The desertification of the western hemisphere is very much present in the series 88.3, helping to create a dystopian effect, but it doesn’t drive the action. It happened a century before — people have learned to cope. I found a picture that reminds me of an old fallen millwall I saw in Maine last year — got to thinking how people used water not only to drink but to drive things, (mills) grind flour, float the flour down to a nearby town, sell it.
The action in the series 88.3 is driven by the mere human tendency to fall into dictatorships. Mostly people want to be left alone by the authorities to, as they say, get on with their lives. This is because getting on with your life is a profound challenge. Choosing the right mate — having children and then getting a divorce is a terrible life disaster. So there’s that. Then having children — babies will take every moment of every day. Then they start crawling. Then they become teenagers. Then your aging parents can’t see to get down the front steps and then they fall and then they need somebody 24/7 for a few weeks and an overworked child with his/her own children suddenly finds only four hours a day to sleep. Again. Like having babies. Again.
Then there’s work, making a living, trying to get to church or temple, keeping an eye on what the kids are learning, helping your neighbor get her car started…getting on with life. Somewhere in there perhaps there is time for reading, for singing, for works of the imagination. Maybe.
They just want to be left alone to get on with their lives in all those lives’ complexity and incessant demands of strength and spirit.
But people who run dictatorships are narcissists and they want to be the center of attention AT ALL TIMES. Fill out these forms for a car part! Hang the flag from your house front! Attend Great Leader’s speech or we will know you didn’t! What are you reading? That’s not approved! Into court with you, your hearing is a ten in the morning!
Narcissism is the signal definition of authoritarianism. So it is in the 88.3 series. I never defined the particular “political” strain of the cruel authorities — they all have a depressing similarity. What destroys this manic lust to spy and control in the 88.3 series is the return of water.
Meanwhile, in caverns measureless to man, water flows and we fill our imaginative cups to the brim.