Hello and welcome to Stop Seven on the A is for Apocalypse blog train! Hopefully most of you have been following the blog train from the beginning, but if not, make sure to stop by the most recent stop over at Sara Cleto’s blog. Without further ado, let’s jump into my end-of-the-world ramblings…
I love stories of the apocalypse. I love movies and TV shows and novels set in the ‘end of days’ — no matter how that end comes about. As a fan of all things dark and bleak, it probably makes sense for me to be drawn to these sorts of tales. However, as I began to contemplate what I would write for my entry in the blog train, I began to think more and more about ‘apocalyptic vs. post-apocalyptic’.
These two categories are so often thrown together that we sometimes use the first term, when we mean the second.
The apocalypse is the end. The end of humanity, society, the world, what have you. And now that I think about it, I haven’t read a lot of stories that I could say were truly apocalyptic, at least not in the truest sense of the word.
I never thought about it before, but we don’t tend to write stories about everything ending. That’s it. The end. Kthxbai. Right? We lean toward post-apocalyptic–the not quite end of the world. The end of society, but not of humanity. When I think about my favorite apocalyptic tales, they all revolve around the remnants of humanity and how they hang on, how they persevere. In Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road, one of my all-time favorites, we watch a man and his son struggle to get by, to live just another day or another hour or another minute. It’s one of the bleakest stories I’ve ever read, and probably comes closest to being truly apocalyptic. Whether or not they survive in the end is–to a certain degree–left to the reader’s imagination.
So what draws us to to Post-Apocalyptic rather than Apocalyptic (I realize I’m making the assumption that other people are as drawn to the former as I am)? I think stories of the final end of humanity aren’t as appealing because they tend to feel pointless. Abysmal, bleak, desperately dark–all of the things I love in Post-A, and yet somehow it gains that pointlessness. Am I wrong? I honestly can’t think of very many truly apocalyptic tales. If you guys know of any–book, tv, movie, etc–please let me know!
As for Post-A, maybe we’re drawn to the idea of society being reborn. I personally love these stories. The strengths and weaknesses of characters cast more violent shadows in bleak worlds, in the end of days. Your weakness will get you killed; are you strong enough to survive? What do you leave by the wayside in order to get by? What happens to your morality when doing ‘the right thing’ will get you or your loved ones killed? There are so many fascinating scenarios and questions in the post-apocalypse…
…Which is why I’ll now stop rambling and direct you toward A is for Apocalypse. There are 26 tales in this story. 26 different apocalypses. Get your grit on and dive in. Revel in the desperation — or hope — of the end (or not quite end). Here’s a bit more about the anthology and some links. Don’t forget to stop by Alexandra Seidel’s site tomorrow for the next stop in the blog train!
“In A is for Apocalypse, the world ends in both fire and ice–and by asteroid, flood, virus, symphony, immortality, the hands of our vampire overlords, and crowdfunding. A stellar group of authors explores over two dozen of the bangs and whispers that might someday take us all out. Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we’re in for quite a ride.” – Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses
Excerpt of “Y is for…”
I am struck by the silence.
No fans, no humming processors, no dilating lenses.
My people are slumped where they stand. Crumpled metal heaps on the pavement like…like crushed soda cans, abandoned on the street.
I call out. “Is anyone there?” My voice is a symphony of plaintive, metallic cords; my words echo back to me, unanswered.
and Smashwords.(coupon code PJ67Q for 10% off).
Now I’ll leave you with a bit of lovely music from Apocalyptica — because what could be more apt?