purpose of this book is to collect a series of documents from
the post oil crash period. Although many written records remain
from that chaotic time, and anthologies of this type have, arguably,
been produced, we contend that court records, government documents,
and the more questionable newspaper boards do not give a valid
impression of the common people's felt experiences of the subsequent
chaos. We have endeavoured, with that attempted veracity in
mind, to collect a series of texts that we contend are representative
of the Canadian experience in particular, and the post-oil crash
world in general.
What is different
about this collection when compared with others, is that we have
made a seemingly editorial decision to ensure that they are all
Canadian works and they have not--sometimes because of their incompleteness
or menial nature--been previously published. We have chosen a
story from each province and territory in Canada, so that the
effect of the historical period can be seen in reference to the
country's profound regional differences and vast distances. It
is hoped that these personal tales will round out our necessarily
narrow view of that time by giving both concrete information,
which we have no dearth of, and personal reactions to what must
have been a difficult and trying quarter century.
After the Collapse is meant to be a interlaced series of stories
which have in common that they are set in Canada, one for each
province, in a vaguely futuristic time when the worst implications
of Peak Oil have come to pass. Each of the characters suffers
from misinformation; their felt distrust for the media is substantiated.
Their misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the changes in
the world around them means that our portrait of this collapsing
society requires each disparate view.
The most telling
outcome of peak oil's inevitable disaster is the growing debility
of government when dealing with the series of problems that have
come about due to the oil industry crash. Land ownership underwent
a radical change, which is evident in the Monsanto land seizures,
and laws have been modified so that businesses like Waymart, anxious
as ever to capitalize on human misery, can exploit the sudden
wealth of cheap labour that mass unemployment implies. The texts
detail the disintegration of infrastructure, including hydro-electric
power and telephone, train, truck, car and bus transport, and
the growing desperation of the people.
stories outline different time periods, so that in some cases
events have taken place that other texts are unaware of; what
is history in one case is the present in another, but they are
tightly grouped chronologically to present their moments in time.
This representation of this era is not meant to be entirely a
portrait of misery, however. The various narrators, from a variety
of classes and genders, offer an inspiring view of our unwillingness
to become inhuman even in inhumane circumstances.