|Elliot & Thompson|
5 November 2020
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
From last man and dying earth fiction to zombies swarming on screen and the ruined landscapes of immersive gaming, via sweeping contagions, invading aliens, falling bombs and rising robots, buckle up for the end of the world.
“The end of the world is ever on our minds … Popular culture is busy with predictions and visions of our own demise, from religious myths to video games, from journalism to science fiction. Our fascination with the end times has created a remarkable array of apocalyptic subgenres, by turns baleful and strangely emancipatory – machine uprisings, zombie swarms, alien annihilations. Each story is revealing in its own way, but collectively they say something far more significant about humanity.”
In this thought-provoking and thoroughly engaging book, Professor Adam Roberts explores our many different cultural visions of the end of the world – likely and unlikely, mundane and bizarre – and what they say about how we see ourselves and our societies. What is it is that we are really afraid of? An uncaring universe; an uncontrollable environment; the human capacity for destruction; or just our own, personal apocalypse – our mortality?
He considers religious doomsday; our love affair with zombies; rogue AI; plagues and diseases; the end of the universe and the climate crisis. Adam Roberts’ entertaining observations are thick with references to books, films, video games and TV series – from the Iliad and the Book of Revelation to Minecraft and the Matrix, via the War of the Worlds and Star Trek - revealing why this is an endlessly repeated trope in popular culture.
What did I think about it..
In this year of uncertainty, to read a book about the end of the world seems very timely, as I have indeed wondered just where we are headed when all around us seems to be changing, and not for the better.
In It's the End of the World, the author very cleverly leads us through a series of cultural visions about the different end of the word scenarios from, Escaping the Wrath of the Gods: Religious Doomsday, through to The World on Fire : Climate Armageddon.
Throughout the book there is a comprehensive exploration in the way we, as a race of people, perceive destruction, and the increasing rise of popular culture only serves to emphasise this fascination with our apocalyptic demise. The author puts forward comprehensive ideas and I enjoyed reading the well thought out arguments and fascinating scenarios which, overall, gave me much food for thought.
It's the End of the World is one of those clever little books, whilst not huge in size, coming in at just over 190 pages, it certainly packs a generous punch in terms of thought provoking ideas and it is definitely one of those interesting books which I am sure I will find myself dipping into from time to time or whenever I feel that the end of the world is nigh.
About the Author
Professor Adam Roberts is a writer, critic and Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at Royal Holloway University. Among his many academic works are studies of Browning and Coleridge. He is also the author of more than twenty science fiction novels, including Jack Glass, which won the BSFA Award for Best Novel. He is the author of the Palgrave History of Science Fiction and reviews regularly for the Guardian. He lives to the West of London with his wife and two children