Apocalyptic Science Fiction

Apocalyptic Science Fiction



Apocalyptic Science Fiction

Examine how the authors original apocalypse vision is shaped by both historical context and media. Is apocalyptic science fiction’s stable definition/designation for both text and film?

The authors understand the consequences of wars based on what they have already learnt about history. They are aware of the devastating consequences following the results of every war. Therefore, most of them choose to use war as the main cause of destruction. In the case of Philip Dick, he has incorporated technology in the story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The concept of androids taking the form of humans and having their abilities makes for a fascinating read. The media had a role to play. It is clear that Dick was affected by the recent invention of the television, which exposed people to much of what was going on at the time. Televised broadcasts about science and technology played a role in influencing Dick’s content of the novel. Dick uses history to show peoples effect on the environment. His book shows that he did not believe that people would take better care of their environment. There is no vegetation left on earth and most of the animals have died.

Pierre Boulle also depended on history when writing his book, Planet of the Apes. He wrote the book in 1963 after the second and first world wars. This gave him a lot of material for his work. In addition, he used the caste and social positions to describe the order of the new world. The gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees have different social positions and this determines their responsibilities. Another element of history present in the book concerns the issue of science and experimentation using live beings. In this case, the tables are turned and the gorillas are performing all the experiments on humans. The author used scientific history in this case, to demonstrate a different aspect of experimentation. One gets a different perspective looking at experiments from this perspective.

History played a large part in novel The War of the Worlds by HG Wells. Wells needed to find a way to eliminate the Martians and to provide a successful conclusion to the story. He decided that the best way would be to blame the existence of bacteria, which the Martians were not used to. The Martians ended up dead because they had not developed the immune system to deal with the disease. The idea of using disease to eliminate the Martians was probably from the historical accounts of the plagues that were experienced in some part of Europe. The plagues killed many millions of people. The people had not yet identified the cause or cure of the diseases. The author depended on this, since the Martians were a new species on earth and they did not know much about the earthly diseases.

One of the most important features of Apocalyptic Science Fiction is the idea of a richly merited destruction of humankind that results in a “New Jerusalem.” Select 3 specific examples from course readings and explain (a) why humankind as it is represented deserves to be annihilated; and (b) the nature and function of the “New Jerusalem.”

The results of earth’s destruction are more often peoples fault. People decide to go to war and they use all manner of weapons in order to win. They want to destroy the enemies but they end up destroying the entire planet. This is the case in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The story shows that earth has become a wasteland, after a nuclear war. This has led to its destruction and it has forced people to change the way they live. Those who are smart have decided to leave the planet and head for Mars, where they will find a safe haven. The androids in the story were developed to help in taking over other worlds. This shows humanity’s quest for power and control. The war of the worlds presented a different picture concerning the destruction of the world. The earth would have been destroyed and taken over by the Martians were it not for the existence of earthly bacteria, which was foreign to the Martians. In this case, the people were not able to protect themselves even though they tried. They used human made weapons, most of which were probably developed to fight other humans. The novel A Canticle for Leibowitz also blames the nuclear war for the destruction of the earth. In the novel I am Legend, Robert Neville is left as a sole survivor following the destruction of the earth from a disease that emerged from the war.

The New Jerusalem in Dick’s story is Mars. People are offered incentives in form of androids so that they can go there. The function of the New Jerusalem is to offer people an alternative home and to keep them safer. People find refuge in the abbey, in the novel A Canticle for Leibowitz. They find shelter there for a short while before the abbey is finally destroyed in another nuclear war. The church realizes that it can no longer hide forever, and it decides to seek refuge in the colonies. The nuclear war destroys everything. People die in wars and they die from the after effects of the war. They have to evade this and try to find new ways of life. Their New Jerusalem is the place of refuge, shelter, health and assurance. They are assured that they will not have to suffer the after effects of the war in the new places.


Boulle, P. (2011).  Planet of the Apes. United Kingdom: Random House Publishing Group

Dick, P. K. (1982). Do androids dream of electric sheep? New York, NY: Doubleday

Matheson, R. (1954). I am Legend. New York, NY: Gold Medal Books

Miller, M. W. (1960). A canticle for Leibowitz. Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

Wells, H. G. (1898). The war of the worlds. United Kingdom: William Heinemann

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