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Working After the Collapse

The 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.

Working 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.

The various 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.

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