A Chilling Vision Of The Future

Author Dan Simmons has penned a riveting short story posited on a time traveler from the future showing up in Simmons’ study offering cautionary tales of the future. A pull quote from the middle of the piece:

I tried to relax. “What do you want to talk about?” I said.
“The Century War,” said the Time Traveler.
I blinked and tried to remember some history. “You mean the Hundred Year War? Fifteenth Century? Fourteenth? Sometime around there. Between . . . France and England? Henry V? Kenneth Branagh? Or was it . . .”
“I mean the Century War with Islam,” interrupted the Time Traveler. “Your future. Everyone’s.” He was no longer smiling. Without asking, or offering to pour me any, he stood, refilled his Scotch glass, and sat again. He said, “It was important to me to come back to this time early on in the struggle. Even if only to remind myself of how unspeakably blind you all were.”
“You mean the War on Terrorism,” I said.
“I mean the Long War with Islam,” he said. “The Century War. And it’s not over yet where I come from. Not close to being over.”
“You can’t have a war with Islam,” I said. “You can’t go to war against a religion. Radical Islam, maybe. Jihadism. Some extremists. But not a . . . the . . . religion itself. The vast majority of Muslims in the world are peaceloving people who wish us no harm. I mean . . . I mean . . . the very word ‘Islam’ means ‘Peace.’”
“So you kept telling yourselves,” said the Time Traveler. His voice was very low but there was a strange and almost frightening edge to it. “But the ‘peace’ in ‘Islam’ means ‘Submission.’ You’ll find that out soon enough[.]”

Go and read the whole thing (Profanity warning: short story contains a goodly bit of blue invective. Don’t let it distract you from the overall point). It’s really too bad that only fiction writers are tackling these issues head-on; personally, I’d prefer generals, Senators and Presidents were doing the tackling for everyone’s sake.

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