When I was in 8th grade, The Day After aired on television. It was the junior high equivalent of a water-cooler topic – we were ALL talking about it beforehand, and we were definitely all talking about it the day after. As a movie, it wasn’t the most perfect example of speculative fiction, but it served as great fodder for classroom discussion (especially in the middle of the cold war!). I remember a friend and I, during summer vacation, creating our own fictional bunker in case of nuclear war – we’d spend hours just figuring out how long we’d have to stay underground, who we’d like to bring with us and what kind of sewage/water/food systems we’d have to subsist on. The Day After was probably my formal introduction to the subgenre, likely the first I’d thought of it, and was the kickoff to a lifetime’s fascination.
Sub-genre of what, you ask? Is apocalypse/aftermath fiction horror? Is it science fiction? I’ve long had a fear it will become science FACT. I like the umbrella term “Speculative Fiction”. Under its wings, you might find Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, etc. And I suppose, depending on the type of apocalypse, you would then go on to put things under those subcategories…zombie apocalypse might fall under horror, whilst robots destroying the world might fit better with Science Fiction.
In high school, I read my first Stephen King novel, The Stand, which tells the story of a world decimated through a superflu plague. Another of my friends had also read it, and we spent hours on the phone each night imagining what we might do in such a scenario, where we might travel, what and who we might bring, and how we might rebuild society. Obviously, I was hooked.
Several decades later, I am no less fascinated and intrigued by the different iterations of fictional apocalypse, and have happily devoured many television, film and book tales with varied and imaginative end times. I’ve even written a couple of post-apocalyptic plays. And there is no shortage of end days’ paranoia, given the current political situation and global climate, to think about. Climate change anyone? Nuclear war? How ‘bout some Ebola?
Right now, my intention is an entire apocalyptic blog on the subject and of course, all its potential subcategories, because, though I have very little control over things unfolding on the world stage, at least I can have some control over this. I’ll discuss zombies, aliens, asteroids, WWIII, acts of god, no Armageddon is off limits, and maybe I’ll throw in speculation about how one might survive such a thing, and even discuss putting together different sorts of survival kits for your more run-of-the-mill cataclysm. I’ll make book, film and tv recommendations on each subcategory, because lord knows I’ve consumed a lion’s share!
If this is your thing and you’re intrigued, feel free to take a look! And if you have any suggestions, thoughts, or ideas on topics you might enjoy reading about within the subject, please feel free to share your feedback.