If you’re reading this, it means the Mayans were full of shit and the apocalypse didn’t happen. But if you’re craving some apocalyptic story telling, well, here’s a few of my favorites:
The film Perfect Sense scared the crap out of me. Michael (Ewan McGregor) meets Susan (Eva Green) and while he’s immediately interested, she’s not. Her last relationship ended badly and it’s made her a bit prickly. As an epidemiologist, she’s assigned to work on an outbreak of some bizarre happenings: people are randomly losing their sense of smell after experiencing an intense bout of depression. We’re talking full on hysterical crying here. This eventually leads to loss of other senses: taste, hearing, and sight.
All right. Imagine you’re losing your senses, one by one, and so are your neighbors. There’s no pattern, no rhyme or reason to why it’s happening. You don’t know who will be hit next, or when. Terrifying? Hell yes. When I imagine the apocalypse these days, that’s what I usually think of, when I’m not thinking of…
…The Rapture by Liz Jensen. Bethany’s a psych patient who suddenly develops the ability to predict freak natural disasters with astonishing accuracy after sessions with the electro-shock machine. Each disaster leads up to the big one, the one that will upend the world and destroy mankind as we know it. The story is peppered with other crazies, both of the mentally ill and evangelical type, but the most frightening part of the story is that each event, taken individually, could actually happen. Particularly the main event. Read the book. It’ll scare you.
Speaking of books, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami, is an obvious choice for the apocalypse. Except it seems that all of Murakami’s work seems very end of the world-ish. I read this book some time ago, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I’m not entirely certain I understand it. And that’s okay. That’s how he rolls, and he knows it. You read Murakami for the sheer wonder of the worlds he creates, not because you want to understand the damn plot.
Okay, so it’s about a guy. Or two guys, rather. One is trapped in The Town, searching for the way out, his Shadow separated from him. The other guy is a human encryption key trying to stay ahead of some bad guys who want what’s stored in his brain.
And that paragraph totally makes it sound like I haven’t read the book. But the thing about Murakami is there’s only so much you can explain before you give away the ending, and while the two narratives remain separate for the entire book, what’s happening in one had a direct influence on what’s happening in the other. The human encryption key is running out of time, in more ways than one, and while it’s not the end of the entire world, it’s possibly the end of his world as he knows it.
(No. I’m not going to go into the REM song at this point. I imagine every radio station will be playing that song every hour, on the hour, so let’s just leave it alone.)
There are a couple of songs that would be a good musical representation of the apocalypse. Lostprophets “It’s not the end of the world, but I can see it from here” is one of my favorites, as is “Hysteria” by Muse. In fact that whole album (Absolution) is a great apocalyptic album. Since we’ve survived, I nominate Muse to write the next rock opera. They’d do a good job, I think.
But you know what? I’m glad the world didn’t end, because now we get see what Seth Rogan and James Franco are up to in This Is The End (out next summer).