ThinkProgress From 'The Walking Dead' to 'Contagion,' What Are Your Post-Apocalyptic
I think my reaction to post-apocalypse fiction, and really, all sorts of futuristic narratives, is to be more interested in how we got there than what we do when we’re there. I love the first two books in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy because they’re all about the choices the characters make to extend their lifespans, to terraform Mars, to embrace new religions, and ultimately, to declare independence from Earth, but I’m relatively bored by the third novel, which is about all the sex and drama a new generation has once the future’s finally arrived. Reading The Hunger Games, I always want to know how the Capitol seized enough power to bring the Districts to heel enough to set up the Games in the first place. I wonder about first contact and the Bugger Wars in Ender’s Game, though I think Orson Scott Card is smart enough to weave a lot of backstory about the way the world changed into his story about what it’s become now. I love Contagion so much because it’s the rare, beautifully optimistic movie about how we avert a post-apocalypse, rather than bowing down to the inevitability of disaster.