There is something about post apocalyptic fiction that is not true. Well, I mean beyond being fiction. The mechanisms are not true.
Humans as a group don’t look at a situation and go “Oh, it’s over, so now we rebel/despair/throw kittens through basketball hoops.”
That’s not how any of that works.
Even when it’s absolutely clear the world has ended, someone will get up early, because they have to be at work on time. They will do this even if the place the office used to be is now an ash pit.
Even while the world falls around you, you or a friend will cook dinner for the family. Even if dinner is squirrel with grass clippings (I’ve heard of worse from Venezuela.)
This means, in the collective, there is a surreal mixture of normalcy and insanity. Or as I’ve described my most eventful years, when Portugal should have had a revolution and counterrevolution report after the weather report: you are on your way to school, worried about not studying enough for the math test. and you find yourself in the middle of a fighting mob.
One of the masterful things John Ringo did in Black Tide Rising is his people get the code, they flee out to sea…. and then go to NYC because they need to work there for a while. And there’s a concert in Central park. In the middle of the zombie apocalypse.
The world doesn’t end with a bang, but with a whimper. And mostly it doesn’t end at all.
I was going to say perhaps our idea of the end of the world comes from when the raiders would arrive in the night, put man and boy child to the sword and in one night make the women and girl children theirs.
But even that was not a true end. Because you and I have the blood of those women, sure, but more importantly, because those women taught the children bits and pieces of the old language amid the new “so sorry, master, just a slip up” and ways to eat, and ways to cook, and ways to do things.
And more often than not the conquerors ended up conquered, their grandchildren not raiding, but working the land, and respecting the traditions of the people they’d displaced.
The world ends. The world never ends. Go visit a Latin country in Europe and you start to question if Rome ever fell.
So write freedom. Write happiness. Write joy. Write of humanity going to space, thriving.
Refuse the lie of “everyone is dirty.” Refuse the lie of “nothing matters.” Refuse the lie of “Fighting back is wrong.”
In the end, life wins. And the world doesn’t end.