Roy Scranton is the author of the novel War Porn (Soho Press, 2016) and the philosophical essay Learning to Die in the Anthropocene (City Lights, 2015). His journalism, essays, fiction, poetry, and reviews have been published in The Nation, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, LIT, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Los Angeles Review of Books, Contemporary Literature, The Appendix, and elsewhere. He is also one of the editors of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013). He holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton and an M.A. from the New School for Social Research, and teaches creative writing in the Department of English at the University of Notre Dame.
24 January 2017
Imagine a hurricane, a hurricane like Matthew, aimed straight at the heart of the American petrochemical industry.
Isaiah whirls through the sky, gathering strength from the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters. Beach towns are evacuated. Citizens and companies in Texas’ petro-industrial enclaves from Bayou Vista to Morgan’s Point are warned: Prepare for the worst.
The huge cyclone gathers strength as it nears the barrier islands off the coast, intensifying to Category 4. Hours before landfall, 150 mile-per-hour winds begin pushing water over the Galveston Seawall, and by the time the eye finally hits, Galveston has been flattened by a 20-foot wave.
Isaiah’s monstrous arm reaches across the bay toward Houston, some 50 miles inland, adding water to water, and when it smashes into the Exxon Mobil Baytown refinery, the storm surge is over 25 feet high. (Read more in the New York Times)