Friday, August 27, 2021

Dark Rain, Dark Reign


I can't seem to find it but I believe I did a post about this episode of The Outer Limits around 2011 or so. Maybe it was on one of the sister blogs. Anyhow, it resonated with me then and resonates with me even more now, in light of more recent slow-motion catastrophes.

Here's the synopsis from the TOL Wiki:

A chemical war leaves most of humanity unable to reproduce.

Only rare couples, such as Sherry and Tim McAllister, are able to have healthy, normal children. Sherry and Tim McAllister conceive and become the focus of intense attention from the government.

The couple slowly comes to the realization of how important the pregnancy is to the government, and how far it will go to get what it wants.

They find themselves in a secret maternity hospital overseen by Dr. Clayton Royce. The McAllisters are truly horrified when they find that Dr. Royce has hidden designs on their newborn son, as he intends him to be a permanent ward of the state. 

For my money, "Dark Rain" seems to have been inspired by this novel:

The Children of Men is a dystopian novel by English writer P. D. James, published in 1992. Set in England in 2021, it centres on the results of mass infertility. James describes a United Kingdom that is steadily depopulating and focuses on a small group of resisters who do not share the disillusionment of the masses. 

Oh, 2021, you say? Well, isn't that fascinating. How did James fare as far as prophecy goes?

The narrative voice for the novel alternates between the third person and the first person, the latter in the form of a diary kept by Dr. Theodore "Theo" Faron, an Oxford don.

The novel opens with the first entry in Theo's diary. It is the year 2021, but the novel's events have their origin in 1995, which is referred to as "Year Omega". In 1994, the sperm count of human males plummeted to zero, a feminist civil war broke out, and mankind now faces imminent extinction. The last people to be born are now called "Omegas". "A race apart", they enjoy various prerogatives. Theo writes that the last human being to be born on Earth has been killed in a pub brawl. 

During their discussions, as Theo prepares to meet with Xan, the reader learns how the UK is in 2021: 

    The Omegas are described as spoiled, over-entitled and egotistical because of their youth and luxurious lifestyle. They are violent, remote, and unstable. They regard non-Omegas (elders) with undisguised contempt, yet they are spared punishment due to their age. 

According to rumour, outside of the UK, some countries sacrifice Omegas in fertility rituals.

    Due to the global infertility of mankind, newborn animals (such as kittens and puppies) are doted upon and treated as infants, pushed in prams, and dressed in children's clothing. The latest trend in London is to have elaborate christening ceremonies for newborn pets.

    The country is governed by decree of the Council of England, which consists of five people. Parliament has been reduced to an advisory role. The aims of the Council are: (1) protection and security, (2) comfort, and (3) pleasure, corresponding to the Warden's promises of: (1) freedom from fear, (2) freedom from want, and (3) freedom from boredom.

    The Grenadiers, formerly an elite regiment in the British Armed Forces, are the Warden's private army. The State Secret Police (SSP) ensures the Council's decrees are executed.

    The courts still exist, but juries have been abolished. Under the "new arrangements", defendants are tried by a judge and two magistrates. 

All convicted criminals are dumped at a penal colony on the Isle of Man. There is no remission, escape is almost impossible, visitors are forbidden, and prisoners may not write or receive letters.

    Every citizen is required to learn skills, such as animal husbandry, which they might need to help them survive if they happen to be among the last human beings in the UK.

    Foreign workers are lured into the country and then exploited. Young people, preferably Omegas, from poorer countries come to England to work there. These "foreign Omegas" or, generally, "sojourners", are imported to do undesirable work. At 60, which is the age limit, they are sent back ("forcibly repatriated"). British Omegas are not allowed to emigrate so as to prevent further loss of labour.

    Elderly/infirm citizens have become a burden; nursing homes are for the privileged few. The rest are expected and sometimes forced to commit suicide by taking part in a "quietus" (Council-sanctioned mass drowning) at age 60.

    The state has opened "pornography centres" as well as installing special transmitters that emit a special kind of radiation designed to increase libido. 

Twice a year, healthy women under 45 must submit to a gynaecological examination; and most men must have their sperm tested, to keep hope alive.

Very interesting, indeed. 

Personally speaking, I much prefer the ending to "Dark Rain" than Children of Men. For me, it speaks to a truth that has been confirmed again and again over the span of our history. I won't spoil it but I think you'll see what I mean.

Tell me which you prefer in The Den of Intrigue.