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Are you prepared for the apocalypse? Or have you been scared off?
On the one hand some people, especially agents, have had enough – or so they say. Yet, there are still books and movies in the apocalypse genre being released – e.g: The Colony. Is the genre going through an operatic death as the back-log dries up? Lead times in production are long, so in a year or two the apocalypse could have gone the way of vampires. What can we believe?
Unless it becomes reality – no longer the stuff of speculation.
I say this because I realise that I’ve been committing the mortal sin of writing in a supposedly dying genre. So what do I do? Admit that I’ve erred big time? Put the manuscript on a back burner for a few years? Turn it into a romantic comedy?
I keep wondering whether I can simply redefine it by changing the frame of reference. It’s not really post-apocalypse. Yes, there is a global disaster and society is breaking down. But there is hope. There are relationships. It goes beyond survival. But I’m not a hardened science fiction writer, who has ready every book in the genre. I’m an eclectic reader, hopping from mysteries, to fantasies, to historicals.
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Of course, apocalypse has got a bad press – blame Hollywood. It’s often seen as the end of the world, a cosmic cataclysm as described in the Book of Revelation – or rather that’s the simplistic interpretation. According to the online Oxford English Dictionary the word originates from “…Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal’, from apo- ‘un-‘ + kaluptein ‘to cover’.”
So it’s all about a revelation – as the Book says. In a useful examination of the genre Fantasy Faction said, “The term apocalypse originally did not mean mass extinction, destruction and death, but rather related to enlightenment in a biblical sense. And before that, the term translated as “a great change.”
Might be worth looking forward to – once we’ve got beyond War, Pestilence, Famine, and Death – plus zombies, aliens, Justin Bieber, and Kim Jong II.
Maybe my take is different enough from all those that have trod the path of apocalypse before me – not that I have read all the books in the genre… too many given my reading speed. For a pretty comprehensive list, see Michael White’s Chronological list.
I can claim to have read some of the definitive novels, such as John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, Arthur C Clarke’s Childhood’s End, John Christopher’s No Blade of Grass, and Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley.
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My attempt is called ‘Storm’s Compass’ and the collection of short stories will be Book 1 of The Gossamer Flames Saga. Provisional blurb is:
“What lies ahead when the world is devastated by a solar storm? Who will choose to build the future?
Eight tales of unfolding disaster have repercussions that will affect posterity. From the arid deserts of India and the United States, to the wild beauty of Norway, the future could be sown.
Storm’s Compass is post-apocalyptic fiction, with folklore in the shadows and greenpunk in the workings.”
What do you feel is the future of the apocalypse/post-apocalypse genre? Does ‘Storm’s Compass’ sound enthralling? Do you want to be among the beta readers?
Please tell me what you think in the comments.