* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

The world is ending

6 September 2001
Matt would like to get off.

First, the Earth stopped turning relative to the sun, and the moon parked itself on the dark side, a little outside the umbra.

The Americans and part of the Pacific were permanently in the light, in the end. Slowing and stopping took the best part of a hundred years -- a century of storms and monsoons, but the weather eventually settled down into a different pattern as these things do. We never had a chance to find out whether the system was stable however.

Second, the Sun began to grow.

At that rate of expansion the Earth had probably only another ten decades until she was rendered uninhabitable. It's strange the way your perceptions change when you realise your children's children will witness the end of the world.

Too begin with it looked like the melting of the Antarctic would finish us first, but the increased evaporation from the great oceans (facing mostly sunward) kept the sea-levels down. And the water in the atmosphere was blasted off by the now strong solar wind. So we didn't know whether to be terrified or jubilant when we saw the wisps that used to surround us being blown out in a great plume reaching the orbit of Mars, but of course, in the end, it was that which saved us.

The stockmarkets collapsed, to begin with. It wasn't too long before they started up again, with a different kind of balance (and everyone went short on everything). Not much change their. No more grand building projects - there was no point - but a lot of work went into agriculture, which changed radically.

The light coming off the moon was much brighter than before, and what's more, continuous. While cultivating some crops became impossible, for others it was better than ever, and we ate a huge number of tomatoes before new forms of grain were perfected. (That's ended now too.)

We were stable, to a degree, we carried on. In its own way it was still a beautiful planet. Those still being born didn't realise the sky used to be bluer than it was, didn't know what the moon looked like without the thin steam obscuring it.

It's that's probably why one of the new generation was the first to mention it: How about using the moon to get away? There was enough water, icy crystals of the Pacific hiding around even crevice. And we'd learnt enough about living in low-light conditions, about nuclear energy. And we were desperate. The sun, we had discovered, was soon to start going nova. Oh yes, we were desperate.

And it all happened so quickly from then.

Lunar-One left four weeks ago. Those of us not chosen in the lottery moved to the mountainous regions along the ribben of twilight along the edge of the permanent daylight zone, now too hot and too radioactive to enter.

There's community of us high up in a range exposed under the old ice sheets of Antarctica, safe from the floods and winds. And it's a happy life, and a simple one. We farm, we talk, and we study. We're a group of cultural archeologists, searching through the archives divining the sweet spots of human knowledge. The results we beam out after Lunar-One, hoping that our research-at-leisure will help them on their way.

Hopefully we'll see them arrived at a safe port before the shells of stellar gas now being shed onto us finally take their toll on this small town, and this old, old, planet.

The glowing red spots show even through my fingers, so bright are they. Under a shelter in a field I cover my eyes while it rains flaming beads of sun. The drops fall on the ground and burn their way through the rock, the damp grass hissing and steaming. As the shower passes, a thousand tiny volcanoes cauterise the Earth's wounds. It happens quickly, and fifteen minutes later, on my way back to the car, I snap off a cone of rock to take home. In my pocket it's still warm against my thigh.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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