My earliest exposure to stories of survival was probably¬†Robinson Crusoe. I never planned on writing tales like that, but as fate would have it, I’ve written several.¬†There’s a scene in An Island Away in which Captain Nathan Beck is adrift in the Caribbean for nearly a week. He ultimately comes ashore in Savaneta, Aruba. Another one is in MacMillan Judge, Privateer and will be published in the future. Young Mr. Judge lands in Spain.

In the modern age, it’s hard to imagine being shipwrecked on a desert island, or lost at sea, or abandoned in a jungle somewhere. But it does happen. There was the tragic case of the scuba divers left behind, as well as incidents of plane crashes where a survivor managed to find his way out. I took the opportunity to watch a few episodes of the television programs on this subject. There are a couple of guys who are survival specialists who do everything from build a fire in the rain forrest to ice fish in the arctic. It’s quite impressive and a testament to human ingenuity that they can use their opposable thumbs and brains to come up with food and shelter.

Of course, the real solution is to avoid disaster in the first place. As the old saying goes: prior preparation prevents poor performance. It seems that some people go aboard boats, airplanes, or simply walk into the woods with neither the equipment nor skills to deal with what awaits them. This is simply idiotic. I’m not sure why people volunteer for misery. They apparently can’t get enough. Of course, the resources of the nation are then mobilized to rescue them. I’m short on sympathy in this case, especially when the rescuers have to risk their lives to save someone who did something moronic in the first place. The cost? Forget about it.

Anyway, like I said in an earlier post, fiction is a place where things can be pondered without anyone getting hurt. The real world on the other hand will inevitably teach the lesson you didn’t plan on learning. Be careful out there.

Published in: on September 24, 2008 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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