I’ve mentioned my apocalypse rants in an earlier post. I don’t think this is going to be a rant. But you never know, these things often get out of hand what with the spirit of the blog sometimes running off with my better sense in hand. Anyway, today I figured I’d chew over two things; the genre of apocalyptic fiction itself, and then I suppose I’ll run you through my plan for when the doomsday shit hits the annihilation fan.
So the world ended. That’s a given in this sort of scenario. I suspect if this were actually the end of the world, such as the sun expanding to consume our little spacerock, there wouldn’t actually be anyone left. Admittedly, that would make a pretty dull story… unless some race of cosmic superbeings wants to film the remaining planets of our solar system in a mildly voyeuristic March of the Penguins kind of way.
But that’s beside the point.
So what we’re actually dealing with is a specific genre of Post Disaster fiction, in which a disaster has managed to finally give what for to the majority of our once mighty works. Unfortunately there isn’t a particularly good title for that, so I think Post-Apocalyptic fiction will have to do.
This isn’t a new genre. I suppose an early example in modern literature is Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, in which a pandemic kills all but one human. As far as the protagonist can tell, anyway, he spends a lot of time looking at the grass. We’ve since run the gamut of climate change apocalypse in Waterworld, nuclear apocalypse in The Beach, batshit crazy apocalypse in A Boy and His Dog, and poorly lip synched apocalypse in Mad Max. I suspect that the horror infused zombie apocalypse has become even more popular, evolving beyond it with gnashing teeth and grasping hands, though I suppose it could be argued that the Zompocalypse is less Post-Apocalyptic and closer to the Apocalypse median. Vincent Baker’s Apocalypse World could reasonably be called the most influential roleplaying game of the last ten years.
But why? What is this fascination with what comes after our society crumbles?
I think part of it is hope, that no matter how badly we fuck up there’s bound to be a few folks who get out alive. Part of it might be a removal of authority figures and the perceived removal of consequences, allowing us to wreak carnage and mayhem without restraint. Maybe we just want to know that it ends; there is a certain appeal to being the last of your kind. Better living as the epitaph of humanity than being erased by the tide that comes after you.
I suppose a big part of the appeal is a return to a life in which there are unknowns. In a world where every inch of ground is mapped and the borders drawn (if often disputed) there is little space left for discovery or exploration. The lands over the next hill being an unknown give the landscape a sense of mystery, and the mandate of the masses no longer had any effect on what the individual believes. Small communities hang together through necessity, though I tend to imagine these as more like H. P Lovecraft’s Dunwich than the anarchist utopia they might be.
Maybe its a re-balancing of the world to a pre-modern time, where nature still provided for the small holdings of humanity. Whether its for a sense of cosmic justice, or a nostalgia for rustic lifestyles that are no longer really tenable (I’ll not go into the mechanics of life without penicillin), these ideas hold a lot of attention. Also, picking over the bones of a dead civilisation can be lucrative, and gives the whole situation a very Dungeons and Dragons feel. Just with marginally more cannibalism. Adventure (and longpig jerky) ho!
Anyway, the plan. As promised. I can guarantee that it is flawless.
A lot of people think the end is nigh, and respond by stockpiling food and medical supplies. I hear guns and ammo are also popular apocalyptic accoutrements. Some might even run for their bible. But my plan is slightly different.
Step 1- Pick up kukri. Put in belt. (Note this is not the backup plan; the less you guys know about Kukrigate the better…)
Whether I barter them or not, Iife is now awesome.
You see, people tend to forget about this sort of thing until its too late. A lot of the fundies we see on Doomsday Preppers would probably never think of it at all, then breed themselves into a pickle of a Malthusian Trap. But even with society in tatters people are going to want what they always want. And if they want to be not stupid about it, they’ll wait for the arrival of that dread nomad, the Latexion.
Now, some would argue that a low level reliance on a monopolistic mercantile strategy is ill advised in an environment where Road Warriors proliferate, but I have prepared my rebuttal in the form of a short scene.
The sand storms whip across the wastes as the sun sets over the ramshackle town of Bunnings. A lone figure strides from the horizon, but is stopped by the gate guards, Shambles and Monsanto.
Shambles: Who the fusk is that? Ze’s not allowed into town.
I like to think that gender norms will crumble with society, the patriarchy and mass media.
Monsanto: No S, don’t mess with zir. That’s the Latexion.
Monsanto: They say that ze has all the condoms left in the world…
Shambles: Then we do what we always do. We shoot the fusker in zer fusking face and take the condoms for ourselves!
Monsanto: Don’t do it! Zir coat is lined with condoms! Think how many you’d destroy if you fired!
Shambles: …Ze’s not got any on zir fusking face!
Monsanto: But think! I’ve heard stories, how ze keeps a cave in the mountains, the Cavern of Prophylaxis, and only ze knows where it is!
The Latexion has gotten close now, mere metres away.
Shambles: Ah, fusk this!
Ze pushes Monsanto out of the way, and fires a burst into the Latexion’s chest. Ze stumbles, but does not fall, and takes the last few steps until ze’s nose to nose with Shambles. Ze draws a condom full of bullets out of zir jacket, and drops the bullets to the ground, slowly, one at a time.
Latexion: You should know better.
Shambles falls backwards in fear.
Latexion: These are 99 percent safe.
The Latexion strides over Shambles, and into the town.
Yeah, so that’s pretty much the plan.
Also, the pictures were not a vision from beyond the end of the world, but were from my adventure on Dartmoor near the ruins of Longstone Manor! Hope I didn’t scare you!