Chapter 17: New York State of Mind
Paul has already said that San Francisco is his favorite city (even though he lives in Chicago, like so many (all?) of Jenkins’ heroes).
But he also told Koontz that he loves New York. And to be honest, I’m kinda surprised that Jenkins has held back on the New York “reveal” for so long. New York, after all, has a long and proud tradition as the setting for post-apocalyptic and/or disaster stories. Deluge, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, Escape from New York, Escape from the Bronx (wooo!) and more recently, Day After Tomorrow and War of the Worlds.
Now, it’s not difficult to see why this is. Even people who have never set foot in New York are familiar with the iconic landmarks. Seeing famous buildings damaged/destroyed/repurposed in fiction makes the threat more immediate, more real. (And can be a great way to show off your effects budget.)
Moreover, in cases like Atheistopia, it can be a way to show the heartlessness of the enemy. (They turned Notre Dame de Paris into the “University of the Self-Movement”?* These evil atheists MUST BE STOPPED!!**)
So, let’s see how Jenkins handles the challenge of presenting a post-WWIII, Atheistopian Manhattan:
[Paul] had visited New York a couple of times as a youngster [only a few years after WWIII], but it seemed all the new buildings designed since then were black. It gave the island, particularly midtown, an ultramodern look and feel. While some of the ancient landmarks–the former Empire State Building (now the Atlantica Tower) and the former Chrysler Building (now the Northeast Tower)–retained their gray-granite charm, sleek black skyscrapers with black tinted windows dominated the skyline.
Seriously, THAT’S IT. The buildings are black.
Wow. How spooky and futuristic (oh, excuse me, ultramodern) to have buildings be black. What happened, did Jenkins just get black granite countertops in his kitchen and think that this made it the most super-duper ultramodern kitchen EVAH and so he decided to make New York City look the same?
Black buildings…it must be…THE FUTURE!!!!
Though I would be remiss if I did not also notice Jenkins’ nod to travel logistics–it takes Paul only an hour to fly from Chicago to New York, and today it takes about two hours. Huzzah.
I would also be remiss if I did not note that the NPO is putting up Paul in The Pierre. Which makes tons of sense except that it totally doesn’t, since the Pierre is right next to Central Park and the offices of Demetrius and Demetrius are in the Financial District.
(Picture from Wikipedia)
Plus, where is the money coming from to house Paul in a luxury hotel? He works for the Atheistopian FBI/CIA conglomeration, and he’s staying in this gorgeous hotel, far removed from where the investigation is actually taking place?
Nothing but the best for Our Hero.
*Yes, this actually happens in Silenced.
**Though really, Paul doesn’t seem to care.