September 25th, 2016
Guest writer for Wake Up World
I remember watching the film adaptation of Nevil Shute’s epic novel, On The Beach, almost 60 years ago. It starred Gregory Peck, Ava Gardener and Fred Astaire. It scared the daylights out of me. I also listened to the BBC’s radio serialised rendition too. It’s a terrifying tale about the aftermath of a WWIII in which nuclear weapons were used in the northern hemisphere. No side actually won as the whole of humankind ended up perishing ever so agonisingly from the resultant nuclear radiation – except for some “lucky” survivors who ended up huddled together on a beach in Melbourne, Australia, since it was the furthest point from the ever-spreading nuclear radiation.
In the movie, the “authorities” had the foresight to issue everyone with suicide pills to ease and accelerate their inevitable demise, and many of the characters are continually toying whether or not to take the pill in an ever changing situation. Does this sound like your kind of book or movie? Whatever was Nevil Shute thinking? You might also know him from his most famous Australian novel, A Town Like Alice.
Fast forward 55 years and Shute’s futuristic scenario is showing signs of awakening from its hibernation…