The apocalypse has arrived. Humanity was decimated by bio-terrorism; three engineered plagues were let loose on the world. Barely anyone has survived. Just a year before the collapse, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA, was publicly labelled as a place of sanctuary in a whimsical online, “what if” post. Now, it has become one of the last known refuges, and the hope, of mankind. Would you go to Grants Pass based on the words of someone you’ve never met?
Everyone please welcome co-editor of ‘Grants Pass’, Amanda Pillar:
Who would have thought that the end of the world would be such a prickly topic?
When Jennifer first sent me a copy of ‘Grants Pass’, I was captured by the struggles of humanity left in a world that had just survived an apocalypse. But it was the apocalypse itself that had me frowning. Tornados, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones, floods and droughts, plus 3 plagues. It was too much.
Call me a science nerd. It’s okay, most do. Jenn definitely does (now).
So I emailed Jenn and said we needed to sort the end of the world out. She agreed. And so, on two sides of the planet, we sat down at our respective computers and plotted the destruction of humankind.
That’s something everyone does, right?
There were arguments and debates. I said we couldn’t have the Pacific chain of volcanoes erupt because then we’d have a nuclear winter. She conceded. She said we had to have an earthquake, so I said only one. We then scratched our heads and argued over Tokyo or California as the best location for devastation. California won. (I didn’t mind, I live in Australia, if we have an earthquake that measures 4, it’s big.)
Then we argued climate change. We both agreed the greenhouse effect was important, so we changed the apocalyptic weather to climate change weather. Still bad enough, if you ask me.
Then came the viruses. Jenn originally had SARS as one of the deadly bugs, but I put my foot down and became a bit irritating. I think that might have been about the time Jenn considered flying over to Australia just to throttle me. Also, we’d been talking for a few hours, by this point.
I’d already studied communicable diseases for a thesis I’d been working on, so I rattled off a few nasty illnesses that could cause some serious damage if engineered. So Jenn and I went off and spent another hour or two googling deadly diseases. I think we both learnt more than most folks need to know about how a person can die from a contagion.
But in the end, we had something rock solid that was based in scientific fact. Jenn hadn’t been too sure we needed it to be that finicky, but I’m a nerd; we like things to be as accurate as humanly possible. I mean, seriously, when ‘The Big Bang Theory’ started an episode where Sheldon was discussing the issues of quantum teleportation, most of my friends thought it was hilarious that he’d thought of something so odd – but I had to agree with Sheldon (it was something I’d already considered).
So, if you ever need to discuss end of the world scenarios, you know that there are two people out there who can tell you how to destroy humanity. You’re best off asking Jenn first though, she isn’t as pedantic as me *winks*.
About our roaster:
Amanda Pillar is a speculative fiction author who lives in Victoria, Australia, with her partner & two children, Saxon & Lilith, Burmese cats. Amanda has had numerous short stories published and is the co-editor of the anthologies, ‘Voices’ (2008) and ‘Grants Pass’ (2009). She is currently co-editing ‘The Phantom Queen Awakes’ (Dec 2009) (out now)and ‘Scenes from the Second Storey’, which will be published by Morrigan Books at WorldCon 2010. In her free time, she plans on becoming the next Indiana Jones. You can find Amanda on facebook and Livejournal as well.
To which Jennifer responds:
I love Amanda like a sister… a sibling… a person you can’t get away from but want to.
I jest. I do.
I truly admire Amanda for her attention to detail and her willingness to answer all my challenges to her assertions. It wasn’t easy. This was my project she was messing with—even if she was making it better. To tell you the truth, I figured she wanted to get on a plane to the US and throttle me.
It really is kind of amazing that two such strong-willed women came to just the right compromise of ideals and facts to create such an amazing anthology. I really can’t wait to meet Amanda at AussieCon 4.
Click to jump to the Jennifer Brozek Roast Landing Page.