THE END IS NEAR!
Or maybe it isn’t, but when I think back over all the books I’ve read and reread in the last few years, one theme emerges quite clearly: the coming of the apocalypse.
It’s patently obvious that the potential for catastrophic climate change is a driver of the trend. Plant and animal species are being extinguished even as I type this. Confidence in our ability to address climate change successfully is not high enough (see the 4th line in the chart below), and free-floating pessimism in the United States is oddly high:
So the spate of end-of-times and dystopian novels in recent years can’t come as a surprise. Still, what purpose do you think they serve? Why do people write them, and why do we read them? Is it a way of coping with our anxiety about the future, maybe? Is there magical thinking at work here: deep down, we think that if we contemplate the worst, we can prevent it from coming to pass? Or is it just the case that writers have realized that setting a story in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic world makes for great drama?
Here are five novels of this type that I can recommend to you: