View RSS Feed

Memories of the 28th Century

Something About Post-Apocalyptic Literature

Rate this Entry
It has been written that a work of fiction is a conversation between the author and the reader, or one side of the conversation. That that implies that the reader must think about and understand what the author is expressing ( see The Role of the Reader by Umberto Eco for more detail). For that reason, I am giving some insight into my novels Causation and Paradoxes and Contradictions.

I have long had a problem with most apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature and movies, because it is pessimistic, and there are some false premises about society and humans. It appears that it is assumed that such times would be chaotic and dangerous, because people would try to take advantage of the lack of controls. That assumes that most of the remaining people would be stupid and greedy. I think that the opposite is more likely: that the remaining people would be intelligent and generous or caring toward others.

It may be true that humans put themselves first in many situations, but whatever caused the apocalypses would demand cooperation. Whether it was disease, asteroid, alien attack, or whatever, cooperation would lead to better results than would greed or self-interest. And it is obvious that intelligence would lead to better success than would a lack of intelligence.

I can easily imagine an apocalypse functioning to increase the average intelligence of humanity. It might also lead to greater willingness to cooperate, but that would be more dependent on the situation.

In any case, it bothered me that post-apocalyptic novels were so pessimistic. People create nearly all of the problems, so if we got rid of the people, then most of the problems would go away also. So, I did something about it. I wrote Causation, an apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novel in which 90% of the world's population dies from a tailored virus and the sequel Paradoxes and Contradictions. After the population decrease, there were economic problems, but society and government didn't break down. Remember that the world's population didn't hit one billion until about 1805, and the world ran perfectly well before then.

I may have oversimplified things, but thatís the problem with short pieces. To make the story more complicated, the narrator is a time traveller from a parallel universe. He was shifted into this universe for unknown reasons, but he came in his time machine.

The major premise and the main character allow for many different things to happen, and that was the intention. He made a number of time trips to various places and times and with various clients after he goes into that business. Among other things, he saves a few people from their deaths and hauls them into his now time. Those people include Pope Joan, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe; there were others, but they didnít survive.

The possible adventures are very large, but so readers would have things to think about, I did not write every detail.

I encourage people to read both books, so I wonít give away any more details. As I mentioned, I do not like most apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature, because I have a good idea how clever people can be in even seemingly impossible situations. I think that people would find a way out of most problems, if the possibility exists, in addition to showing confidence in humans, there are many interesting events that took place in other times that would have led to other events, a completely different history, and I have explored some of those.