This is the Way The World Ends by James Morrow is a glorious example of properly-narrated, depressing as all hell post apocalyptic science fiction and, in my opinion, one of the best examples of fictional representations of the nuclear holocaust.
So get this: Nostradamus, Leonardo and George Paxton enter the same continuity…
George Paxton is a gravestone inscriber, epitaph writer and a Unitarian. He lives a happy life with his wife, Justine and their daughter, Molly. Every night, he reads her stories about elves that cast golden shadows and conceals from her the nature of seagulls.
Nostradamus is a seer and a prophet. He sees (through no fault of his own) the future of all things, the End of the World among them, brought by self-propelled spears, shot from the backs of Iron Whales.
Leonardo of Vinci is an odd man and knows how to appreciate Nostradamus’ gift. Together, they begin to undertake their greatest endeavor: to create a collage of images that will depict the End Of The World in all its absurd detail, George Paxton included.
“We have always been with you. Waiting to get in…”
This is the Way The World ends is a singularly horrifying piece, with a top-notch writing style. James Morrow does an EXCELLENT job portraying every little detail, no matter how absurd, with perplexing eloquence and simplicity. I could go on and on about how this story horrified me for hours, but I’ll let you decide for yourselves.
One important thing is that this book appears to have been a major influence toward the development of the Fallout series of games AND you can find a number of its influences in post-apocalyptic fiction in general. The book reads a lot like both a political Cold-War satire, but it mostly serves to constantly remind the reader that Mutually Assured Destruction is a very real thing that is the end result of mutually achieved madness.
- 60,000 words
- A distinctly Vonnegutian style
- An introduction that serves as a punch to the nose.
- Poetic, absolutely awesome prose.
- Intelligent atheism, the kind that even a devoutly religious man would not do well to ignore.
- You can get This Is the Way the World Ends at Amazon.com.
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). There, you can find comic book and movie reviews, a collection of his short stories as well as lots of other (slightly unrelated) articles to while away the time. He also likes making whoosh noises with his mouth when he thinks there’s nobody looking.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at email@example.com