Reflection Posts

Cracking Open that Apocalypse Starter Kit

The reading/viewing of this week has been so thought-provoking! I’ve earned a deeper look into the catastrophe genre, its history and reasoning, and also a general view of how stories should be told overall.

The first chapter of Bryan Alexander’s work got me thinking about what makes a story a story. There are simple elements needed for all, such as character(s) and emotional engagement of the audience, to give me a basic checklist I can use for my stories. Moreover, the definition of digital storytelling is nearly nonexistent, as its reaches spread throughout much of all media but can also be concentrated to, as Bryan Alexander puts it, “stories ‘born digital’ and published in a digital format.”

In the Routledge article, I was surprised to see just how affected science fiction (namely apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction) was by political and social climates. Especially interesting was the article’s wondering how long catastrophe fiction will stay popular. In referring to an “end” of the genre, the Routledge article says that it would

“signify that political conflicts had ended, and social ills been cured; for others, it would mean that society has stagnated into a static, one-dimensional utopia. The continued imagination of the apocalypse suggests that it might not have happened yet.”

I personally love the stories for the pure human aspects like redemption and survival, but I can see how global climate can alter content dramatically.

The BBC Horizon special End Day gives slightly cheesy takes on possible apocalypses that could strike Earth. I thought the depictions were actually plausible (though I tried not to take offense at the flippant reactions of the New Yorkers when the tsunami was preparing to make landfall). Despite their lower-grade quality, with minor details such as the European license plate at Yellowstone, I had to remind myself this was made in 2004 and was probably really good for the budget they were given. The situations themselves were quite scary when I considered how it would be should one (or more) of the events happen for real. Whenever there was a child getting lost or separated from their parents, it made me think of if that happened with my little brothers and I did not like that at all.

On a different note, I couldn’t help but relate the central character of the film to the internet famous VlogBrothers duo, possibly being an evil third brother (Dave Green?). Maybe it was the airports, or the light hair and glasses, but despite the similar traits, the apathy he displayed toward people and the planet was insurmountable.

The novel excerpt I read came from World War Z. I actually bought this book last fall, 2017, at a local bookstore and have only read a few chapters of it just over winter break. During my reading, especially that of the provided excerpt, I had to remind myself that this didn’t actually happen because the writing felt so genuine and vivid. I’d love to continue reading this book to get a take on zombie apocalypses I normally don’t see: viewing from many different lenses rather than following one group/person around. This book also covers stories from around the world, not just one town or country. I’d love to keep reading and see where it goes!


One thought on “Cracking Open that Apocalypse Starter Kit

  1. I love, love, love World War Z. If you can get your hands on the audiobook version, I highly recommend it. It’s fantastic. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the rest of it!

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