Apocalypse, the word summons up images of brimstone and fire, most definitely an end to all life. Certainly, since the early second century AD, Christian and Jewish texts have described judgement day, the time when the world shall cease as we know it and the worthy will ascend to heaven and the sinners condemned to hell. However, for as long as there have been stories of an absolute end, humans have tried to see past it. We’ve never been able to accept a massive disaster as the end to human life. Instead something else is formed, often a twisted landscape like in Byron’s biblical-chaotic poem, Darkness, or perhaps a 1984 type society built upon peculiar laws.

It’s undeniable, with TV shows such as Falling Skies and Revolution alongside films such as The Hunger Games (based on the best-selling book) and the much-anticipated World War Z, that in the past few years there has been a sudden surge of interest in post-apocalyptic fiction. So why the sudden interest in a devastated future? Do we need something to replace the superhero craze or fill the vampire void left after the final instalment of the Twilight Saga? Or perhaps we just like to look at a society worse off than our own in times of economic uncertainty and hardship?

Revolution: The World Turned Off. Forever.

The characters of the TV series Revolution are certainly worse off than we are, as they try to survive in a world where brutal militias run riot and none of the electrical commodities we are used to today exist. With the main cause of this dystopia being the failure of all electrical products and networks, it would seem a point is being made about modern society; we depend on technology far too much. If technology were removed, perhaps regimes and governments would crumble into the anarchy seen in Revolution. Post-apocalyptic fiction is a great stage for putting across points of view on society, as it makes the reader or viewer see what the world would be like if we continue a particular bad habit or if we stop caring about a cause. Could it be that the dramatic increase in dystopian fiction means that more and more people are desperate for their views on society to be heard?

Yet, it could be that post-apocalyptic fiction is not complicated, and has no secret revolutionary agenda, at all. In fact it might just be a good way to see humans unite against an external force and be reminded of the strength of the human spirit. The TV drama Falling Skies depicts a regiment made of civilians encountering and overcoming many struggles in a battle against invading aliens who have already wiped out 90% of the human population. In a world where we are quite often isolated through busy work schedules and bad family relations, portrayed on TV in the news or soap operas, it’s nice to be reminded that if we all work together we can overcome obstacles.

So the next time you sit down to catch an episode of Falling Skies or visit the cinema to see the latest zombie movie, consider that it might be more than it seems. However, in the end, whatever post-apocalyptic fiction stands for, its popularity will continue for years, perhaps even past the apocalypse itself!