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April 19, 2016



Far From Utopia

Your adaptation of Douglas Palmer's geologically dystopian world view reminded me of the 1961 Twilight Zone episode titled The Midnight Sun, where we are told that the earth has suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and will inevitably and catastrophically fall into the sun.

Norma and her landlady Mrs. Bronson are the two main players in the episode (as summarized in Wikipedia) and are the last people left in their New York apartment building. Their neighbors have either moved north where it is cooler, or have perished from the excessive heat. As we join the two women in Norma's apartment it is close to midnight and is 110 degrees and as sunny as high noon. With the constant rise in temperature the women grow weaker and try to think cool thoughts -- but to no avail. When the temperature surges past 120 degrees they become delirious and fall to the floor in collapse.

The scene then cuts to a shot of the apartment at night, with heavy snow falling outside the windows. The thermometer reads minus 10 degrees. Norma has been bedridden with a high fever and is tended by Mrs. Bronson and a doctor. The plot strand about the earth moving closer to the sun is revealed to have been only Norma's fever dream. In reality the earth is moving away from the sun and the world's inhabitants will freeze to death. Norma, still weak, tells Mrs. Bronson about her nightmare and exclaims how wonderful it is to now have darkness and coolness. The episode ends as Mrs. Bronson and the doctor dread telling Norma the truth, and allow her to get some undisturbed rest before they reveal the catastrophe to come. 

Rod Serling's closing narration: "The poles of fear, the extremes of how the Earth might conceivably be doomed. Minor exercise in the care and feeding of a nightmare, respectfully submitted by all the thermometer-watchers in The Twilight Zone."

To that I can only utter. a respectfully submitted for your approval: "What's next, indeed!"

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