The eerie beauty of the post-apocalyptic tale

The eerie beauty of the post-apocalyptic tale

This post has been written for the October Frights Blog Hop. Thanks to Anita Stewart for organizing it!

There is something striking about images of abandoned places slowly being reclaimed by the Earth. Once bustling roads and train tracks, formerly occupied fairgrounds, and houses succumbing to ivy and other plant life give way to fantasy.

In the world of post-apocalyptic horror, the scenery becomes a welcome reprieve from the fear and violence. It becomes a source of peace and calm. Its beauty becomes striking.

The characters in these stories are now traversing a landscape that no longer belongs to them. “Post-apocalyptic” often refers to “the end of the world as we know it”, and the physical planet never dies, but reclaims. Humans have significantly died off, so the people in the tale no longer have the benefit of numbers. Exploring a vast expanse that could once be tamed and called home now becomes exploring an unknown, sometimes dangerous, territory. Humans are finally the “other” in a narrative we have dominated for too long.

For me, it’s a perfect source of escapism. Modern problems now are completely transformed. The thought of building a new world from the ground up, choosing to be a nomad, or even deciding exactly where you want to live without others dictating it sparks the imagination. We see the destruction of society as we know it and the progression to a clean slate, followed by the creation of something new from the wreckage of the old. Finally, there’s the knowledge that this new society, too, will ultimately fail, because that is the nature of humans. Even if it seems ideal at the time, having been built anew with knowledge of the flaws of before, it too will eventually collapse.

We now have to learn to go back to a forgotten time, before we were able to rely on grocery stores to provide us with food for the whole winter. Staying protected from the elements, the seasons, and predators is top priority. This shift in priority stops us from cruising through the day-to-day and forces us to start truly living. We have to rely on ourselves, and convenience is out of the equation.

There is a supposition that anything is possible–the hint that ghosts could be in the air or that feeling of harsh, sudden wind that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Without the distractions of technology, leisurely activities and the day-to-day, people can see the world for what it truly is: a wild entity. The Earth takes centre stage and shows us what we already know: once humans are gone, she’ll not only be fine, she’ll thrive.

The world will reach this status one day. My only hope is that I’ll be able to witness it when it does.

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3 Comments

  1. A haunting post.

  2. I’m not sure I’d like to see that sort of thing happen. I’m pretty sure I’ll be one of the first to die in the event of the end of the world as we know it. But at least that way I don’t have to worry about surviving. XD

  3. So true. Your post reminds me of that documentary that delves into the topic of what would happen to Earth if humans ceased to exist one day. A captivating story. In the end, the only proof of human ever existing would not be on the Earth at all, but on the Moon where there are no winds and the astronauts’ footprints are untouched by the atmosphere and the weather.

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