My favourite genre of film and fiction deals with the post-apocalyptic world. It is almost cheating that I find straight apocalyptic film and fiction less interesting. The adventures of a plucky bunch of folk surviving the virus/triffids/radiation to rebuild the world. Last night, watching S01 E08 of the latest adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, I wondered why so few writers/directors let the virus/triffids/radiation win?
Richard Matheson did it in I am Legend (1954); it’s implied in Neville Shute’s On the Beach (1957); and Cormac McCarthy almost got there in The Road (2006). There are many others, arising mostly when our attention is morbidly fixated on some looming threat. So with the global death toll from CV19 accelerating, how many authors and auteurs will return to the apocalypse?
But will we want to read about it?
I guess we will, because although the so-called ‘First World’ still tops the charts with about 72% of deaths, the ‘Third World’ will overtake us soon. In Australia, for example, with a death toll lower than Oklahoma’s, the biggest impact has been travel restrictions. I mean, poor us, right?
But even in countries like the UK, France and the US “the horror” will quickly abate and people will put it behind them. Before you know it, we’ll be inhaling Doritos while watching Zack Snyder’s Army of The Dead (2021) on Netflix, even as India loses 10,000 people a day to the virus.
Funny how we’ll avoid reading about deaths and rampaging infection rates in foreign countries we don’t care about, yet still find an appetite for a zombie apocalypse in a fictional futuristic Los Angeles populated by muscle bros and zombified cheerleaders. I guess we’re sick of their reality.
But here’s a question which must have been modelled a multitude of times in a lab by some sweating scientist. What if this virus wins? What if COVID-19 follows the course of the 1918 H1N1 virus and keeps experimenting until it finds the mutation that’s most effective at killing humans?
How about that reality.
Maybe the ‘waves’ we’ve documented so far are just ripples. If the true wave is yet to happen, then it will probably be a Third World tsunami. But only when a million Aussies die will we finally stop bitching about not getting to Bali this year.
You would laugh, if it wasn’t so awful.