About “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth”
Cory Doctorow’s story for Wastelands, “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth,” is, as the title implies, about the last systems administrators on Earth, huddling in their network operations centers, after a series of disasters ends civilization. Doctorow said that the protagonist, Felix, is “the head sysadmin for a large financial services company with a wife and a newborn son. When they are killed in the attacks, he finds himself with nothing left to care about, except the Internet that has been his spiritual home for decades.”
Doctorow used to work as a sysadmin, and so has infinite respect for the profession, he said. “Sysadmins are the secret morlocks of the information age, the unregarded heroes who keep the bits humming.”
The Appeal of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
The appeal of post-apocalyptic fiction, according to Doctorow, is the clean slate effect. “[It’s like] starting over, like wiping out a virus-ridden hard drive and reinstalling from scratch, cleaning out the cruft, simplifying and getting to what matters.”
Favorite Examples of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
Doctorow cites John Wyndham’s novel Day of the Triffids as his favorite, as he’s a sucker for stories with scary plants.