“Someone made off with all the jewelry, fags n’ booze…which is why we want this place to open up!”
“Hey, mate – what’d’you think you’re doing?”
“Free bum, innit? Got a problem with that, Sidney Poitier?”
“You can’t just nick stuff.”
“No barman, no crew…so who’s gonna stop me?”
“So that’s it? That’s your argument? There’s no one to stop you, so that makes it alright?”
A cross-channel ferry with a group of drunken football hooligans turns ugly, when Janet, Molly and new pal Marcus find themselves trapped aboard during quarantine.
And when an attempted embarkment via lifeboat finds the perpetrators gunned down by shoreside forces, matters become entirely more desperate…
With mob rule, paranoia, thuggism and even blatant xenophobia and racism taking over the discourse, their pleasant workaday trip turns entirely Lord of the Flies. With a real life “lifeboat” values clarification scenario in effect, can our heroines survive?
“I’ve been thinkin’. This thing started abroad. It didn’t start in Britain…it was spread by foreigners, wallowing in their own muck.”
An uncomfortably obvious mirror to current societal attitude shifts and an all too-possible scenario, Jonathan Morris’ Cabin Fever quickly turns from the vague potential menace of drunken goodtime hooligans to an out and out dystopia of the sort mirrored in modern sociopolitical discourse, in the wake of an increasing socioeconomic inequality and income disparity between the uber-rich gated community corporatocracy and the huge group comprising all of the rest of us.
Hinting at much broader issues while addressing some disturbing but all too present atavistic tendencies among the disenfranchised, this is easily the best and most immediately relevant of the 12 (13 if you count the audiobook adaptation) Survivors installments to date.
Because the greatest enemy we face in the class war is not in fact the privileged elite, but ourselves…
“OK, Johnny boy, turn me on.”
Next up, Vienna’s Chase Masterson and pal Jonathan (James Joyce) are a very cross-Atlantic London Calling, trying to find fellow survivors in a newly desolate nation. Molly and friend Dalton (Andrew French) lose their precious radio to the effective troll under the bridge while Abby (Carolyn Seymour) and Daniel (John Banks) make their way to the broadcast station and encounter some unexpected paramilitary resistance…
“Really, Abby, they’re just a bunch of assholes!”
Trapped in an Underground that floods with the tide, can Abby and Daniel make their way to the source of the transmission before a self-styled “new British government” fronted by a rather National Front frontman* can commandeer the airwaves and prevent those bloody foreign elements from responding to her call?
* egregious wordplay entirely intentional.
“Vinnie don’t half talk some rubbish. When all’s said an’ done, foreigners are the same as us.”
Author Simon Clark continues in the same vein as Morris, delivering another sadly all too relevant cautionary tale for our times. While even darker in its way than the prior tale (and entirely absent of that story’s claustrophobic seaside atmosphere), there’s a consistent clarion call being sounded here, and one we’d do well to attend to the peals of.
Then Molly and Daniel meet up with Chase Masterson’s Maddie Price, while Abby and Dalton find themselves the unwilling “guests” of the “New British Government” in Andrew Smith’s Rescue.
“We’re an island. We can quarantine ourselves, total isolation. No one in and no one out. We put our own house in order, for our people.”
“This is a worldwide disaster, Vinnie, not a British one. Everyone everywhere will need to help if we’re to come out of this with any kind of civilized society.”
“It’s like I said, the plague came from abroad – like everything else that’s polluted this country in the last 20 years.
Great Britain has been weakened. Its spirit, its heritage and even its bloodline have been diluted, by immigrants and their cultures and foreign diseases.
If this country’s going to get over this and amount to anything again, it needs strong leadership. Leaders with a vision.”
Finally, Matt Fitton puts the gang dockside, as Garland spearheads an effort to sail to the Colonies (as it were) aboard a new Mayflower…but will the “New British Government” derail the plan before it even gets started?
“This world’s gone to shit. We’re just getting back on our own feet…is that what we want? A bunch o’ Yanks tellin’ us what to do?
The way I see it, it was lettin’ foreigners into this country that caused this mess. The death wouldn’t have happened if we’d kept a proper watch on our borders. So that’s what we need to do now, while we still have the chance.”
Paul Thornley’s Vinnie wends his way through the season’s ongoing narrative like a serpent, from his drunken footballer cum Jack Merridew to the more pointedly Michigan Militia meets Klan-style National Front “new British government” thug he becomes later.
Thornley’s Vinnie is believably of the type being represented, stupid and decidedly rotten at core, yet charismatic in a strange sort of way, with simplistic “solutions” and scapegoating offered to the frightened, lost and easily cowed masses in the face of large scale, difficult global problems.
In fact, he fairly well equates to right wing demagogues and politicos not only here in the States, UK and (till a few weeks back) Canada, but all across the global political landscape – and this pointed realism, his obvious relevance and parallels to real world analogues world over makes him all the more frightening therefore.
Survivors has never been a comfortable series. The issues of atavism and not only politics, but philosophical standpoints and yes, morality have always been right there in the foreground.
And in that sense, Nation has authored a much needed wake up call to those of us who’d prefer to bury our heads in the sand, attending to the minutiae of our individual lives while allowing forces contrary to our own best interest, and moreover that of Western Civilization per se, to increasingly gain ground, presence, gravitas, financial backing, a frighteningly open public voice…and power.
If you really believe that hiding away is an option, then you’re gambling against ridiculous odds that the likes of Vinnie will never truly “win”, that people will see through his convenient lies. That man’s better nature will never allow or support the likes of him.
Standing up against evil is never easy. It’s not popular, it can often be varying degrees of dangerous. It turns people off, even those ostensibly “on the right side” of the politicosocial fence.
In fact, it actually scares people.
But when you look at yourself in the mirror, late at night…can you really kid yourself into believing that you actually have a choice?