If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get me to pull a book off a shelf and flip through, it’s a post apocalyptic setting. Zombies, after the nuclear attack, population-killing superbug, worldwide tsunami’s. The reason for the apocalypse is less critical to me than its occurrence.
Why? Well, it’s simple. I love books where the odds are stacked against the protagonist, but they put up the fight anyway. And the apocalypse always brings out the very best and very worst in human nature. When people have their back up against a wall, you see what they are really made of. For our heroes and anti-heroes, they fight even when all hope is loss. And usually come through by the barest of margins to save the day.
But what really makes for great post apocalyptic stories are the villains. They will exploit, take advantage, and cruelly, unabashedly, look out for their own self-interest. And I love to hate them. And wish them all sorts of bodily harm, preferably for an extended period of time with very sharp, pointed instruments.
At their heart though, post apocalyptic settings are about the human spirit. About our willingness to fight incredible odds for the people and ideas that are important to us. To drop any concern about image, materialism or the daily nonsense that we currently view as important. In the post-apocalyptic setting, life becomes crystallized and priorities become re-arranged. And the fact is, I like to think I’d be one of the good guys: putting everything on the line to do the right thing. Of course, as I sit curled up on my couch, blanket over me, I simultaneously hope to never have that idea tested. 🙂