I always think of this World War I battle this time of year for some macabre reason. It’s a battle that is important in both in its viciousness and utter destruction of the cultural and natural landscape.
That should delineate the sheer and total destruction of the landscape. In graduate studies, I examined the pre-battle landscape as an example in which the medieval landscape is able to be seen from the sky. You see lighter lines in the fields that once would have served as walking paths or old field boundaries. Further, the roads leading to the city are obvious and clean whites and the buildings of the town’s heart. Farmland and fields are perfectly delineated.
After the war ripped through, only the road’s foundations could be seen; hardly anything is realized as being part of the human landscape. Think of the terror, the sheer fear of the men and boys that fought here, think of the people whose homes were infinitely destroyed, think of the very landscape with which they were intimately familiar and how utterly unrecognizably cold it became.
It is clear then the impacts of World War I in the art of great poets and writers of this time period. However, aside the literature from that era, we forget wholly about it. I had a family member that fought in this battle as an American.
To the writers out there of speculative fiction, fantasy, or science fiction, there’s a very real price that people on the ground pay during wars that is far higher than the title character screaming “no!” as the bomb is dropped.