Vol 41 (2014)

Apocalypse


Cover Page

This issue invited authors to respond to the proliferation of scenarios for the apocalypse in popular culture. John R. Hall believes that numerous examples suggest that "an apocalyptic mood is no longer confined to cultures of religious fundamentalism" but also demonstrated in "diverse mainstream apocalyptic references" (1). In the media, the apocalypse generates news headlines; in October 2013, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that scientists had found "evidence of an apocalypse on a planetary system similar to our own" (von Radowitz). In 2012, the belief that the end of the Mayan calendar on 21 December would mean the end of the world triggered thousands of blog posts. A poll of 16,000 adults showed eight per cent suffered genuine anxiety that the world would end on that day. Nonfiction texts such as The World Without Us (2007) and The World in 2050 (2010) use current scientific data to project future scenarios that show civilizations crumbling and the climate radically altered as a result of global warming. The welter of recent TV series, movies and books depicting fictional versions of the apocalypse-Revolution (2012), Melancholia (2011), Defiance (2013), The Hunger Games (2008, 2012), War of the Worlds (2005), Tomorrow When the War Began (1993, 2010), I Am Legend (2007), The Road (2006,2009), Oryx and Crake (2003), even a children's film, WALL-E (2008)-reveals a renewed fascination with images of the end of the world. 

In this issue of UNQ, contributors use poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction to explore the symbolism of the apocalypse. The word "apocalypse" derives from the Greek work "revelation." Each of these submissions reveals both contemporary anxieties and the capacity for resilience in the face of personal, national and global apocalypses.