Featured Resource: Apocalyptic Imaginations

Edited by Associate Professor Clare Rothschild and written by Lewis students in her 200-level theology course, Apocalyptic Imaginations is a collection of 20 fictional apocalypses inspired by the political situations in areas of the world such as Sudan, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

The book’s origin story begins in Fall 2014 with the introduction of a new course, Special Topics: Revelations and Other Apocalypses. Inspired by the current “zombie craze” that produced The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and World War Z, the course focused on ancient and modern literary expressions of apocalypse. For their capstone assignment, students were required to write their own fictional apocalypse from the point of view of an individual in a contemporary political crisis.

Rothschild was so moved by her students’ final essays that she sought a publisher for their work. Scholar R. Matthew Calhoun, an expert in the field, worked with Rothschild and the students to edit the essays into published form and also wrote the book’s introduction. Local artist Nathan Little created the cover illustration, which is inspired by Durer’s images from the Book of Revelation.

The essays range from the literal to the symbolic, such as Lauren Rexroad’s “Similtudes of Eeyore and the Hundred Acre Wood,” a children’s story that includes a hidden critique of the situation in North Korea. Some, like Toni Focosi’s “Apocalypse of Luke” (the one from Tatooine), draw on contemporary pop culture. Others, such as Anthony LaRocca’s “Apocalypse of Sardar Khan,” reflect students’ personal experiences: LaRocca, a veteran of the U.S. Marines who served in Afghanistan, wrote his apocalypse from the perspective of a member of the Taliban.

Apocalyptic Imaginations is available for checkout at the Lewis Library. Look for it on the second floor (call number PR 2015.R68 2015) or ask a library staff member for help finding it.

One comment

  • There are a lot of Wikipedia entries that list all the apcoplyatic books, but they don’t tell you which ones are worth reading. I love that particular genre, so here are my favorites:- The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: 200 years after a zombie apocalypse, survivors lived inside a fenced compound with the zombies outside. When the fence is breached, the teen heroine must escape to the zombie wilderness with friends to survive.- The Shore of Monsters by David J. Nix: 100 years after a horde of monsters destroyed humanity, the survivors live on islands off the shore. All the men are dead or ruined by a monster plague, and women maintain the race through medical means. Words live father’ and romance’ have lost meaning. When 17-year old Sky joins an expedition to the monster-infested shore, and it fails, she must survive in the ruins amongst the creatures. She gets very unexpected help from a surprising source that changes everything.- World War Z by Max Brooks: Another zombie apocalypse, told in documentary style. Soon to be a Brad Pitt movie.- The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier: When you die you go to a city where you exist as long as others are living on earth that remember you. The city suddenly begins shrinking, and the residents try to determine why. Spoiler: dark ending.- The Road by Cormac McCarthy: Dark story of a father and son surviving in a wasteland after a nuclear war has poisoned the planet. Very grim, with just a glimmer of hope at the end. This novel will hurt, but it will make you think.- Z for Zechariah by Robert C. O’Brien: A teen girl in an oasis in a nuclear wasteland might be the only survivor. However, a man arrives in a radiation suit, lifting her spirits. Soon the girl begins wondering if being alone wasn’t better. This is a classic.- Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle: Survivors rebuild after a comet smacks Earth and destroys civilization.- The Stand by Stephen King: After a plague destroys most of humanity, the survivors split into two camps: good and evil. They struggle against one another for the soul of the future. King wrote this before he became the master of horror, and it is still his best.- A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.: Priests protect documents centuries after a nuclear war destroyed everything. It turns out the documents are the only remaining remnants of advance science. Another classic.- The Postman by David Brin: A loner brings hope to the survivors of a nuclear war. Hard to describe, but a fantastic book.Others to look up on Amazon that I liked: Earth Abides, The Long Tomorrow, The Vault of Ages, Kelwin, Riddley Walker, I Am Legend, Daybreak 2250 A.D., Eternity Road, Shipbreaker.

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