Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson is out of the office this week, so here is one from the Vault.
Originally posted November 21, 2014.
I recently saw Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. It’s set in the not too distant future where planet Earth is becoming increasingly uninhabitable for mankind, and for the survival of the species, man will have to find a new home out there among the stars. It deals with the difficulties of deep space travel, the relativity of time, wormholes, and the mysteries and theories surrounding black holes. The Odinson will go on record and say that this film makes the list for Top 10 Science Fiction Films of All-Time.
The best science fiction takes threads of what is real or realistic and expands on it, sometimes exponentially. An Apocalypse is a great upheaval, a major event or disaster. It’s a cataclysm of some sort, big or small, that changes the course of human history. This is illustrated in Interstellar by the fact that the Earth is becoming uninhabitable and mankind is running out of food. It can take many forms – natural disaster, nuclear war, divine intervention, plague, zombies, kaiju, etc. What happens next is known as the Post-Apocalypse. Post-Apocalyptic landscapes have been a staple for science fiction since the very beginning. It has been used in every medium – movies (Planet of the Apes), television (SeaQuest DSV), books (Left Behind), cartoons (Spiral Zone), video games (Resident Evil), and comics (Wasteland).
The Odinson’s Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic Landscapes
5 – Jeremiah – This TV series was based on the graphic novels by Belgian artist Hermann Huppen and developed by J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Rising Stars, Supreme Power, Thor). It is a tale set fifteen years after a plague has wiped out nearly every human being on Earth over the age of thirteen. Jeremiah and his friend, Kurdy, wander the landscape coming across various factions, forces for chaos and those trying to rebuild civilization, on their way to locate the mysterious Valhalla Sector, a place where it is said to house survivors of the plague. Survivors that may include Jeremiah’s own father.
4 – Mad Max – After a global economic collapse, the world descends into chaos. Governments fall, law and order becomes myth, and the highways and byways are ruled by vicious gangs and “road warriors.” Into this world is thrust the man simply known as Max. After his family’s murder, Max, a former highway patrolman, takes revenge on the motorcycle gang responsible. With nothing left to live for, Max ventures out into the wastelands of this Post-Apocalyptic world. There his survival is constantly challenged as he faces off against bloodthirsty pirates and cannibalistic gangs over the scraps and drops of petroleum left over from the Old World. Perhaps the greatest challenge Max must face in this harsh New World is the laughable societal laws of Barter Town and the ultimate decider of law and order – The Thunderdome.
3 – I Am Legend – After a plague has wiped out most of mankind, those that survived the plague have become infected and transformed into bloodthirsty vampires. Scientist Robert Neville, finds that he is the only human being immune to this pandemic and he is the last man alive on Earth. He spends his nights fortifying his home against vampire attacks as the relentless undead descend upon his home in wave after wave. When the sun rises and chases the monsters back to their dark hiding places, Neville spends his days hunting them down and destroying them where they sleep. Over the course of this horrifying tale, Neville soon learns that he is the very thing that those that have inherited the Earth have come to fear. He has become the monster. He has become legend.
2 – The Walking Dead – In the aftermath of a full blown Zombie Apocalypse, a small group of survivors try to make their way in a world without law, without order, without electricity, and without any modern conveniences. It’s an eye-opening case study of what would happen if society as we know it suddenly ceased to exist. The human drama comes from the groups’ struggle with day-to-day survival as they face starvation, exposure, exhaustion, natural human tensions, owe yeah, and also the relentless attacks of the numberless flesh-eating ghouls that now walk the earth. As if that were not enough, our intrepid band of survivors must also contend with serial killers, murderous would be dictators, human cannibals, pirates, and other despicable human beings that seem to thrive in this Post-Apocalyptic environment.
1 – The Stand – In this masterpiece from master of horror Stephen King (Salem’s Lot, Cycle of the Werewolf, The Dark Tower), a pandemic fearfully referred to as “Captain Trips” has washed over the world and killed off 99% of the human population. The few survivors left alive find themselves drawn into the ultimate showdown between good and evil as Mother Abagail, the representative of good, faces off against Randal Flagg, the embodiment of evil, for the souls of mankind and future of the human race. This twelve-hundred plus page novel is Stephen King’s Lord of the Rings. To say it is epic in scope would be a huge understatement. All the supernatural and science fiction elements aside, The Stand is a masterful look at the human condition, the drama, and the choices they make that can save or damn their souls. The Stand has been adapted into a television mini-series, into comics and graphic novels, and it will soon be a 4-part movie saga.
Post-Apocalyptic Landscape Hall of Fame: George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
The Odinson loves good science fiction, and there are few things in entertainment as titillating, frightening, and contemplative as science fiction set in a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE