After the End: Recent Apocalypses
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- From the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh to Norse prophecies of Ragnarok to the Revelations of Saint John to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and any number of fictional zombie Armageddons and the dystopic world of The Hunger Games, we have always wondered what will happen after the world as we know it ends. No matter what the doomsday scenario — cataclysmic climate change, political chaos, societal collapse, nuclear war, pestilence, or so many other dreaded variations — we inevitably believe that even though the world perishes, some portion of humankind will live on. Such stories involve death and disaster, but they are also tales of rebirth and survival. Grim or triumphant, these outstanding, post-apocalyptic stories selected from the best of those published in the tumultuous last decade allow us to consider what life will be like after the end.
me ‘Mommy.’ ” “Sorry, I forgot. Alice, your monster is going for a walk.” “Whatever.” Their voices are flat, monotonous. Is this the first or fiftieth time they’ve had this fight? It doesn’t matter. It always ends the same. “And I told you, she doesn’t have a name.” “She’s your daughter, she’s almost three. She needs a name.” “She came out of me. That doesn’t make her my daughter.” “That’s exactly why she’s your daughter: she came out of you.” Ephraim’s voice catches. “She is you.” “Shit
even though you say that to me.” “Just check out that guy stuck in the mud pit over there,” said Mickey Tronic. “He was one of us! Terrific guy, never knew his real name, of course, but he was our ideal lab subject. Imagine building a tactile, augmented interface for a blind soldier. An interface so he can literally feel every centimeter, practically every cubic micron of the 3-D spaces around him . . . Do you know what ‘proprioception’ is?” “No,” said Miss Sato, gazing at the stir of pirates
Bearing, Part# 810-9, Damaged, Replace. Valve Kit, Part# 437834-13, Damaged, Replace. Master Drive Regulator, Part# 39-23-9834959-5, Damaged, Replace. Priority Maintenance: Compression Sensors, Part# 49-4, Part# 7777-302, Part# 403-74698 Primary Train, Part# 010303-0 Gurney Belt Valve, Part# 9-0-2 . . . The list went on. I keyed into the maintenance history. The list opened up, running well into Mercati’s tenure and even before, dozens of maintenance triggers and scheduled work requests,
was still there with all of her little play friends. All of them romping around and having a good time. “The best and the brightest,” the old lady murmured. In the middle of the quad, more of the students were stripping down, none of them caring that they were doing it in the middle of broad daylight, none of them worried about who was watching, or what anyone might think. A couple hundred kids, and not a single one of them had a book, or a notebook, or pens, or paper, or a computer with them.
would’ve thought?” I was certainly thinking now. I sat heavily back and tried to see my thoughts against the wall, which was a mass of tags from before they’d secured this building. I needed Fen to go away now—I couldn’t make sense of this while she was here watching me, trying to work out what I thought, what I felt. But I couldn’t send her away, either; this sort of thing takes a certain amount of time and no less, and there was no point being rude. It takes two to tango, no one knew that