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APOCALYPTIC/DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE

APOCALYPTIC/DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE. Meetup 71. Background. Apocalypse – from Greek, literally means ‘revelation’ Popularly means end of human civilization or society as we know it Reasons: catastrophe, natural, man-made or divine/supernatural

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APOCALYPTIC/DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE

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  1. APOCALYPTIC/DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE Meetup71

  2. Background • Apocalypse – from Greek, literally means ‘revelation’ • Popularly means end of human civilization or society as we know it • Reasons: catastrophe, natural, man-made or divine/supernatural • History of apocalyptic predictions – Plenty of religious references to apocalypse • Not always a bad thing like portrayed these days • (Religions thought it would be the sign of good prevailing over evil)

  3. Apocalypse in literature • Very common theme in literature, one of the oldest ones • (1500 BC, Epic of Gilgamesh – about a flood; Noah’s Ark, etc) • Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Jack London, Stephen King, Ayn Rand • Types of catastrophies described • natural (floods, volcanoes) • astronomical (like the dinosaur story) • aliens/zombies • fallen societies in general

  4. DYSTOPIA • Definition – a horribly degraded society full of suffering. Opposite of Utopia. • At least one reason why things are that way, often as an analogy for similar issues in the real world. • Post-apocalyptic writings usually tend to be dystopian fiction • Examples: • Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley • THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY ?! (think about it) • (Also The Hunger Games)

  5. Writing style • Commonly seen themes: Existentialism • (Uniqueness of the individual experience in an indifferent universe, with disorientation and confusion. Stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences) • Post-apocalyptic writing – choose chronology • (Is your story right after the downfall or decades/centuries after) • Don’t spend too much time dwelling on the past • (Few references to how the world used to be, perhaps, but MOVE ON; normalize this new abnormal world for the reader) • Character building – an individual with his/her own flaws and oddities

  6. Writing style (continued) • Spend some time to describe the new world • (The old rules don’t apply, don’t take today’s society for granted) • Focus on some of the more basic human needs • Break free from the common concept of morality and ethics • Individual’s fight against a larger conspiracy • (Made clear right in the beginning) • A LOT OF DESCRIPTION, and VERY LESS EXPLICIT EMOTIONS • (The picture you paint doesn’t always have to be bleak) • Most end with a small beacon of hope (but that’s your choice)

  7. Quotes • “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” ― George Orwell, 1984 • “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy • “We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy • “Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.” ― Stephen King, The Stand

  8. Exercise 1 • Apocalyptic fiction: • Focus on dialogues to paint a picture of the day the world ended. Short conversation between 2 or more characters. 15 minutes.

  9. EXERcise 2 • Post-apocalyptic fiction: • Incorporate your characters and their basic gist of dialogue into a short story of the post-apocalypse. Weave your story around a 60-year old photograph. 30 minutes.

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