An entertaining and fascinating compendium of doomsday scenarios depicted in fiction, film, graphic novels, plays, songs, television series and works of art.
In her introduction, Barcella notes it was "overwhelming…having to narrow the list down to just fifty," but offers no insight into how she arrived at her final list. Her sole criterion for selection seems only to be that they are "iconic." The apocalyptic scenarios include alien conquest, bioterrorism, natural catastrophe, nuclear war, superviruses and zombie plagues. R.E.M.'s song "It's the End of the World" and the film When Worlds Collide are obvious selections, but there are many interesting surprises. Who knew authors as different as E.M. Forster, Jack London and Mary Shelley all wrote apocalyptic short stories and novels? Most people listening to Nena's "99 Luftballons" today probably don't realize it's about the Cold War–era shadow of nuclear annihilation. The examples are unimaginatively listed in alphabetical order by title rather than by type of apocalypse or medium. Each entry includes a concise synopsis of the work, brief discussion of its impact and influence, photograph or visual outtake, and quotes from or relating to it. A sidebar called "Reality Factor" discusses the plausibility of the scenario. Doomsday buffs will especially enjoy second-guessing Barcella's choices and dissecting her synopses.
An amusing, informative look at apocalyptic pop culture. (Nonfiction. 12-18)