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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

S3 E11 - Raven Rock

Outro S3 E11

Hello and welcome my survivor friends.

How are we doing. For those of you playing along this is Season 3 Episode 11. For you time travelers, it is the ides of January 2023.

We have crested the halfway point of the season and are drifting downhill into the finish.

I will share a couple of, not reviews, but more like impressions, of a couple of things I’ve consumed in the last few weeks.

First, I finished a 2017 book called Raven Rock by Garret Graf. It is a weighty, analytical tome that chronicles the evolution of the United States preparedness plans for continuance of government (GOG) through the cold war and up into recent years.

Friend Dave gave it to me when we were out in Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Marathon last April. It is a dense, scholarly book chock full of facts and figures. It took me a couple starts and stops to get through it and I finished it just before the end of the year.

This book detail all the bunkers that got built to ensure the US government would survive a thermonuclear attack. At least long enough retaliate.

Apparently there is also a Vice Channel documentary based on the book from 2020 called “While the Rest of us Die” – but I have not seen it.

The US and its allies spent billions of dollars digging bunkers and hollowing out mountains over the years. Most of these bunkers have been decommissioned, but after 9-11 some were reactivated. The biggest one of these is called Mount Weather aka Raven Rock located in Blue Ridge Summit PA.

It has enough room to house the entirety of the US congress. (Although why we would want to save them, I probably shouldn’t comment on.) There’s also the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado. There’s one under the White House. The government had bunker fever early in the cold war. Almost every local government had a local bunker complex to sit out a nuclear war in the 1960’s.

It’s a b it surreal to read about because the underlying premise is that thermonuclear war was/is somehow survivable. Which, I’m pretty sure it is not.

Why do we care? Because one of the classic apocalypse fiction tropes is people surviving in bunkers. Every good apocalypse story has bunkers.

Which leads nicely into another series I started watching on called The 100. It was done for the CW network and ran from 2014 through 2020, but is now available on Netflix. I got 2 seasons in. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue.

The first thing an observant viewer will notice is that this is a young adult novel adaptation. The classic ‘Group of teens battling the forces of evil’. Think Maze Runner, Hunger Games, Harry Potter – it’s a well-traveled road.

One observation is that a group of teenage survivors living in a space station for 100 years probably wouldn’t all be built like underwear models. I’m guessing they’d look more like Golem. They must have had some great genes.

Here’s where it ties back into Raven Rock. I started watching this right as I finished reading the book. And…wouldn’t you know it, the main nemesis in season 2 was a group of survivors from the US government in Mount Weather!

Yeah – I walked right into that one. So if you have your apocalypse bingo card out you can check off bunkers.

All in all, I’d give season 1 a solid C and season 2 a C+. I had to tap out early in season 3. They had two genocides in 3 episodes and that kinda turned me off. I know we are trying to create moral tension but do we have to wipe out entire groups of people? Men, women, and children?

Call me naïve but I just can’t swallow it without some intellectual revulsion.

I also watched my way through Wednesday. I appreciate Tim Burton’s trademark dark cinematography, having grown up with it. I really liked the main character Jenna Ortega - well done – she’s super likeable and will be a star.

The plot and storyline have some really dumfounding holes. At points it’s just silly. I guess they think you will be so dazzled by the characters and the cinematography that the plot doesn’t really matter.

I’d give it a B.

And finally, at least for today’s discussion, I watched the movie White Noise. With Adam Driver based on the 1985 novel by Don Delillo.

A lot of people Really loved the novel, but because of its complexity declared it couldn’t be made into a movie.

So, as the story goes, Director Noah Baumbach decided to take the challenge.

I started watching it because it was described as an apocalypse movie online somewhere. It is not an apocalypse movie. It is an absurdist comedy, like the World according to Garp or Rushmore or any Wes Anderson movie.

I almost turned it off 40 minutes in. I did that thing where you hit the info button on the remote to see how much time is left.

But I stuck it out. 90% of the people who watch this movie will hate it. The people who read the book, which I have not, and committed film students who like to hang out in dark rooms and discuss Francois Truffaut will like it.

If you do decide to take the plunge, watch through the credits, because they have this hilarious ode to consumer packaged goods Bollywood number in the credits.

So, my friends, that’s my update for the week.

Remember I can use your help to keep the lights on. We have subscription options on Acast and Patreon and I have added a new button on my new website where you can buy me a cup of coffee.

I know there are a bazillion podcasts out there asking for money and I appreciate your support.

As always, the links to everything will be in the show notes. I will also post this on the website.

Drop me a line if I can do anything for you.

And remember to stay out of the bunker!

But do Keep Surviving.

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