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The Appeal of Post-apocalyptic Fiction

By Lexi Revellian @LexiRevellian
The appeal of post-apocalyptic fictionHaving recently published Ice Diaries, which tells the story of a small group of survivors in a 2018 London under twenty metres of snow, I got to wondering about the popularity of post-apocalyptic novels. Why are we so willing to imagine the end of our civilization, when for most of us in the West we have never had it so good?

What is the attraction of losing everything that makes our lives easy and getting back to basics - sometimes with added zombies?

Here are my theories as to why we find a post-apocalyptic scenario appealing:

  • In an increasingly Nanny state, the disappearance of tiresome rules and bureaucracy. No more parking tickets or obsessively checking the speedometer to avoid a fine or remembering to put the rubbish out on a Friday, after 5.30 but not before.
  • The chance to have adventures and move out of one's comfort zone. Farewell nine to five.
  • The novelty of being in a familiar setting but under hugely different circumstances.
  • There is a looter and pillager deep in all of us, just waiting for an opportunity. The collapse of civilization makes looting acceptable, even necessary.
  • You can, like my heroine Tori, get to choose an opulent flat to live in that you could never normally afford.
  • Having to be resourceful, and having more control over one's life.
  • Immediate and rough justice, instead of our flawed and expensive judicial system - whose results often, after an agonizingly long wait, amount to rough justice.
  • The planet getting a rest from its biggest depradator, man.
The appeal of post-apocalyptic fiction

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