Survival to Reproduction: Rawles and DeNiro

As a former U.S. Army intelligence officer and survivalist, James Wesley, Rawles authors three books Patriots

The final chapter of Patriots condenses its politics. Chapter 33 begins with an epigraph form Thomas Jefferson—“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms”(4)and is set 27 years after the collapse as Solomon Michael Lendel, a child born during the Crunch, attends his first classes at Boston College. The class is interrupted by a female student who notices Lendel’s gun and declares “He’s carrying a concealed weapon! That’s not allowed on campus!” (5) Rawles lets the tension hang as he describes the piece—“a well-worn XD .45 pistol and counter-balanced pair of spare loaded magazines in a hand-crafted shoulder holster. The leather rig was tooled in a floral Heiser renaissance pattern.” (6) The professor embarrasses the young lady and vindicates Lendel when he says, “I can see it plain as day,” and then offers a history lesson, engaging in current gun control legislation debates in the United States: continue reading-->

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Science Fiction and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

I gave this paper at MLG-ICS 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. It is a development of my earlier post on Immobility, but here frames some of the problems of that text within the larger problematics of the genre question: post-apocalyptic fiction or science fiction? continue reading-->

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A Working Bibliography: U.S. Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Cultural Production

The most striking thing about looking at the bibliography of U.S. post-apocalyptic fiction seems to be also the most banal. What catches the eye is that the number of volumes released during what I’m calling the contemporary (2002 to 2013) phase of post-apocalyptic fiction is greater than those released from 1946-2001. I’d like to briefly suggest that this detail doesn’t tell us as much about the changing nature of our fears or our dreams as one might expect from a spike in the production of stories about surviving the end of the world; instead, I think this intensification reveals something about how cultural production remains underpinned by the a logic of growth and can be explained, in part, through what Chris Anderson has dubbed the long tail.[i]  continue reading-->

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Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: Comedy or Tragedy

The first answer to the question of whether post-apocalyptic fiction is comedy or tragedy seems all too obvious. The sheer number of horrific events, losses, causalities, and trials faced by the characters after the apocalyptic event insists that we are dealing with a tragic form here. The last dying gasps of our world are meted out by the survivors, each one a sign that things in the present, our present, went terribly, terribly wrong. Perhaps a more suitable way to grasp the question is to return to the birth of the modern form of the comedy, (i.e. the romantic comedy), which happens to arrive on the scene at a crucial moment in the pre-history of post-apocalyptic fiction as well. continue reading-->

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Kunstler’s Petrofiction

James Howard Kunstler’s World Made by Hand(2008) contains a particular conservative logic common to post-apocalyptic fiction and environmentalist writing that can either be taken up as a maintenance of the status quo (i.e. “humanity can survive, if only things could stay a particular way”) or as political signs of warning (i.e. “if we continue along this path, this destruction is what will come”). continue reading-->

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