Our obsession with the post-apocalypse

Warning: I’ve already put a bit of thought into this subject. My own book series primarily takes place in a post-apocalyptic environment that gradually evolves into a form of utopia.

But, clearly, I am also far from the only fan of this particular brand of material. I will list but a few such popular influences, The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, The Strain books and television series. The 100, The Road, The Book of Eli, even The Matrix films. Mad Max. Fallout. Noah.

What is it about this genre that so captures our imaginations? As a national past time we have become almost obsessed with the post-apocalypse and the different genres it contains.

Seeing as I’ve put a number of years of thought into this, I have my theories. There seems to be a common thread that ties much of this literature and media together; the apocalypse is cause by an external force. Humans are left blameless for the end of civilization. Take The Walking Dead, an incredibly popular comic-book and the even more popular TV adaptation. Most any zombie film can also stand in. We as people still living in modern civilization are afforded a glimpse of the end of that civilization without the guilt of knowing that we had done it to ourselves.

The particular genre of apocalyptic fiction where we are at fault for the end days tends to be less favored and popular. To me they are all the more horrific because we had been exposed. Human nature had finally gotten the upper hand. Novels like A Canticle For Leibowitz and films like The Divide are difficult to swallow not because they contain more gore or violence than the rest of the pact. They are remembered because they show us a true, dark side of ourselves that is easy to ignore until its too late.

In the end these shows and books remind me to enjoy life and be thankful for what I have. They serve as a warning, whether or not we choose to acknowledge them as such.