this is any indication of the entire thing.
    Wonderful piece.

  4. I wish I could be at the convention to hear you speak! It sounds like a great topic. Have fun and take pictures for us.

  5. Wow, that's some speech. They will be hanging on your every word.

    I wish I can be there to hear you give it.

  6. Thanks, Niki :
    I wish I was as sure I was going to do well as you! Nervous Nellie me, LOL.

    Siv :
    It would be a long way, wouldn't it? Still I wish all my friends could be there.

    GigglesAndGuns :
    Thanks for the kind words. They give me confidence to face that crowd.

    Heather :
    Yes, I will try to have fun and just go with the flow of the audience. Maybe a give and take of questions. Alas, my camera is on the fritz. No pictures. :(

    Michael :
    Either they'll be hanging on my every word, or they'll be hanging me! Sci-Fi conventions audiences can be rough! Wish you could be there, too. Roland

  7. Great information and good luck i wish I was there.

  8. Hi Roland .. enjoy the weekend .. it's probably a good therapeutic space .. just what's needed for a short time .. and give you something new and different to think about .. these times are never easy. Look after yourself .. with thoughts .. Hilary

  9. Thanks, Josh. I think you would enjoy the convention.

    Hilary : I shall try to enjoy the moment, but my mind is so unfocused, it may be "interesting" up on that stage! LOL. Thanks for caring, Roland

  10. Wow, that's so awesome! And I love your speech. I'd forgotten the real meaning of apocalypse!

    When you get up to speak, just imagine all of us there in the back row. We'll be the ones clapping the loudest :)

  11. Super. Congratulations on the speaking engagement. You'll be awesome.


  12. Good luck this weekend. This is a great speech, wish I could be there to hear it in person.

  13. WordsCrafter : I will take your advice and see all of you in the back row. I'll be speaking to you, gaining strength from your invisible presence!

    Thanks, Jo :
    I will see you there in the back row, too. I'll try to knock 'em dead for you.

    Donna :
    I wish I were as sure of that as you! LOL.

    Theres just life :
    Thank you so much for liking my speech so much. Have a great weekend yourself, Roland

  14. Have an awesome time at the convention this weekend! That's so exciting to be a speaker at a convention. I'll be thinking about you and looking forward to next week's posts to hear more about it.