|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Monday, November 29, 2010
Transport links across Scotland have been severely disrupted today by an overnight fall of an unknown substance from the atmosphere. Lying several centimetres deep over much of the country, it has made roads, railways and airport runways dangerously slippery and often impassable. As an emergency interim measure while authorities and scientists struggle to identify the phenomenon, schools have been closed.
The mystery material is initially white in colour, and is said to sometimes resemble salt. Attempts at closer comparison have failed because salt has - also overnight and unexpectedly - disappeared from all retail outlets.
Local sci-fi writer Ken MacLeod, who had to cancel plans to meet his daughter for lunch because of the transport chaos, blamed the lack of preparedness on 'cultural snobbery towards science fiction'.
'I'm not asking for some sort of instant readiness for anything,' he said. 'That would be utopian. But I do think that reading a few catastrophe novels or even watching the odd disaster movie on TV would open minds to the possibility of unprecedented events.'
A source at Edinburgh City Council accused the writer of having his head in the clouds. 'All we can do now is wait for the scientists to come up with something, which could take months. And keep watching the skies.'