New stories by authors including Neal Stephenson, Rose Eveleth and Robert Harris imagine a techno-apocalypse precipitated by the internet. Some even hint at how we could dodge it
24 June 2020
THE nuclear blast that takes out Moab, Utah, in Neal Stephenson’s 2019 novel Fall; or, Dodge in Hell is “epistemic ground zero”. That is because it doesn’t actually happen. It is an online-only 9-11, a viral conspiracy theory that becomes the fault line along which the US fractures in two.
On one side, the people who believe that Moab is a no-go zone, and that the event has been covered up by swamp-dwelling politicians. On the other, the people who can freely travel …