Stricklandia

Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"Wastelands" and other mental travels

I just started reading a new book. It's an anthology called "Wastelands," and the common thread running through all the stories is their setting in a post-apocalyptic world. I confess a certain morbid fascination with this sub-genre, which is often lumped in with general science fiction, but is really a genre-busting theme. As the editor of the anthology notes, one of the most recent examples of this sub-genre, Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," won the Pulitzer Prize.

What does this have to do with travel, you ask? The common thread running through my fascination with this sub-genre and my love of travel is escapism. Reading speculative fiction that imagines a world after societal collapse helps me escape the mundane trappings of everyday life. Conference calls, fluorescent lights, rush hour traffic: I can picture a world where these annoyances don't matter anymore. Similarly, thinking about travel, planning trips, actually traveling... they all provide a real escape from the everyday grind: sometimes for only the span of a daydream, other times for as long as my vacation time allows.

I realize my notions of post-apocalyptic fiction are romanticized fantasies, that the reality of an apocalyptic event like nuclear holocaust or a cosmic collision with an asteroid would be terrible beyond even my own overactive imagination. But, like travel to distant lands in the here and now, such mental travels help me keep the banality of corporate life and the everyday "small stuff" in perspective.

[Editors note: This is my 100th post. Congratulations to me.]

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