Adrian Barnes is the author of the novel Nod, published by Bluemoose Books and shortlisted for the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award. His next novel, Neverhasbeen, will be published in the spring of 2014.
You can learn everything you need to know about a society from its nightmares. Vampires, serial killers, werewolves, corporate bankers, demons, and zombies–the list of bogeymen is long and terrifying. Today, apocalypse is all the rage as writers of all stripes envision the ultimate end of…well, of everything. From The Walking Dead to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to the upcoming World War Z, to my own recent novel, Nod, in which the end of the world as we know it arrives courtesy of an insomnia epidemic–apocalypses are everywhere you look.
And why not? Doomsday scenarios make for great entertainment. Death on speed dial, toppling skyscrapers, unfettered revenge, doomed love–at the end of the world every dramatic possibility is cranked up to the proverbial Eleven. It’s opera staged in a field of corpses.
A superficial analysis might lead one to diagnose either morbid fascination or self-hatred as the motivator for both the creation and consumption of such entertainments. But I disagree. In fact, I believe the driving force behind our lust for disaster is…hope.
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