The End is Back!
and it’s Bigger, Badder, Better than ever.
Between the depictions of the coming Generic Apocalypse in The Road (the book is better. well… not ‘better’ exactly); the coming Vampire Apocalypse – The Passage; the Zombie Apocalypse – The Walking Dead; or varieties of the Express-sponsored Apocalypse (in which only the Young, Hip and Trendy survive) i.e. Revolution and Falling Skies, it would appear the End is back in style, fiction-wise.
One of the reasons Neuromancer is such a singular, seminal work is that it went cross-grain to the majority of the Science Fiction of its day. (Damnation Alley, Planet of the Apes, Canticle for Leibowitz, etc) Case, Molly, Armitage, and the rest inhabited a world that continued much the same way as ours. (Yet it was so subtly, drastically different)
Now I’m guilty of being a Gibson fanboy – in case you couldn’t tell – he and C.S. Lewis provide benchmarks for the red/blue shift extremes in my mind. In the Spec-Fiction arena, I’m curious why Dysfunctional Continuity has been discarded for Drastic Finality. Is it in the air? Are creative antennas picking up the End of All Things vibe? (Please don’t mention the ‘Left Behind’ series. I beg you.) Or is that particular thematic vein being be mined anew to provide mind-candy and mass-entertainment?
I’ve been questioned on several occasions as to why my future worlds don’t follow the stock Evangelical Eschatology. (The nuking of Tel Aviv is mentioned in Running Black. Mankind has survived to spread to the stars in The Clar1ty Wars universe.) I answer that it doesn’t mark a departure from faith but rather faithfulness to an internal structure in the sci fi genre.
I’m wondering if Western readers and writers are being drawn to Post-Apocalyptic tales more lately. If so, is that because of unsettled conditions in our society? Because that’s what’s on the shelves these days? Because there’s a spiritual undercurrent tugging our thoughts in that direction?.
Or am I reading the signs all wrong?