The Evergreen Nature of the Apocalypse

As a writer and a reader, I’m fascinated by what humans do and how humans think. Apart from sheer escapism, it is probably the main reason I read (or watch TV/movies).

People being thrust into dire situations through no fault of their own, making ethical decisions for better or worse, clarifying their true natures (good, evil, flawed)…these are raw and real and makes us wonder "What if that was me?" or "What if that was my neighbor?"

Post-apocalyptic is just one of many genres I enjoy, but it IS one I have loved since I was 15 and first watched The Omega Man with Charlton Heston (then read the far superior novel it was based on, I Am Legend). And I’m encouraged by the evergreen nature of this genre.

The idea of Apocalypse (or the collapse of civilisation/worlds/environments) continues to fascinate a wide readership. 

A Goodreads reviewer once commented that zombie novels were a cluttered and overcrowded genre. Dude, I disagree. People will continue to write all sorts of apocalyptic novels/shorts for decades as will writers of police procedural stories and epic fantasies (which are all variations on a narrow theme) and other people will continue buying and enjoying them.

Because we are drawn to what we are drawn to. And many of us are drawn to the idea of the world ending.

Ideas of the collapse of our civilization or our ecology inspire strong feelings, largely I think because we sense it could all happen so easily. Maybe not the zombie infection scenario—although who knows!?! But other scenarios are certainly possible and easily imaginable — global pandemics, world war, environmental disaster, nuclear disasters leading to other disasters, etc). Religions strongly suggest an end time, and often prophecied the end of civilizations in the shortterm.

I suspect that the cycle of rise and fall of civilization is strongly remembered by our historical hive mind.

My hypothesis here: as long as people tell stories, and as long as the world is a messed up place, there will always be post-apocalyptic "literature" of some kind.

I'm curious. What version of the End do you think most likely? And do you think it would be the end of the human species, or do you think we'd survive it?


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  • Please write the alien gas cloud story Richard!
  • Please write the alien gas cloud story Richard!
    • I must confess a dark and dangerous secret, among some folks.   I hate to read. 
      I have many books, but, I use them for reference.  On a rare occasion, I will try to read a book,  I have little comprehension as I read.  Often, looking ahead counting how many pages until the end of the chapter.  Reading puts me to sleep, or the voices tell me to put it down and back away.  All I am any good at is photography and digital imaging. 

      I am an excellent weapons designer, but. I have never built one
      My weapons should be included if a story is written.


      magnesium and CO2 cloud heater
      Tree mines
      Spinning chain surprise pop-up disintegrator 
      Glitter bomb
      ice spike launcher
      that all that comes to mind at the moment,
      I will post each when I have time and anyone can use as they choose.


  • I think it will be a natural change that is common to the earth but too far out of sync with our cycle of time.  Earthquake or supervolcano, asteroid or comet, small blackhole drifting through or near the solar system or cosmic ray burst.  
    A rogue alien releasing an opaque cloud between us and the sun.  -300 degrees quick. 
    Zombies are a metaphor but what I have mentioned is real and will happen someday,  The gas cloud is my idea and I just did a human thing and blamed someone else.   

  • A little-known fact, tying in to the evergreen nature of apocalyptic fiction, is that Mary Shelley--author of Frankenstein, also penned a post-apocalyptic novel. Published in 1826, The Last Man creates a world where plague is exterminating the human race. It's the earliest example of post-apocalyptic fiction (other than prophetic religious texts) that I've been able to find so far. It's available for free on Kindle here

    Other post-apoc classics of note:

    After London by Richard Jefferies (1885)    free on Kindle here

    The Purple Cloud by MP Shiel (1901)   free on Kindle here

    The Scarlet Plague by Jack London (1912)    not free...sadz

    Robot Check
    • WTR, that's really really interesting. I'm downloading The Last Man, but as I couldn't finish Frankenstein (hated it), I'm just hoping it's an easier read. But, yeah, that kinda underlines how long-lived this genre/idea is. Cheers.

      Robot Check
  • the best apoc stories are the ones where nobody lives. Maybe humans can survive, but that does not make a good a story

    • There's an interesting one-off Hulk comic (Hulk: The End) where Banner/Hulk outlives everyone after a nuclear holocaust. It's just him/them and the cockroaches. And Hulk can't die.

  • Now, to address your question. There is zero chance of survival. There will be those who can prolong the end, but ultimately there will be no chance for human life on earth. No matter how the apoc is manifest, humans will have the slimmest of chances, and those chances will drop quickly with each passing day. Our demise is imminent.

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