Escapism and the End of the World as We Know It

Post-apocalyptic literature troubles me.

I should qualify that.  I enjoy a fair share of post-apocalyptic storytelling.  The Road is minimalist and bleak to the point of horrifying beauty.  Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is an exceptionally realized far-future fantasy.  Battlestar Galactica takes the most profound kind of end of the world scenario and puts real humans in the midst of it.  Even Star Trek is a post-apocalyptic society, given the events of First Contact.


For Love of Transcendentalism

Nothing is quite beautiful alone; nothing but is beautiful in the whole. –Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Most of what I read in grade school sucked.

It was not for want of material.  I was lucky to have attended good schools, with access to many books and stories of all kinds.  No, my problem was what I was force-fed in class: dry and humorless, assigned by committee, designed to be as encompassing and “important” as possible.  I learned quickly to look outside of school for material that entertained me.

Some of the school curriculum was good.  Dickens.  Shakespeare.  Whitman.  Others.

The rest wasn’t.

But there were some stories, some essays that were transformative and quietly profound, moving me in ways I couldn’t understand until years later.