This week's GiR is all about apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction:
I was drawn to these stories because they were more serious than Star Wars and seemed more plausible than Star Trek. In many ways, the dystopian world they portrayed was more believable and relevant to me than the fantasy worlds I'd been exposed to. They were all scary-but-cool and felt sort of cautionary to me, which I suppose is a hallmark of all apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, but they did it in a way that wasn't as over the top as The Day After (also a favorite of mine that scared my mother shitless, mostly because she'd lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and knew what it meant to truly fear a nuclear armageddon.) Because I was a geeky kid who was constantly picked on, I relished any opportunity I could find to trade the boring and shitty real world I lived in for something more exciting, and these stories intelligent, compelling, and rewarding.
Once upon a time, it was strictly the provenance of geeks, but has recently come into the mainstream, thanks largely to the revival of the zombie apocalypse:
As a longtime fan of these genres, I'm happy, but not thrilled, that we're starting to see apocalyptic fiction hit the mainstream. I say "not thrilled" because when things like this hit the mainstream, the good stuff gets marginalized, while the majority tends to become guilty pleasures like The Omega Man, moderately entertaining efforts like Jericho, or full-on suckfests like the Resident Evil movie (that one shot -- you know the one -- notwithstanding, of course.)
Currently, graphic novels like Walking Dead do what the movies could never do: continue forever, examining all the situations that would realistically come up if the zombies ever did begin their insatiable feast on humanity. (Yes, I am aware of how silly it sounds to use "realistically" that close to "insatiable feast on humanity." Shut up. Zombies are cool.)
I mention World War Z in this column (which was recommended by many WWdN:iX readers when I praised Monster Nation) and I'm going to mention it here, as well: holy mother of zombie jesus, the audio version is one of the most enjoyable and truly captivating original works to come out of the zombie apocalypse, ever. It's a full cast recording of monologues from and interviews with the survivors of a huge zombie war, and it feels eerily real, like a documentary. It is six hours of awesome, and I give it five out of five rotting corpses.