Creating the Big One

Read Portal – Chapter 2 before reading this blog post.

I got a great email today about the big event in the Prelude of Portal. Hint: look at the background image of the website. I was told that the ‘trigger’ event is similar to Those Who Walk In Darkness by John Ridley. I’ve never read the book but now I will.

The email inspired me to write more about how ideas developed and how they became story elements. So how did I decide to nuke Los Angeles?

When I switched the story focus from supernatural to superhero (see the first blog post for why), I wanted a huge event that would be the source of human animosity for those with powers. In my world 9/11 never happened but since superheroes are real, that generational type event had to be bigger. I also wanted mundanes directly involved. The police, especially the SWAT teams of Los Angeles, would not just sit there while Enhanced battled it out and destroyed the city.

When I was in High School, I saw a 1983 movie called Special Bulletin. I was amazed at the ending when the nuclear device goes off, destroying Charleston, SC. Even though the special effects were less than spectacular, that scene has always been powerful to me. While I was rewriting my story, the very real Fukushima Daiichi disaster started to unfold. That is the nuclear power plant that melted down after the huge earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. Instead of an open discussion, the government of Japan and TEPCO (the corporation that owned the plant), hid the severity of the destruction and now, two years later, radioactive material is still leaking into the Pacific Ocean. Many of the after-events of Apocalypse come directly from that.

Other influences were Independence Day, DC’s Captain Atom, and the fantastic comic books, Kingdom Come and Watchmen.