This week we’ve put together some of our favorite ends of the world. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite apocalyptic fictions here at Entropy:
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
Though Krasznahorkai’s books don’t necessarily take place directly in post-apocalyptic worlds, the lens with his words are viewed are of inevitability and past lost. He states in an interview:
“We are living in the apocalypse. The first moment of time was the first moment of apocalypse and death. Please, don’t fear the apocalypse.”
Consequently, the films with which he has worked on with director Béla Tarr carry over this same tone. Especially…
3. The Turin Horse directed by Béla Tarr
Indeed, as a character in Damnation states, “all stories are about disintegration.”
Tarr: “I want to make one more film about the end of the world, and then I will stop making films.”
4. 12 Monkeys directed by Terry Gilliam
(inspired by Chris Marker’s short film, La Jetée)
“It’s just like what’s happening with us, like the past. The movie never changes. It can’t change; but every time you see it, it seems different because you’re different. You see different things.”
5. Stalker directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
“The Zone is a very complicated system of traps, and they’re all deadly. I don’t know what’s going on here in the absence of people, but the moment someone shows up, everything comes into motion. Old traps disappear and new ones emerge. Safe spots become impassable. Now your path is easy, now it’s hopelessly involved. That’s the Zone. It may even seem capricious. But it is what we’ve made it with our condition. It happened that people had to stop halfway and go back. Some of them even died on the very threshold of the room. But everything that’s going on here depends not on the Zone, but on us!”
Byron Alexander Campbell
1. Final Fantasy VI: The post-apocalyptic world of the game isn’t particularly interesting, but the sheer ballsiness of having the world end midway through the adventure and the game keep on going, with a POV shift to a hitherto minor character, is deserving of mad props.
2. The Neverending Story: You probably thought that the sequel was a cheap cash-in, but it was actually based on the second half of the novel–it just felt like a cheap cash-in. What doesn’t work in the films works beautifully in the book, with the world of Fantastica vanishing into a speck of sand by the midpoint. The world is thereafter rebuilt according to Bastian’s wishes, becoming even more fantastical than before–not the usual post-apocalyptic scenario.
1. Melancholia (Lars von Trier)
2. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron)
3. Kaboom (Gregg Araki)
1. STALKER, Tarkovsky (still need to read “Roadside Picnic,” which I understand may be less apocalyptic [?]);
- The first folio of the heroic epic poem Beowulf, written primarily in the West Saxon dialect of Old English. Part of the Cotton MS Vitellius A XV manuscript currently located within the British Library. This is a digital photographic copy of the folio.
1.) DESTRUCTION MYTH, Mathias Svalina Here is him reading the titular poem: 2.) ALPHAVILLE, Jean-Luc Godard (“What is the privilege of the dead? To die no more.”) 3.) EDEN: IT’S AN ENDLESS WORLD!, Hiroki Endo (Beautiful post-apocalyptic cyberpunk manga based in gnostic philosophy with breathtakingly detailed line work like this:
Joe Milazzo beat me to Our Ecstatic Days and Byron Campbell beat me to FFVI, so I’ll include some other things.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Not sure if there’s apocalyptic fiction that gets better than this. It’s so bleak, so dark, and so so so awesome. It’s nearly untouchable, I think, and no one’s really approached its gutsiness or intensity.
2. Blindness by Jose Saramago
3. Y: The Last Man
Doh! Everyone’s beaten me to just about everything—Children of Men, The Road. Except: 1. Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.