In order to create the illusion of seamlessness between his experiences and his thoughts, he’s constantly “realising” things in scene, or else considering them, remembering them, being struck by them, or having them occur to him, though it seems likely he came up with them when reporting was done and he was toiling at his desk. I’m sceptical they just appeared in his mind while he was zoning out at the Heathrow Yo! Sushi. Perhaps these are intended as little apocalypses, to suggest that serious thinking can lead to a break or rupture in one’s life... “It’s just like Harry Potter, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Matrix, and Contagion!” social media users marvel when a news item resembles the plots of those stories. To treat these stories as prophesies is to miss the point of fictions completely. They’re supposed to be like life. By attempting to make the reverse true, to make reality fit into a fiction, O’Connell hasn’t really overcome his apocalyptic imagination. He has just passed it off to someone else.