Apocalyptic Fiction

I really enjoy reading apocalyptic fiction. When it’s well done, the messages can be quite powerful. On the Beach was probably the first of this type of book that I read. I think this was sixth grade. Since then I’ve read many books in this subgenre, some well written, some not.

Right now, I’m reading Robert McCammon’s Swan Song. So far, this is the best apocalyptic book I’ve ever read–it’s even better than Stephen King’s The Stand. I think this is because, supernatural elements aside, a nuclear war such as what happens in the beginning of the book is quite feasible. Think about the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example. The world was only the push of a poised finger away from nuclear war. McCammon’s story is so powerful because it shows just how delicate the balance between peace and war can be.

I think this type of writing serves a much bigger purpose than just entertainment. It shows the consequences of an irresponsible approach to diplomacy and it shows just how widespread such a decision’s impact can be. It serves as a warning to those in power and it enables us to speak out more clearly about the prospects of peace. It shows us what could happen if we are not careful.


2 thoughts on “Apocalyptic Fiction

  1. Back in the day when The Stand and Swan Song were first published, I hoped Swan Song would be made into a movie. It turned out that The Stand won that round and after all these years Swan Song is now out of print. To this day, however, Swan Song remains my favorite out of the two – in fact my favorite book of all time. (Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is a close second.) Over the years I’ve revisited Swan Song many times and it is as fresh, heartbreaking, heartwarming and timely as it was when first published.

  2. I’ve never read Swan Song. I’ll have to look it up. Recently I picked up The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. It started kind of slow, and introduced details that only become understandable as long you keep reading, but it’s very well done. Not your run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic story, I think.

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