Exploring Apocalyptic Fiction

This past week, I have explored apocalyptic fiction in several different mediums.

I watched an episode of a BBC Docuseries called Horizon which came out in 2004. The episode I watched showed five different possibilities of how to world, as we know it, could end. The first scenario was a massive tsunami. The second was a killer meteorite. The third was a global pandemic/disease. The fourth was a volcanic eruption. The last included strange matter, such as a black hole. There was one main character, Dr. Howell, who was planning on conducting an experiment in all five scenarios. However, in the first four scenarios, he is unable to get to the lab due to the dangers proposed by the first scenarios. After each world-ending scenario occurs, the world starts over completely. Each scenario ‘segment’ begins with Dr. Howell laying in bed as his television playing the credits from a program he was watching. The last part of the credits we see shows the words “The End” as to refer to the “end” of the world. Each day starts over with Dr. Howell, but different characters begin to appear each day. At the end of the docuseries’s episode, Dr. Howell finally manages to turn the key that ‘launches’ the black hole that begins to swallow everything in its vicinity.

While watching this episode, I realized how happy I was that none of these epidemics were, hopefully, not going to be arriving any time soon. I realized that I would definitely be one of the first to die in each situation. I cannot run fast, and I don’t go outside everyday in bubble wrap to protect myself from volcanic eruptions or other flying shrapnel from a meteorite. I would try to fight as long as I could, but if I was to come face-to-face to one of these scenarios, I would not last very long at all. However, if I was able to prepare, and get to the highest point of my building or stay inside with everything I need, I can see myself staying safe. One of my biggest fears in life is getting sick. I do everything I can to stay healthy. Maybe I could survive that scenario, but if I have to combat zombies, I can’t make any promises. However, I can’t say I black hole opening up in the world any time soon. I found this scenario to be the most fictional out of the other four. This episode definitely portrayed what the apocalypse may look like. None of us might receive any warnings until it’s too late. It may come as something inevitable and something none of us can avoid or fight against.

Also this week, I read the entry called Apocalyptic SF from The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction. Something I never knew before reading this article is the fact that apocalyptic sci-fi and science fiction in the first place really began in the late eighteenth century. I definitely thought that sci-fi got it’s beginning in the 20th century. I also never knew that sci-fi really became a popular genre because of the way it portrays “sadistic fascination with representing massive destruction in minute detail” (Routledge). I agree with this statement because in many apocalyptic fiction works, no one is running around screaming, but everyone acts as though it is a normal part of life. It is almost as if people just expect that the apocalypse will come, without a doubt, like the concept of death. We all know we will all die at some point.

The last piece of apocalyptic fiction I delved into was reading a few excerpts from Edan Lepucki’s novel, California (2014). It really drew me in because it explains a post-apocalyptic world in which the two main characters Frida and Cal learn to live in the wilderness after the world that they’ve known has been completely destroyed. I am looking forward to reading this novel in full very soon. So far, I know that Frida and Cal are living in the wilderness, and Frida is also pregnant. I’m very excited to see where this story goes!


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