For the last few years, post-apocalyptic fiction has been wildly successful, not just in books, but in movies, television and video games to name just a few. The reasons for the destruction of the world as we know it vary from story to story. Zombies. Meteors. Religious prophecy culmination. Nuclear winter. If you can figure out a way to end the world, you'll find that someone in the media has already thought of it.
I've tried writing post-apocalyptic romance but keep coming up with the same problem: most of them just aren't believable to me.
Don't get me wrong. I think the world could be destroyed. I just tend to believe that there's a big hole between an incident that screws up life in one area or in one aspect, and the total end of human existence.
Humanity's greatest characteristic is the ability to adapt. We found ways to exist even in the most unwelcoming of environments. This leads me to the inescapable conclusion that in almost any situation, at least a fair number of us would survive and that civilization would go on--just not the way we know it now. We were having a discussion over dinner (as you do) of what we'd need to do first if the apocalypse happened.
For instance: Why would zombies make the power grid go down? Niagara falls is still one of our major sources of electricity in the eastern US. Plus, as I asked my kids (grown adults) how long do they think it would be before our house had power if the national grid did collapse. After a little calculation, they agreed that if we could run the generator for one day, by day two we could have a wind or solar rig set up. We might have to limit our use, but we wouldn't freeze and we'd have light and cooking ability. As long as we could charge our existing devices and get/keep the towers running, we'd have that much time to re-engineer phones and computers..
Food would be a bit more difficult if one isn't in a rural, farming area, but I honestly think we'dfigure that out pretty quickly as well. I might not be as tasty without specialty crops and spices, but I've also taught edible plants courses and could eat pretty well out of a meadow, some chickens and rabbits and a small veggie patch.
Simple math tells us those same zombies can't all spontaneously generate all over the world. If they do, okay, here's your apocalypse, kiss your a$$ goodbye. There would be so little humanity left, it wouldn't be worth writing books about. If there was a Ground Zero, the situation could be contained. The rest of us would still be getting on with the business of living. I'm not saying there'd be no upheaval, but I think it would be limited. Medicine, however could possibly be an area of impact.
The same logic holds true for nuclear exchange. Either it would be limited enough to simply screw things up, or we'd all be dead. Sure, some whole cities might be gone. There would be climate impacts. On the whole, we'd still have those two end results. Adapt or die. The same logic again holds true with the rise of AI and possible war between the humans and machines. Why does noone write the middle ground? Because it's boring. Middle ground in every case is this: Life is different. but we adapt and survive. Maybe not in the religious case. I really don't have an interest in pondering that.
As a former environmental educator, I fear the wrath of our planet as we continue to deplete natural resources, blow up the ground for fuel, and throw billions of tons of trash into our oceans. I have seen the change in weather patterns in my lifetime and know it will likely only get worse. And yet--I have great hope that people will still carry on. The fall of Rome didn't end society, neither did WWI end all wars. Humans are, at the end of the day, human. If we're not all destroyed, we'll probably find a way to carry on--and a way to continue screwing things up for future generations.
Do you like post-apocalypse stories? If not, why? If so, what are some of your favorites? I'd love to see what others think about this topic.
Check out the recent re-release of my Prism award-winning paranormal romance SEA CHANGE, available on Kindle
, or any of your other favorite platforms, including paperback.
Watch next month for another re-issue, ONE GOOD MAN, a different kind of ghost story, co-written with the lovely Lacey Thorn. Releasing on all platforms March 19, 2019 by Supernova Indie Publishing.
CindySpencer Pape lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and andan ever-changing menagerie of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.