PORTLAND, Ore. – The frightening possibility of a 9.0 earthquake in the Pacific Northwest is becoming a pop culture phenomenon.
Is a San Andreas-style movie next?
This version is billed as “reported science fiction.” It imagines a 9.0 magnitude earthquake striking off the coast of Newport.
“After the Big One,” written by Portland resident Adam Rothstein, describes what could happen in Portland after the earthquake comes to pass.
Like Schulz’s article, Rothstein's piece describes in detail how the quake could shake Portland. But Rothstein takes a different approach by playing out some worst-case scenarios.
In the first installment, a landslide takes out the West Hills, masonry buildings crumble and trap people inside, and the wall holding back the Willamette River gives way.
Rothstein's account also imagines fuel tanks in Northwest Portland rupturing, causing a fire that ignites the North Portland neighborhood of St. Johns.
It’s that worst-case world that allows Rothstein to build from a post-apocalyptic landscape. Gone are the twee trappings of the Portland we know now. In its place, a city full of “dangerous, groaning, smoking terrain.”
It’s a scenario terrifying to many Portland residents but a perfect landscape for a fiction writer to build upon.
As part of the Vice coverage, Rothstein discussed the imagined world as one where people must work with one another to survive.
“Maybe we escape this nightmare together, in one way or another,” Rothstein said.
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