The Love of the Apocalypse

I sent my mother the first couple chapters of my novel, and after reading it, she messages me back “Is everything alright? Can I call you tonight?” I admit that the tone of the novel is fairly dark, and much darker than the work I used to send to my mother. The last time I worked on a novel I was sixteen and I was working on a very badly written historical romance. I am now working on a dystopian theme, set after a nuclear apocalypse. Although I’m trying my best to lighten the mood with moments of light-hearted character dialogue, I know that the atmosphere I am creating is bleak. Yet I find it strangely enjoyable.

For a while now I have been highly interested in dystopian literature. Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake,” and Max Brook’s “World War Z,” and Alan Moore’s “V for Vendetta,” being the kick starter to this new found love. And I have been puzzled as to why. What I’ve realized lately, is that it is the potential found in these books that have attracted me. I will not lie, our world and society highly depresses me sometimes. There is a lot of wealth disparity, environmental damage, violence, bad leadership, skewed morality in our reality, and it sometimes makes me feel incredibly powerless.

Yet the novel can speak, and I believe that it has an impact that can compound. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic settings in particular, can really work really well as commentary. On the other hand, world building, and reshaping, and the even the fictitious possibility of a new form of society, is exciting. A novel can explore avenues of change. And although sometimes this change follows catastrophe, the stories with elements of human cooperation, I find up lifting. I enjoy stories of survival. Perhaps because it helps me to survive in reality.

Thus, this is part helps to explain my decision to follow the genre of dystopian literature. “Light is the left hand of darkness and darkness the right hand of light.” -Ursula Le Guin, “The Left Hand of Darkness.”

On “Round of Words in 80 Days,” News, I have past the 10 000 word count mark (first time! Whoo!) and have reached 33 pages, with 77 more to go!



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6 thoughts on “The Love of the Apocalypse

  1. I’m chuckling reading this because I’m also writing a post-apocalyptic story, set after a nuclear war and my girlfriend asked me if I was worried about the apocalypse just a day or so ago. I assured her that I’m not worried about any disaster beyond the usual sort: power outage, ice storm, tornado, etc.

    For me, I know, writing about nuclear war *is* a way for me to address fears I had in the past. I went through a period when I was in my teens when I was terrified about nuclear war — which was understandable since this would have been in the early 1980s when the idea that it was a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ we’d have a nuclear war. Writing about the world after a nuclear war or a zombie out break or whathaveyou is a positive thing because it is predicated on the idea that someone survives to start over.

    My story isn’t a dystopia but I do enjoy reading a good dystopia. I think, as a reader, the attraction of dystopias comes from seeing people resist them. It speaks to the power of the human spirit, that people will always strive to be free. They may not always succeed but they at least try. Again, it’s an oddly positive genre at times.

    I remember reading an article by Joss Ware, who writes post-apocalyptic romances, and was struck by something she said about how writing a post-apocalyptic novel would be like ‘ writing a historical novel (no cell phones, no computers or cars), but with the ability to know everything we do now.’ Because for me, that is a big part of the fun of worldbuilding a post-apocalypse.

    ( — is the article in question).

    Good luck with your story!

    1. Your childhood must have been terrifying! Although it is fun to write and imagine an apocalyptic age, I would not want to live through one. But I agree, it is about human spirit, and their determination that I love to read. The persistence to survive and the ways that we do, I find fascinating! Thanks for the article too, I look forward to reading it 🙂

      1. There was a time when I was seriously freaked out by the thought of nuclear war, but most of the time, it was just something in the background. At least as far as I knew back then; researching the book I’ve learned some things that would have sent my early teen self to move into the basement and possibly dig a deeper basement.

        But, I most certainly agree, while it’s fun to speculate on apocalyptic ages, give me my indoor plumbing and convenient access to food any day!

        Hope you have a good week 8)

  2. Congratulations on passing 10K! Getting back into writing is not easy, but you’re doing great. I love the philosophy of looking for light in the darkness, hope in the bleakness, new beginnings after the apocalypse. There’s something very powerful about these stories. Good luck with yours!

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