Our Fascination With The End Of The World

I know that post-apocalypse fiction and movies are all the rage now, but when you think about it, this is really nothing new. Ever since crackpots have held up signs proclaiming THE END IS NEAR, human beings have been both intrigued and terrified by the concept of a complete upheaval of our world. In modern culture, just look at the success of books and movies like On the Beach, The Stand, The Day After, Testament, Miracle Mile, Swan Song and the slew of zombie fare we’ve been inundated with. Whether it’s by the hands of a returned Christ, nuclear annihilation, undead hordes or pandemic, witnessing the downfall of all we have built and seeing how the few will survive is more addicting than reality TV (and fare more fulfilling).

Of course, when we read or watch these scenarios, we always imagine ourselves as managing to scramble out from under the rubble. I mean, what’s the point if I don’t carry on? I’m smart. I’m crafty. I can turn a blind eye to establishes mores in order to survive. So why not me?

When I was a wee one, I saw the original Dawn of the Dead at the movies. (Too late to call social services on my dad!) I came out of there obsessed – not with zombies – but wondering what I would do when the world went to shit. I made lists of stores I would go to in order to gather supplies. First stop was the sports store by me where I would load up on rifles, bow and arrows and other gear to make me a force to be reckoned with. Food and water would come later. Everywhere I went, I pictured how I would fortify that location so I turn it into a safe haven.

I’m an adult now – at least that’s what it says on my license – and I still think about these things. Except now I have to make plans that include my family. Hell, I’m so obsessed with it, I wrote a book about it, Tortures of the Damned.

Why does this attract us? Is it because an apocalypse presents a cleaning of the slate, a total do-over, a chance to ‘be a real man’ and not a pencil pushing geek who stops at traffic lights and pays his taxes? Yeah, I think that’s part of it.

We’re not far removed from being pioneers, settlers, survivors. I think a part of us still craves the adventure. So we fantasize about the end times, testing ourselves against impossible odds. We want to see if we measure up to the  generations before us that seemed to know how to do everything, whereas we can’t even tell you how anything we use every day really works.

q island 1

On the Monster Men, we recently talked about our apocalyptic obsession with author Russell James, whose latest book, Q Island, tears apart Long Island, NY in a very unique way. The start of the end is possibly the most original way to date, and most frighteningly, is being played out right now in real life. Kinda gives me the shivers.

Living so close to New York City, I have to prepare for the worst. We here know it’s a matter of when, not if. The hope is that it’s nothing like people like me and Russell and many other have written.

But I’ll be loaded for bear, just in case.

 

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. You’ll also find him every week on the Final Guys podcast, available everywhere. He’s a bestselling author of over 25 books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

2 responses to “Our Fascination With The End Of The World”

  1. 2old2tap says :

    I was pleased to see Swan Song listed. It was overshadowed by The Stand, and I actually thought it the better story.

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