Fans of Michael Kluckner’s history books—Vanishing Vancouver, Vancouver the Way it Was, and several others of his beautifully illustrated history books, might find his latest release a big departure. 2050, A Post-apocalyptic Murder Mystery is a graphic novel, a fictional account of a Vancouver that has been ravished by disease, climate change and a benevolent dictator who keeps the population poor to reduce their carbon footprint and ultimately save the planet. You’ll recognize Orwell, Huxley, and a nod to Mayor Robertson, with “Pleasant Planet”—a drink that keeps the populace both happy and sterile.
Michael came up with the idea on a trip to Cuba a few years back. “What intrigued me, was the way that people were cobbling the old cars together and keeping them going,” he said. “They were fixing things rather than just throwing things away, and I couldn’t figure out whether this was the future or whether this was the past.”
Michael took out his sketch pad and drew buildings in old Havana that had collapsed into the street from lack of maintenance, but still provided homes for people. He drew people fishing from inner tubes, the horses and carriages that provided transportation, and the posters of Che Guevara telling people to keep faith in the revolution.
Following a war over water, a significantly reduced population due to flu (not real estate prices), and water levels that have risen to massive proportions, Vancouver 30 plus years into the future isn’t all that recognizable. Fortunately, some things have endured.
There’s the Marine building for instance. Other Vancouver landmarks are the Burrard Bridge (or rather the top of it), the Carnegie Community Centre, and Hastings Street.
It’s Michael’s second graphic novel, Toshiko—set in the Shuswap and Vancouver during the Second World War, came out last year.
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