Tag Archives: apocalypse


Seems like we’re all a little culturally obsessed with impending apocalypse at the moment; a minor flurry of end-of-the-world tales a few years back has grown into an everyman’s meme, with the cinemas full of zombie hordes, desolate wastelands and rugged survivors. That ubiquity has been a bit off-putting, to be honest… I love me a good post-apocalyptic story, but I’ve become a bit bored of them, and didn’t think we’d be publishing one here at Futurismic any time soon.

But Sandra McDonald has managed to prove me wrong, by subverting the cliches and turning the end of the world on its head with some darkly post-modern humour; “Tupac Shakur and the End of the World” is a post-apocalypse yarn for people who are bored of post-apocalypse yarns. Enjoy!

Tupac Shakur and the End of the World

by Sandra McDonald

The worst part – well, one of the worst parts, disregarding the collapse of modern civilization – is that it was my own stupid choice to leave Florida in the first place, and here I am spending my last days trying to get back there. I don’t have the Creep yet but let’s not pretend I’m special or mysteriously immune. I’m not the plucky heroine of a summer blockbuster who will find true love (shaggy-haired Brendan Fraser would be nice, or Daniel Craig with his icy blue eyes) and then become matriarch of a community of ragtag survivors. I’m just me – Susan Donoghue, thirty-one, former textbook writer, currently hiking down I-95 in North Carolina armed with a .45 handgun, pepper spray, and a hunting knife. I won’t let anyone touch me.

Let’s not pretend, either, that I’m on anything but a fool’s errand. My sister Marie, her husband Mike, and my baby niece Monica are probably already dead. The best I’ll be able to do is bury them. Take their hardened, Creepified bodies and put them in the dirt, then drop down beside them. Continue reading NEW FICTION: TUPAC SHAKUR AND THE END OF THE WORLD by Sandra McDonald

Designing for the Apocalypse

OK ladies and gents, please give a warm welcome to our second new non-fiction columnist here at FuturismicSven Johnson.

Future Imperfect - Sven Johnson

Sven is what I might call a philosopher of design (although I image he’ll hate me having done so in public). In his inaugural column he gets all eschatological on our asses and asks whether, as a species, we collectively design our own doom. Continue reading Designing for the Apocalypse

Moving the Earth

450825428_b0ef55b12e_m_d The typical ending of our lovely planet will come in several billion years when the Sun swells up and engulfs all of the inner planets.  But it’s never too early to start thinking of how to rescue our beloved cradle.

According to an article in the NYTimes, the Earth faces an unknown future because it will move further out in orbit as the Sun expends its mass and the gravitational forces become weaker.

One solution is to lasso comets and asteroids, swinging them near the Earth and using their slight gravity to boost the Earth to a higher orbit, where it could escape the Sun’s expansion.  Because, y’know, what could go wrong with that?

(image from NASA website)

‘Roadside Picnic’ in game form


Man, I love post-apocalyptic tales.  Seeing the breakdown of social order and its ramifications – and then watching ordinary people struggle to put some semblence of order back into their lives – really entertains me.  And the video game industry’s full of this stuff.  One game that came out last year, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Shadow of Cherynobyl, injected some good ‘ol Soviet pessimism into the mix to bring one of the best – albeit buggy – games of 2007.  And considering that other game, that’s saying quite a bit.  The bugginess is excusable simply due to the raw ambition of the AI (actually called A-Life) involved in the game. 

The developers at GSC Gameworld attempted to create a living world for you to follow the story in – a ballet of mutant pigs, blind dogs, and desperate humans through which the player stumble through following his own path.  Sure, it broke a lot.  I’d often turn up to meet somebody, only to find them shredded by wild dogs and the quest unrealizable.  But, while the story you take part in is good, watching the others around you go about their business is just as great, if not more.  And the best part?  Clear Sky, a kind of prequel, is slated to come out in May 2008.  It’s more of a v1.5 on the original tech-wise.  Clear Sky covers what happens immediately after something else goes wrong at  Chernobyl, while the original (I can’t be asked to type all those full-stops) is set more than a decade past.

For a rather technical discussion of the A-Life system, read this interview.  If you want to read more about the original, including how the developers’ office is an abandoned military factory in Ukraine, RPS has a good interview up.  And if you haven’t read the original “Roadside Picnic,” go here now.

(via Rock, Paper, Shotgun)(image from S.T.A.L.K.E.R official site)