Mortal souls, our time on earth is rapidly coming to a close. As most of you know, the Mayan Calendar predicts the world as we know it will come to an end on the 21st of December, 2012. When trouble hits there’s no better place to turn than your very own port in the storm, the book.
Literature has always been obsessed with the apocalypse and the anarchy that follows. Some of the great works through history that were once considered fiction can now stand as incredibly helpful ‘how to’ manuals during these, our last days.
Cormac McCarthy’s most recent effort is a beautiful manual, one of the greatest of the last 25 years. Strangely enough it is the only post-apocalyptic survivor manual to have also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
WHO’S TO BLAME: Possibly global warming, war, the government.
CLIMATE: There will be fires on the horizon during The Rapture, but strangely enough there will also be a great deal of snow for much of the time after.
DO…. Try and get your father to do a medical degree before the apocalypse, this can be very handy.
DON’T…. Go into the basement of an abandoned home. Seriously, it’s not a good idea.
Not strictly an apocalypse, but certainly a huge cataclysmic event, spawned the creation of George Orwell’s classic manual. One of the greatest manuals of all-time, it describes a world where privacy and free thought and speech are almost non-existent due to the totalitarian regime in place.
WHO’S TO BLAME: War, the government.
CLIMATE: Heavily industrialised, quite cold, neo-gothic.
DO…. Follow the crowd whenever you’re in a public place despite your hesitation, the after-world can be a tough place for an outsider.
DON’T…. Trust anybody, or make eye contact with co-workers, although for many people in the world today this shouldn’t be a huge departure from the current day to day.
If you have seen the infomercial presented by William Smith than you may be a little surprised as the manual it is based on, published in 1954, does have some different points to raise. I can assure you that the written manual is incredible and much better than the infomercial. It’s a stunning self-help book filled with immense symbolism and brutal plot twists.
WHO’S TO BLAME: War, scientists.
CLIMATE: Perhaps only one human left in existence, the world in complete devastation, vampires now roam the planet.
DO…. Have garlic, mirrors and crucifixes at the ready.
DON’T…. Think that you’re safe in your house, or anywhere. They’re coming for you.
John Wyndham put together a riveting manual published in 1951. Wyndham takes you through surviving a post-apocalyptic world where flora is your enemy. A classic manual taught in classrooms the world over, and a sure fire way to stop you looking at the night sky.
WHO’S TO BLAME: The Soviets. Botantists.
CLIMATE: Near complete devastation, large carnivorous plants roaming the planet, nearly all people in the world are blinded so interior decorating has become sub-standard at best.
DO… Try and find other pockets of survivors, although watch them carefully and don’t trust anyone with red hair.
DON’T… Ever, ever, ever, watch a meteor shower. Big trouble.
Son of you-know-who, Max Brooks builds on his best-selling The Zombie Survival Guide with the stunning manual World War Z. Through a series of stories pieced together, Brooks tells the story of a zombie apocalypse. Soon to be realised as an instructional video presented by Bradley Pitt.
WHO’S TO BLAME: Zombies.
CLIMATE: All corners of the globe are heavily war-torn, lots of rubble, things like that.
DO… Learn a trade or a really cool skill, they are valued in the future and you might become the President if you learn to unclog drains.
DON’T… Trust the pharmaceutical companies if they tell you they’ve found a cure. They haven’t.
There are also a large amount of instructional videos available, some can be found below.
WHO’S TO BLAME: Zombies.
CLIMATE: Buildings are still largely intact, streets are not safe. John will do you a toasty out back of the Winchester, but survival is difficult if the building is surrounded.
DO… Find your loved ones and huddle together.
DON’T… Get too close to loved ones, because if they get bitten, oh boy….
WHO’S TO BLAME: Aliens
CLIMATE: Major cities completely destroyed, army bases under threat.
DO… Find military bunkers, put your faith in Randy Quaid.
DON’T… Hold up placards welcoming the aliens while standing on a tall skyscraper directly below an alien ship. Bad idea.
WHO’S TO BLAME: Skynet, the machines.
CLIMATE: Complete devastation, army bases in deserts still remain.
DO… Pick the times to trust robots very carefully.
DON’T… Start building robots. It’s all downhill from there…
WHO’S TO BLAME: Diminishing natural resources.
CLIMATE: Think Broken Hill in the summer of 1977-78. For some reason, it’s exactly like that.
DO… Avenge people, you seem to live longer.
DON’T… Worry if the paperwork is clean, it won’t be.
WHO’S TO BLAME: That pesky sun, the earth’s core.
CLIMATE: A few earthquakes and then come December 21, everything goes to pot. Lots of cracks you don’t want to step on.
DO… Find a plane and discover secret government evacuation plans.
DON’T… Be a jerk, because you’ll never survive.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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