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This Is How The World Ends

Well, ten potential ways anyway. The Guardians What a way to go covers several potential threats to Earth, and then attempts ascertain the likelyhood of them happening, much like the How to Destroy the Earth website, only not as funny. Personally, I’ve always had a soft spot for #10, whereby a wandering black hole swallows the Earth without so much as a burp. For a more rational response to the article, see here.

Then I thought it would be fun to list SF stories that could fit into each catergory!


1. Climate Change – State of Fear (Crichton), Forty Signs of Rain (Robinson)

2. Telomere Erosion – I got nothing here. Anyone?

3. Viral Pandemic – The Stand (King), Earth Abides (Stewart), I know there are many more.

4. Terrorism – This is a tough one. Are there any SF books that have terrorism deal a large blow to Earth or it’s society?

5. Nuclear War – A Canticle for Leibowiz (Miller, Jr.), probably tons more.

6. Meteorite Impact – Lucifer’s Hammer (Niven, Pournelle), Moonfall (MCDevitt)

7. Robots Taking Over – ??

8. Cosmic Ray Blast – ??

9. Super Volcanos – ??

10 Earth Swallowing Black Hole – Forge of God (Bear), Singularity (DeSmedt).

Anyone else?

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

5 Comments on This Is How The World Ends

  1. I’m rooting for #7, it would seem fun. While I don’t know any books on the topic, the obvious SF movie that comes to mind is the “Terminator” series…

    We need you, Johnnnn Connah!

  2. The gravimetric effects of a passing black hole (propelled by a gamma burst, no doubt) affects the tender electronics of our robot servants, sending some into a murderous rage while other terrorist-bots burrow into the earth (a la The Matrix) and create numerous volcanic vents. The sudden environmental trauma triggers an evolutionary fail safe in humanity, sending some into dormancy while others revert to a savage subhuman race.

    And so on and so on…

    If we’re going to go, let’s go with some fucking style!

  3. The only genetic code unlocking story I can think of off the top of my head is “Darwin’s Radio” by Greg Bear. It doesn’t exactly match the given scenario, though.

    Haven’t read “Darwin’s Children” yet, either.

    The scenario might fit a little with “Childhood’s End”, where people just stopped having kids after a certain point, but that was helped along by outside forces.

    “Infectress” by Tom Cool could be considered a terrorist act, as well as “The White Plague” by Frank Herbert… biological devices were used in those stories, so that’d fit the viral pandemic scenario, too.

    Maybe I think think up some more later.

  4. Apocalypse soon … keep radios handy

    SFSignal links to a Guardian story about possible end-of-the-world scenarios (was it a slow news day?), and adds various sf…

  5. My 2/100ths of a dollar:

    1. Climate Change – The Drowned World, The Burning World and The Crystal World – all three by J.G. Ballard.
    2. Telomere Erosion – Evolution by Stephen Baxter; The Time Machine by H.G Wells; Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut.
    3. Viral Pandemic – I Am Legend by Richard Matheson; The Andromeda Strain by Michael Chrichton; The Last Man by Mary Shelley; The Death of Grass by John Christopher (actually, it’s bacteria that’s the cause of the trouble, but hey); The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch (another stretch – spores are the cause of unprecedented plant growth, stifling out rival life forms.)
    4. Terrorism – New York Nights by Eric Brown
    5. Nuclear War – This is the Way the World Ends by James Morrow; The Absolute at Large by Karel Capek.
    6. Meteorite Impact – The Wailing Asteroid by Murray Leinster
    7. Robots Taking Over – R.U.R. by Karel Capek (read it in its original Czech!); With Folded Hands and The Humnaoids – both by Jack Williamson.
    8. Cosmic Ray Blast – The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham; The Last Day by Richard Matheson; Last Night of Summer by Alfred Coppel; “Inconstant Moon” by Larry Niven
    9. Super Volcanos – The Purple Cloud by M.P. Shiel
    10. Earth Swallowing Black Hole – Earth by David Brin.

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